Cllr Booker’s view from the back of the chamber on Wednesday 5th September. Full Council Meeting.
(l) Believes, a commercially viable, fully operational airport in Sheffield would be an enormous asset for the city.
(m) Notes, Sheffield City Airport was built as a CAP168 code 2C airport as per the agreement between, The Sheffield Development Corporation, SDC, Glenlivet Ltd, and Tinsely Park Ltd, dated 27th October 1995 and subsequent lease of August 1997. The definition of “Airport” for the purposes of the agreement is laid out in article 106 of the Air Navigation order of 1989 and is consistent with the definition as originally laid out in clause 1.17 of the agreement between SDC and British Steel Corporation BSC.
(n) Further Notes, 1997 Sheffield City Airport opened as a CAT 5, code 2C airport, which means it should have had, and maintained, all the facilities needed to cope with an aircraft capable of carrying up to 115 passengers.
(o) Also Notes, the airport started commercial services some three years earlier than originally planned, with the successful introduction on the 16th February 1989, of KLM’s three times daily Amsterdam service. This was an instant success with KLM saying it was their best start-up service ever. Services followed to Jersey, London, Dublin, Belfast and Brussels. In 1998, 75,157 passengers passed through its terminal.
(p) Recognises, the SDC estimated it would take at least seven years after opening before the airport would make any return on capital. This fact was well known and, indeed as early as 1990, had been referred to by the SDC.
(q) Is interested to know how, peel Holdings and the airport operator, just eight weeks after them acquiring one half share of the airport, were allowed to start downgrading it. Example,
(1) At the end of September 2001 they reduced RFFS cover from a CAT 5 to CAT 3.
(2) By the end of September 2002 they reduced cover from CAT 3 to a CAT 1 and also turned off the I.L.S. ( Instrument Landing System).
(3) At the end of August 2002 they started turning the terminal building into a business centre (offices), without planning permission.
(r) Regrets, all of these actions were quite clearly contrary to the lease/ agreement as well as C.A.A. legislation for a code 2C airport and therefore are clear breeches of conduct and possibly illegal.
(s) Places on record, it is abundantly clear the intention of the Lease/Agreement was for a fully operational airport to be in existence for at least ” the reverter period” a minimum of ten years from the date of opening.
(t) Strongly asserts, rules and regulations should be abided by, the closure of SCA was done in a most irregular manner, causing Sheffield one of its worst civic lost opportunities.
(u) Further Notes, SCA closed to all traffic in 2008. An area of eighty acres of prime development land, described as the best site on the M1 corridor between Leeds and Leicester was transferred to Sheffield Business Parks Ltd, for a notional £1.00, which has never been collected.
(v) Further regrets, the city has lost one hundred and twenty acres of land, and an airport, but has allowed Peel Holdings and its associates to make millions of pounds in land developments from land given to the people of this city by BSC, solely for the development of an airport in the city of Sheffield.