Doncaster Sheffield Airport: Fifteen parties express interest in operating re-opened airport - but may not pay rent for first two years

Fifteen organisations have expressed an interest in operating a re-opened Doncaster Sheffield Airport on a lease from Doncaster Council, newly published papers have revealed.
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A new report has now been made available by city councillors ahead of a major Cabinet meeting on the future of the airport, which closed almost a year ago, on September 20.

The papers state that despite concerns about landowners Peel Group’s plans to develop the site, no planning applications of concern have yet been received by the council.

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It is also confirmed that Leeds Bradford Airport has requested to be allowed to manage the former Doncaster Sheffield airspace, which is not currently under air traffic control.

Doncaster Sheffield AIrport closure protestDoncaster Sheffield AIrport closure protest
Doncaster Sheffield AIrport closure protest

Yet the main finding of the report is that 15 different parties took part in a stakeholder engagement event for organisations who would be interested in operating the airport on a lease from the council, who themselves hope to secure a lease on the site from Peel.

However, feedback found that these parties wanted a commitment from the council on the payment of reinstatement costs, as much of the airport structure was dismantled following closure. They also lobbied for a rent-free start-up period of up to two years, the freedom to develop the site without constraints and clarity over the future of the airspace.

The report added that 130,000 people had signed a petition calling for the airport to re-open, that it could support 5,000 new jobs and that developing the land for non-aviation use would simply displace existing investment.

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Although the council accepts that reinstatement costs could be significant, officers believe that the site could eventually support maintenance, repair and manufacturing facilities for the industry.

The council has asked the Civil Aviation Authority to grant a temporary extension to the airspace control, as the CAA has now put forward an Airspace Change Proposal, which could deter investors who would have to apply for its management to be reinstated.

The report concludes that a contract could be awarded to an operator next spring, and that a leasehold agreement with Peel is likely, though the company had made it clear that the freehold of the site is not for sale.