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Plans submitted for multi-million pound development of Shoreham Airport
Bosses at the country’s oldest working airport have submitted multi-million-pound plans for its development.
The buildings at Shoreham Airport are badly cracked, the domed roof of its foyer has been removed and water damage is spreading across the site.
Ric Belfield, general manager at the airport, said he is in discussions with Brighton and Hove City Council and Worthing District Council to save the art deco landmark.
The airport was bought from Brighton and Hove City Council and Worthing Borough Council in 2007 by a company called Erinaceous.
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When Erinaceous went into administration in 2008 with debts of £250 million, the leasehold was sold to Albermarle for a nominal £10 which agreed to spend £4 million restoring the listed terminal building.
Albermarle is now in talks with both councils about drawing up a plan for the future of the airport, which includes refurbishing the terminal building, refurbishing the municipal hangar, new flood defences, the creation of a “Shoreham hub” to house environmental, technology and digital media businesses as part of the new City Deal, and improved access off the A27.
Mr Belfield said the ambitious plan would cost “many millions of pounds” and would be funded by other development projects.
Land at the site has been earmarked for industrial development under the Adur Local Plan which is still under discussion.
Mr Belfield said the plans were submitted last year and that he is waiting for a decision from the two councils.
He said: “These are very complex issues and it is difficult when you are dealing with two councils. The first thing that needs to happen is that the tidal defence project must be brought forward after the flooding before Christmas.”
The leader of Worthing Distinct Council, Paul Yallop, said he was aware of the plans.
He said: “We have had concerns about the state of the airport for some time. We are holding ongoing dialogue with the operators.”
Jason Kitcat, leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, which holds two-thirds of the lease, said: “When the deal was done to sell the building, the purchaser agreed to invest £4 million in the building.
“That has not been done and that is why we are having very serious discussions with them.
“We sought this agreement to ensure repair costs do not fall to taxpayers at a time we’re facing record cuts in government funding. The building’s fate is linked to finding a viable long-term business plan for the airport, under private operators.
“This council and Worthing are constantly working to this end with the leaseholders.”
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