Silhouette of Teesside


airport Teesside Airport vs The Boro
November 21, 2014

Teesside Airport continues to surprise us – for all the wrong reasons! 

I was staggered to see the airport’s owners, Peel Holdings, have objected to the Boro doing some good and making the Riverside Stadium greener by erecting wind turbines.

Mind you, Peel do have previous form when it comes to objecting when others plan a greener future. Only recently they objected to turbines being installed at an environment-conscious housing development, citing aircraft safety as their grounds for objection. 

Bizarrely, safety seemed wholly irrelevant when Peel removed their objection, according to the local press, after agreeing a £10,000 payment from the housing developer.

Aviation minister Robert Goodwill has described that very surprising £10,000 deal as “strange” and is said to be looking into it.

Although I know nothing about running an airport, I sense that some of the deals done between our local councils and the airport over shares might be strange too. 

The deals are certainly opaque and our councils seem unwilling to release information – despite requests made under the Freedom of Information Act.

We all want to see Teesside Airport regain its former glory because it can boost our profile, confidence and, most importantly, our economy. However, businesses like Peel – who have overseen the airport’s unrivalled decline – are in it to maximise profits. 

Maximum profits aren’t necessarily the same thing as a vibrant and useful local airport.

I fear that in the past negotiations with Peel have been handled by a committee of local councillors – who may have been outwitted by the airport’s owners. We need skilled leaders to devise plans and lead negotiations with Peel.

I think we need an inquiry into how the airport’s been run over the years and whether council deals done with our money and shares have been open and fair.

Anyone agree?

Let me know.

Andy Preston

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