Leeds Bradford Airport: New terminal building plan is scrapped following 'excessive' Government delays

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Leeds Bradford Airport has today announced it is withdrawing its planning application for a £150m replacement terminal building.

Following what airport bosses called "excessive delays and the decision to call in plans by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities" the airport confirmed that it would not proceed with its plan for a £150m new building.

With large investment in the scheme so far, airport bosses say they are not prepared to commit a further uncapped sum over an indefinite timeframe into a public inquiry process when their focus needs to be on modernising the airport for the future.

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The airport will instead turn its attention to developing the extension to the existing terminal, originally approved by Leeds City Council in 2019, to enable it to meet the rapidly increasing passenger demand as the aviation sector recovers from the pandemic.

Leeds Bradford AirportLeeds Bradford Airport
Leeds Bradford Airport

The replacement terminal plans, which would have delivered a purpose designed, BREEAM excellent rated terminal building, were about meeting demand already approved under the 2019 consent in a more sustainable way, allowing the airport to achieve its environmental targets more quickly within an ambitious new development.

The plan was signed off by Leeds City Council in February last year but was subjected to a lengthy delay by Whitehall, before being officially called in for a public enquiry earlier this year.

LBA said it remains committed to delivering its 2030 Carbon Net Zero Roadmap and to creating a modern, decarbonised regional UK airport within the extension scheme.

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The move comes after the airport's CEO used a business reception event to lambast ministers for the decision to call in the plans, saying that the message they were sending to Yorkshire passengers was to go to Manchester.

How the new terminal would have appeared.How the new terminal would have appeared.
How the new terminal would have appeared.

Vincent Hodder, CEO of Leeds Bradford Airport, said: “It is with regret that we have made the decision to withdraw LBA’s application for the development of a new replacement terminal.

“As the travel and aviation industry continues to recover from the impacts of the pandemic, LBA needs to be able to respond to rapidly increasing demand within the next few years.

“I would like to thank everyone who has supported us in the planning process, from the general public to the business community and councils across Yorkshire. Whilst this is a setback for our airport and region, we remain committed to investing in LBA to be an outstanding, decarbonised, modern airport for the future.”

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“My team and I are optimistic about the recovery from the pandemic and about the future of Leeds Bradford Airport.”

The news of the scrapping of the terminal was described Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, as having undermined the levelling up agenda.

Mr Murison said: “Leeds, Bradford and Yorkshire as a whole have lost out as a result of the government having managed to deter significant new investment in international connectivity, while undermining their levelling up agenda.

“The number of flights will still increase but without a new, more energy efficient building nearer the planned parkway train station that is vital to get people out of their cars when travelling to the airport.”

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The Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (GALBA) which had opposed the new terminal responded to the news with a statement from its chair Chris Foren.

He said: “This is a victory for our climate and our communities - we are delighted that LBA has acknowledged defeat. It means that LBA cannot extend daytime flying hours nor remove night time flying controls."

he added: “Make no mistake, this victory is down to the thousands of people who took action, donated funds and never gave up hope that we can make the right decisions today to build a better tomorrow. GALBA would like to say a massive ‘thank you’ to everyone who has backed our campaign.”

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