Leeds Bradford Airport terminal £150m rebuild plan: What we know so far

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Plans for the £150m Leeds Bradford Airport rebuild first emerged in 2019, with more detailed plans being published the following year.

The rebuild, plans stated, would include a new “state of the art” terminal, as well as new parking and access facilities, and had a target of 2023 for opening. LBA hoped the number of annual flights could increase from four million to seven million in the coming decades.

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The application claimed the current terminal – parts of which date back to the 1960s – is ‘dated’ and ‘inefficient’, warning it could lose passengers to nearby Manchester Airport unless the improvements are approved.

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Planes lined up at Leeds Bradford International Airport, Leeds in May 2020.

Picture: James Hardisty.Planes lined up at Leeds Bradford International Airport, Leeds in May 2020.

Picture: James Hardisty.
Planes lined up at Leeds Bradford International Airport, Leeds in May 2020. Picture: James Hardisty.

But the plans proved controversial, as many objectors, including climate scientists, transport experts and residents’ groups, warned such an expansion would contribute towards catastrophic climate change, as well as unbearable noise pollution for those living nearby.

During a pre-application meeting in January 2020, in which councillors were able to ask questions about early forms of the plans, protesters staged a ‘die-in’, during which they fell to the floor and lying still until the meeting was suspended.

Despite this, a full planning application was eventually submitted to the council.

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Following a mammoth eight-hour debate on Leeds City Council’s city plans panel on February, 11, 2021, councillors voted by nine votes to five to agree to the expansion plans in principle.

Campaigners, as well as both Labour and Tory MPs, supported calls for a public inquiry.

On April 6, 2021, the then-communities secretary Robert Jenrick postponed making a decision on this request, giving no timescale, and leaving the future of the plans in limbo.

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The state of flux has lasted until today (Jan 19) it seems, as communities secretary Michael Gove has requested the application be called in and examined by planning experts so that he can make a final decision on its future.

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