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£1 million fine postponed after airport failed to carry out repairs
An airport operator which has failed to carry out repairs and renovations is set to have a £1 million fine postponed.
Albemarle Shoreham Airport Limited was required to make £4 million of improvements to the art deco terminal building and municipal hangar at Shoreham Airport after it took on the leasehold in 2008.
The company is now liable to pay £1 million to Brighton and Hove City Council and Worthing Council, joint own- ers of the airport, for failing to make any improvements by the deadline of October 2013.
However, city council officers have stated that Albemarle would become insolvent if the sum was demanded, which could leave the airport falling into the hands of another Albemarle- linked firm or a bank.
Brighton and Hove City Council and Worthing Borough Council have now put forward a set of recommendations, with council officers rec- ommending the fine be postponed.
Another recommended proposal is that Albemarle would surrender the lease and oper- ating of the airport to Brighton City Airport Ltd (BCAL).
The directors of BCAL, who are also directors of Flying Time Aviation (FTA), have claimed that with the right investment the airport could be profitable and have presented details of
their business plan to officers of both councils.
Under the proposal Albemarle would be granted a long lease of areas on the eastern and western edge of the site for development.
Council officers are recommending the proposals be agreed at a policy and resources committee meeting on Thursday, May 1.
The deferment of £1 million until May 31 will allow for the negotiations to conclude. Jemima Bland, Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for East Worthing and Shoreham, is leading a campaign to have the terminal building made a community asset.
Campaigners have also raised concerns about the future of the land which is on a flood plain.
Ms Bland said: “If these pro- posals go ahead, Brighton and Hove City Council and Wor- thing Borough Council will have a joint financial interest in seeing flood plains built on as soon as possible. This is not what they were elected for.
“The community must step in now, to protect our own interests in the future of the airport and flood plain.”
A spokesman for BCAL said it was not possible or appro- priate to comment as sensitive negotiations are currently taking place.