Hundreds opposed to airport development scheme
HUNDREDS of people have told the city council what they think of plans to allow development on Plymouth airport land.
And the overwhelming majority are strongly opposed to moves by Sutton Harbour Holdings to build a massive new community with shops, offices and homes on the site.
Their comments will be sent to a government planning inspector today as part of Plymouth City Council's area action plan for Derriford and Seaton.
It comes almost a year after Sutton Harbour closed the airport, on December 23 last year.
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In October Plymouth City Council was told by the planning inspectorate to reopen its consultation on the draft Derriford and Seaton area action plan after Sutton Harbour submitted a masterplan to build on the airport.
The airport had been protected in the draft area action plan, but was removed by the new Labour city administration, which said its fate should be decided as part of the wider Plymouth Plan.
A council spokeswoman said: "We received a total of 542 representations on the Sutton Harbour plan, of which 521 expressed concerns, six supported and 12 made other comments."
There were also 10 late submissions and another 92 incomplete representations which had incomplete details and were inadmissible but will be forwarded to the planning inspectorate.
The area action plan and supporting information will be submitted to the planning inspectorate today.
A planning inspector will hold a public examination, possibly in March or April next year, and publish a report in the summer.
CONSULTATION: What you said
EDITED extracts from a few of the 542 comments on the council’s consultation website about the Sutton Harbour Holdings masterplan to build on the airport site:
The site must stand ready to be re-opened as an airport when the economic conditions improve.
The city will never forgive SHH or our elected officers if they collude in the destruction of our Airport.
– RICHARD GRIFFITHS
I am involved with a small business in the … wave energy sector …. My colleagues from overseas view travel access to Plymouth, which should be a future hub in marine renewables, as less than satisfactory.
– NICHOLAS STRACHAN
I am employed in oil-related work in the Shetland islands and travel by air on a regular basis. I used Plymouth airport in the past 14 years to get to my place of employment.
We need an airport for the long term future.
– MR V CAIN
Although I understand that it has been difficult to operate the airport successfully as a going concern, I am concerned as a small business owner that removing it permanently will cause considerable downturn to the local economy.
– MARK FUGE
I live at Southway and the last thing I want is this monstrosity on my doorstep. Congestion is already a problem in Tavistock Road and this will only add to it.
– EDNA COLES
The SHH masterplan … is in the wrong location … Derriford and Seaton are best served by PCC’s favoured location [Seaton Barracks].
Transportation infrastructure is pathetic, particularly in the case of the PCC option [Seaton Barracks]. Both plans maintain the fiction that they will be adequately served by public transport, walking and cycling or modal change. This is a ridiculous assumption.
– RICHARD SROKA
Plymouth Civic Society
I used the airport a lot in the past … to fly … to Scotland and other airports as part of my job in the Royal Navy. Plymouth Airport plays a vital role for the Royal Navy and ships at sea on the South Coast both British and foreign.
– ALAN ROWE
Since the property developers closed the airport at the end of 2011 Plymouth has been withering on the vine.
This Sutton Harbour plan should be rejected out of hand for what it is - a ... lunge for profits without any consideration of what is actually beneficial to Plymouth.
– JASON HARGREAVES
Please retain the land at Plymouth Airport as an Airport – once it’s built on its gone for ever. Don’t let Sutton Harbour Holdings [profit] from a poorly conceived lease!
– PHIL BROWN
University College Plymouth
St Mark & St John
How many times do you want the communities and people to say give us our airport back?
– CHRIS BURT
I do not support the application by Sutton Harbour Holdings to develop the airport site. The road infrastructure is not suitable for the envisaged increase in cars and lorries. The A386 is already gridlocked as is Novorossisk Road at peak times.
– JULIE POOLE
Any development of any size in the north of the city would be hugely detrimental to the existing city centre. There are about 15% of shops vacant in the city, most of which will never re-open.
– NICHOLAS RING
The college “firmly believes that the airport is essential to the continued development of Plymouth students’ employment relationships and the global economy”.
– BARBARA JONES,
Plymouth College of Art
It is sad to see the lack of future thinking in the old council and new council to sell off the airport to a company such as Sutton Harbour. They have consistently put hurdles up against anyone wishing to operate an air service from Plymouth.
– SHAUN PARNELL,
Totem Timber Plymouth
Sutton Harbour Holdings should be able to proceed with their plan for the airport … they should be forced by Plymouth council to include at least 20% affordable housing available to locals.
The only people that could afford to use the airport all year round were the people that did not have to pay for their air ticket, ie. they could claim the fare back on company expenses.
‘Viable’ collected 37,000 signatures to save the airport, but when Tudor Evans leader of the council asked people to write to the Prime Minister through him he only got 400 letters and e-mails.
The airport land should not stand empty for any length of time just waiting for someone to come along and operate the airport, which is not going to happen. SHH should be allowed to implement their housing plan for the Airport site.
– KEITH BODKIN
I am writing to you on behalf of the older and less able people of Plymouth. It is difficult to manage to get on and off a train with luggage when you walk with sticks or crutches.
Having used the airport yearly in the past I know how much easier it is to go to Plymouth Airport, hand in your luggage and have a quick, safe journey to Gatwick where you can be met by a wheelchair or buggy and be taken to collect your bags, ready for your onward journey.
– LINDA SHIPPING
We are utterly opposed to any plans to reinstate the airport.
1) Air travel is not the future. It is very polluting, inefficient and expensive. To support such development contradicts Plymouth’s declared policies on sustainability, low carbon communities.
2) Air travel is likely to be taxed via international agreement in the near future.
3) There is already a good airport just 40 miles away in Exeter. Good public transport links could be made to this airport if necessary.
4) Sustainable businesses that provide long term jobs will not be reliant on an airport in the city.
5) The previous airport did not make money … and was only ever used by a small minority.
6) We should instead campaign for excellent, affordable and sustainable public transport links via greatly improved bus and rail services.
7) The city should actually make a feature of the fact that it is a green progressive city that does not need an airport.
– ANDREW PRATT
Plymouth Green Party
Politicians: Speak up
THE HERALD is calling on city politicians to nail their colours to the mast over the future of the airport site.
This newspaper has made its position perfectly clear – the airport site must be protected from development to preserve it for a time when we will once again need an air link.
Now we are asking our leaders to speak as clearly on the issue and say whether they believe the Roborough site should be protected from the bulldozers for the foreseeable future.
We are asking the straightforward question: Should the land at Roborough be retained as an airport for the foreseeable future, or should development be allowed on the land?
Online at www.thisisplymouth.co.uk/pcalist we have published the names of those who have answered with a clear yes. It is far from being a comprehensive list and over the coming weeks we are calling on all councillors to add their name to the list and state their position.
Ultimately we will publish the full list of responses
Councillors wishing to state their position to be added to the list should contact Keith Rossiter on 01752 765529.