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Masterplan

It's odd that we find ourselves hoping for a housing estate when so many small airfields and aerodromes are at risk of being bulldozed to make way for one, but the circumstances of ours is very different, as outlined below.

The perception:

"Housing and airports do not mix"
Tell this to Southend who have houses a mere 132m away from the runway threshold. Furthermore houses are being built at Leeds/Bradford Airport and there is no suggestion of that airport closing as a consequence. At the end of the day all airports have housing on some scale, should ours be built in full there will still be many other airports that beat us when it comes to A) number of houses and B) proximity to the runway.

"The housing restricts future expansion of the terminal"
Even if a scenario arose whereby we made it back to 1 million passengers a year, our existing terminal building would still be able to cope with this number. At the end of the day, even with all the luck in the world the terminal will struggle to reach its full capacity and even if it were to, it is our belief there will still be sufficient scope to expand after housing. Back when Peel planned to develop the terminal to handle 3 million passengers it was still using much of the same footprint of the existing terminal, and the car park can always be made into a multi-storey to add capacity. Even if we're wrong, there are plenty of other locations around the airport site for a brand new terminal to be built. But the sad fact is we will likely never require it.

"Middleton St. George is already struggling to cope with its current population, especially with education and medical facilities"
The planning application includes new educational facilities, it's trickier with a medical practice as it takes someone to identify the demand and setup a business to meet that demand but the plan has an area earmarked for this should anyone come forward. As far as our housing estate being an extention of Middleton St. George it won't be, it will be its own little hamlet and residents will more often than not exit onto the A67 and go either left to Darlington or right to Stockton and Middlesbrough.

The reality:

Noise

We won't pretend there isn't going to be any aircraft noise for residents living in the new housing estate, but it is a fact that 90% of aircraft noise is concentrated at each end of the runway and it's not like the airport haven't made efforts to 'block' the noise with the careful positioning of future hangars and a tree line. Any prospective new residents should be accepting aircraft noise before signing on the dotted line...we can't imagine it will put so many off that the housing estate will flop.

The land earmarked for housing development is no good for anything else, certainly not aviation as there are several other locations closer to the existing apron and taxiways for aviation related development. We also have the safety net of a 'Section 106' protecting us (an agreement requiring Peel to invest all income gained from housing back into the aviation side of the business).

Further reading:

I found the below in some meeting minutes from June 2016, I believe the minutes to be in the public domain, but just to err on the side of caution we won't reveal what the meeting was and have blanked out the job title of one individual.

"A Member commented that representatives were regularly questioned about the housing development at the airport with many people concerned it would affect the business and would mean an end to holiday flights in the future. Local people were generally fearful the airport was being run down for closure. Other Members echoed the sentiments indicating that many believed the houses were being built on or next to the runway. The [representative] stated that the masterplan showed quite clearly that the land proposed for housing probably would never have been developed for air uses. The airport was stronger and more resilient as a business due to its ownership by Peel. The owner, Robert Hough’s interview in the local press recently [Jun16] showed he had long term faith in the airport. The Chair questioned when the planning applications for the other key areas in the masterplan were to be submitted but the [representative] indicated that this was not yet known. The Chair commented that in relation to the housing development, the airport needed to have some positive publicity showing it would not affect operations and was part of the masterplan."

To end on a footnote, we know housing is not ideal and we are not pro-housing, we're just trying to show that it won't be the end of the world like many believe it will be. The conspiracy theorists and other campaigners really do not have any argument as most of the UKs airports prove quite conclusively that aviation and housing can and do mix.


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