YEP Says, February 5: Council chief right to kickstart debate over new airport for city

Can Leeds Bradford Airport expand to meet the city's needs?
Can Leeds Bradford Airport expand to meet the city's needs?
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It’s time to think about how to capitalise on the opportunities presented by HS2.

HAVING bought Leeds-Bradford Airport from a consortium of the five major West Yorkshire councils for £145m just seven years ago, chances are owners Bridgepoint Capital will not have been impressed by Keith Wakefield’s suggestion that Leeds should have a new airport.

The company, which has unveiled expansion plans for the Yeadon site, is currently looking to refinance the business – and such comments will not be what potential funders want to hear.

Nevertheless, doubts remain as to whether the city’s needs are best served by an air hub whose location means there is limited scope to grow the airport on the scale that would allow Leeds to compete with the likes of Manchester.

The scheduled arrival of HS2 brings with it opportunities to improve the local transport network – and it’s important that these are considered now.

Some may think it’s hugely ambitious to talk of building a new airport that would probably cost billions of pounds when it has been such a struggle to secure funding for the divisive trolleybus scheme.

But at least Keith Wakefield’s words mean the debate is now under way.

And the pace of major infrastructure projects means that if a new airport is to be in place by the time HS2 arrives in Yorkshire, then time is of the essence if this idea is going to get off the ground.

Faith in new brewery idea must be repaid

THE closure of the Tetley Brewery site in 2011 was a big loss to Leeds, calling time on 189 years of brewing history. One silver lining, however, was the retention of its former headquarters, which were subsequently turned into a new arts venue.

This venture is now to receive a 10-year advance on some of its council funding – a total of £190,000 that will be used to create specialist learning spaces.

While such centres should not be bottomless pits when it comes to funding, it will be a sound investment if getting this money upfront can help it to take off.

Now those running the centre must repay the faith that has been shown in them.

First buses.

YEP says: WE need to change our attitude to bus travel