Hartlepool councillors approve Durham Tees Valley Airport share plan but call for documents to be free from ‘gender bias’

Durham Tees Valley Airport.
Durham Tees Valley Airport.

Councillors have called for the new lease for Durham Tees Valley Airport to be free from ‘gender bias’ after the share transfer to new owners was rubber stamped.

Plans from Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen were passed last month for the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) to acquire the airport from Peel Holding Limited.

Tees Valley Maroy Ben Houchen

Tees Valley Maroy Ben Houchen

The authority will purchase the 89% shares of the airport held by Peel Investments Ltd in a £40million deal.

However the six surrounding local authorities, including Hartlepool, have a total of an 11% share in the airport and were required to waive their rights for first refusal of the Peel shares for the deal to go ahead.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s finance and policy committee unanimously approved the transfer of shares to the TVCA and to maintain its minority 1.08% holding in the airport.

This was as recommended in a report from chief solicitor Hayley Martin, who brought the item forward as an urgent matter due to legal planning considerations.

However Coun Marjorie James noted previous deeds and documents for the airport refer to directors and officers as male and called for more gender equality in future documents.

She said: “There has been no attempts made, and I’m pretty disappointed by that, to remove the gender bias that is quite clear throughout it.

“I accept this is potentially from the 1990s and should be freshened up and brought forward, but I really think there should be a major overhaul to remove the ‘him and he’ that is prevalent throughout the document.”

Examples are in the Certificate Of Incorporation Of A Private Limited Company which were attached to the finance and policy committee report.

Coun Kevin Cranney, chairing the finance and policy committee meeting, said he would feed the information to the Tees Valley Combined Authority to make changes where appropriate.

The deal to bring the airport into public ownership was part of the £588m TVCA investment plan backed by council leaders in the Tees Valley, including Hartlepool Borough Council’s leader, Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher.

Nic Marko, Local Democracy Reporting Service