Ex-council leader joins airport letter campaign
FORMER council leader Vivien Pengelly has added her voice to the campaign to save Plymouth City Airport.
Conservative group leader Mrs Pengelly has written to Prime minister David Cameron asking for government action.
She said that only the State could provide the level of investment needed to reopen the airport and build viable services for the future.
And she told Mr Cameron that it was a national issue because good air links in the regions would help the Government to deliver its growth plans.
"Plymouth plays a vital role in the region's economy and we want to help lead the region out of recession," she wrote.
Sutton Harbour Holdings, which owns a 150-year lease on the land at Roborough, closed the airport last December, saying it was no longer viable. The company later revealed its masterplan to build houses, shops and offices on the 113-acre site.
Cllr Pengelly told The Herald that she wanted the Government to send a housing minister to the city to help kick-start house-building on other sites.
She said that thousands of building plots already had planning permission but development was stalled.
"If the Government could help get that house-building going again it would mean that we simply would not need to build on the airport land.
"Development would surely mean the end of the airport, and that must never happen."
"I am happy – and I am sure that council leader Tudor Evans will be as well – to go to London at any time to meet ministers, and take our local MPs with us as we have done before."
A petition of more than 37,000 signatures, organised by Viable, was presented to the city council last month. It called for State intervention to save the airport.
At a meeting of the full city council Cllr Evans vowed to protect the airport from development for at least the next nine years. He added that if people expressed the wish as part of the emerging Plymouth Plan, then protection would be extended to at least 2031.
As well as writing her own letter, Cllr Pengelly added her signature to a letter from Cllr Evans to the Prime Minister.
She also urged Plymouth people to make their voices heard in the consultation on the Plymouth Plan, which will form the development blueprint for the city. More information is available online at www.plymouth.gov.uk/plymouthplan