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Cautious welcome for Durham Tees Valley Airport jobs plan
PLANS for a massive freight operation that could secure the future of Durham Tees Valley Airport have been welcomed, but with reservations.
The £5.9m scheme on land south of the airport runway could create 1,500 jobs, if a bid for funding from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund is successful.
Stockton South MP James Wharton said: “Anything that helps secure the future of the airport is welcome, but we need to see the detail of what is being proposed to ensure there is no negative impact on traffic or local residential areas. When you think where we were only a few months ago, worrying about the future of the airport’s survival, it is great that we are now talking about its future.”
“I will work with the airport and local authorities to ensure the Regional Growth Fund bid is successful.”
Councillor Maureen Rigg, who represents the Lib Dems on Stockton Borough Council and is chairwoman of Eaglescliffe and Egglescliffe Parish Council, said: “We welcome an opportunity like this if it will bring jobs to the area and keep the airport viable.
“We would be looking for a firm commitment that any heavy goods traffic would be routed out onto the A66 so it is not coming directly through residential areas.”
Eaglescliffe resident Frank Tranter, who has lived in the area for more than 40 years and has previously voiced fears about the airport’s expansion schemes, said: “This sounds wonderful, but is it well thought-out with the roads system as it is?
“Eaglescliffe and Yarm already have planning permission for 850 homes, and something like this could only add to the chaos and gridlock we already have.”
Councillor Doris Jones, who represents Middleton-St- George on Darlington Borough Council, said an environmental impact assessment was crucial.
She said: “It is difficult to oppose a scheme like this because it could be a lifeline for the airport. We would give it a cautious welcome if it creates jobs – and I am dubious about it creating the number of jobs they say because we have been down this road before – and gives proper consideration to local residents as well.”
A number of previous schemes aimed at developing the south side of the airport have never materialised.
They include the South Side project, creating one of the biggest cargo-handling centres in Europe, which was first given the go-ahead in 1999, but abandoned three years later.
The planned £110m Skylink International Business Park, announced four years ago, stalled because of a lack of funding and fears over the economic climate.