APOLOGIES for writing yet another letter on the subject of the airport, but I do not believe anyone has yet made the following point.
Sutton Harbour Holdings (SHH) own the lease of the airport and will not sell the lease for less than they think it is worth.
The problem is that they value the land at its development value (for building retail/housing etc). Given the size of the land, the potential development value is huge. The value as an airport is minimal, maybe £5 million.
While Viable may or may not have a valid business plan for the airport, I do not see how they will ever be able to acquire the lease on the airport from SHH while SHH still believe they will be allowed to develop the land if they just hold on to it.
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I believe the present leader of the council has encouraged them to adopt this position by stating that if no-one can meet his "five tests" he will consider other uses for the site. The first of his tests is that they must acquire the lease on the site.
I believe I have explained why this is not possible. The only way out of this situation is a cross-party effort from all members of the council.
They need to protect the airport land for 50 years or more, not the current nine.
This would remove the development value of the land and motivate SHH to sell the airport as an airport. Perhaps then a group like Viable will have a chance.