Outrage over airport snub

Robbie Payne
Robbie Payne
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CIVIC leaders in Hartlepool are to write to Business Secretary Vince Cable to express their “disgust” over the decision not to give funding to a regional airport.

Durham Tees Valley airport wanted £4.6m from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF) to help create an overall investment of £46.5m.

If approved, it would have meant a new access road on the south side of the airport and could also have led to 1,400 new jobs over the next ten years.

But for the second time their multi-million pound bid was recently rejected, sparking anger from Hartlepool councillors at a recent meeting.

It was agreed at the meeting of full council to write to Mr Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, about the funding blow.

Labour councillor Robbie Payne, chairman of the council’s regeneration committee, asked for council backing to write a letter.

Coun Payne said: “We should be writing to Vince Cable about Durham Tees Valley missing out again.

“The decision has not only put our region at a disadvantage but makes Durham Tees Valley more unsustainable.

“We should write and express our disgust.”

Members agreed to send a letter to Government.

Airport chiefs have also expressed their disappointment after the funding bid was rejected last month.

The Southside development would bring other benefits, including new facilities for the on-site SERCO International Fire Training Centre, possible expansion for the aircraft recycling facility, and provision of up to two million sq ft of high-quality business and logistics space.

But RGF officials did not include the bid among their 102 successful projects.

Speaking last month, Peter Nears, strategic planning director with the Peel Group which owns the airport, said: “We believe that we made a very strong case for a project which could be of enormous benefit to both the airport and the area as a whole.”

Despite the blow to the airport’s funding bid, there was good news for Hartlepool company JDR Cables, which was one of only six Tees Valley winners. As previously reported, overall, the Tees Valley award will create nearly 300 jobs and £146m of private investment.