After more severe turbulence in the history of our airport, Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen has announced plans to “buy back” Durham Tees Valley Airport for £40m – but he needs local council leaders to support the plans. Along with Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald, they’ve met the move with scepticism, describing it as a “vanity project”. We asked local business leaders for their views on the debate…
Helen Gill, co-owner, Chadwicks Inn Maltby
“I’m 100% behind the mayor on this and strongly feel we should be backing this fantastic opportunity.
“The area needs, and can support and sustain, a thriving airport. We proved that years ago when we had many busy flights in and out of Teesside Airport to many destinations.
“Let’s start with the return of the London link for business as soon as possible and, of course, change the name back to Teesside, or better still Middlesbrough!”
Bill Scott, CEO, Wilton Engineering
“Peel have done their best to keep the airport going through some of the harshest global trading conditions we’ve ever seen, but it’s time for a new broom – and the time is now.
“Tees Valley is home to the largest industrial landscape in the UK and one of the largest in Europe, and the airport is vital to attract new business.
“I urge the councils to put any political bias to one side, review the business case from Ben Houchen’s proposal, make an informed decision, consider the greater good for the area, invest and create a viable and sustainable airport for the next generation.
“Having an airport gives kudos and confidence to investors that we are real players. We are on the cusp of pulling in some huge opportunities, so let’s not miss this open goal.
“I’m sure local business leaders would be willing to help the local authorities by sitting on the airport board assisting smooth transition and further expansion.”
Andy Preston, businessman & charity leader
“This is our very last chance to save the airport – for the people of Teesside. This fantastic deal to purchase the airport and 800 acres of land around it will protect the jobs there and create thousands more.
“Buying that land will involve a big sum of money – £35m – but the value of it is huge. Just 30 acres of residential land alone would be worth about £25m.
“Our local political establishment, who ran the airport down the years, are now trying to score cheap points by rubbishing this plan and seem unlikely to approve the rescue package. We should all ask them to save our airport for the sake of Teesside’s future.”
Chris Petty, managing director, Cornerstone Business Solutions
“Being involved with the airport for a number of years and having the unfortunate experience of dealing with Peel, this can only be described as fantastic news.
“It was clear there wouldn’t be an airport there in a couple of years if the airport remained under Peel’s control. ith all of the other fantastic work Ben has been doing with the investment in the area and especially the SSI site, the region needs an airport – and an air show too, which I’m working on!”
Karl Pemberton, managing director, Active Chartered Financial Planners
“Huge congratulations to Ben Houchen for what he has achieved so far. No one should be criticised for delivering on their election promises – especially one that ultimately got him elected.
“Let’s now hope that sanity over vanity prevails, and those who have the final say do what’s right for Teesside.”