Debating the future of city airport

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From: Stuart Green, Sparken Close, Worksop, Nottinghamshire.

WHATEVER is Timothy Kirkhope, MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber, thinking by supporting the resurrection of Sheffield City Airport at Tinsley Park (Yorkshire Post, December 26)?

Sheffield Council has stated that it has no grounds or powers to inhibit the site’s redevelopment within an Enterprise Zone with a potential of 3,000 jobs.

Thus, for jobs alone, one might think Mr Kirkhope would back that project rather than the rekindled dream of restoring the defunct Sheffield City Airport (SCA).

Besides backing the restoration of SCA, Mr Kirkhope is proud of his long association with Leeds Bradford Airport.

It is strange, therefore, that the MEP does not similarly proclaim the virtues of Doncaster-Sheffield Airport (DSA, Robin Hood), which has easily the best site and runway east of the Pennines, is only 16 miles from Tinsley Park and is at the heart of the MEP’s EU constituency.

The Sheffield City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) backs DSA which, since opening in 2005, has flown seven million passengers to more than 50 destinations.

Many of these passengers live in Mr Kirkhope’s constituency and the airport continues to create benefits for the entire region.

So, why isn’t Mr Kirkhope standing alongside the Sheffield Region LEP in celebration of that success and offering his support for the airport’s further development?

From: Dr Spencer Pitfield, Conservative spokesman for Sheffield and South Yorkshire.

THE saga of how we have got to where we have got with the Sheffield City Airport is a long and painful one. Clearly now is not the time to go over old and difficult ground – the past is the past – we must look to the future.

But as we look to this future, and with time to make the best possible decision regarding the airport site still with us, I was hugely heartened to read the recent comments of Sheffield Central Labour MP Paul Blomfield.

In short, Mr Blomfield was sensibly airing the view that if we are indeed to end up with a business park on the current Sheffield City runway site we must be sure that this is in fact the best decision for the future prosperity of people across our city and indeed further afield. Once the runway is dug-up it is gone forever.

Timothy Kirkhope MEP has also publicly supported Mr Blomfield adding “with proper enthusiastic ownership this facility would not only benefit Sheffield and the people who live there, but would also be a very useful as an infrastructure asset”.

While my personal view is our city and sub-region desperately needs an airport, and that such a facility is without doubt viable, the question now is whether other local leaders will join with Mr Blomfield and Mr Kirkhope and give one last airing to the issue.

More and more people across Sheffield believe the Federation of Small Business and others are right to call for an inquiry into whether it would be viable to reopen the Sheffield City Airport.

And we know that there are potential bidders who feel similarly and would want to make an offer on the site with a view to reopening the airport.

From: James Newman, chairman, Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership.

I READ with interest your Editorial entitled “Cameron must go for growth” (Yorkshire Post, December 31), which stated that “responsibility for youth training in South Yorkshire now comes under the auspices of Sheffield City Region which has unprecedented new powers under its ‘city deal’.”

Although it is correct to say that the City Deal will give the Sheffield City Region unprecedented new powers, the deal will not be handing down responsibility for youth training – which will remain with Government. It is important to make this distinction as the LEP’s remit is on economic growth. A key part will be focused on job creation and skills, with 4,000 new apprenticeships created across the region and an additional 2,000 adults trained in new skills to help the local economy grow.