The master plan presented to the public by Peel Holdings to maintain services at Durham & Tees Valley Airport is seen by many as not fit for purpose, conditional as it is on the building of 400 houses on the airfield.
As Suzanne Foster argued cogently in her article (featured in "Now&Then" No.93 February 2015), houses and airfields do not mix, and once these homes are established planners will have great difficulty in turning down further future plans for more houses to be built there.
Peel's planning application for these houses was due to be submitted around Easter last year. We are now almost eight months on and both Stockton and Darlington councils have confirmed that there is still no sign of it. The delay is ominous.
It prompts the strong suspicion that this proposed housing development could be included in the final version of Darlington's Local Development Document (LDD) because such a move would present a path of least resistance to it. It should also be noted that Darlington Council has publicly backed Peel's master plan for the airport.
Only strong public opinion can influence matters now (Councillors are well aware of ratepayer power when they are up for re-election) and Now&Then is providing a platform and opportunity for readers of this magazine to register their feelings by signing our petition to have any housing development at DTVA removed and a demand for the airport to be developed as an airport, not a housing estate.