Has Plymouth City Council lost control of Plymouth Airport? That’s the advice FlyPlymouth received from a leading law firm specialising in airports and planning law. In their words the airport lease situation at Plymouth is a ‘mess.’
The advice says that the ‘Armageddon Clause’ under which the airport was closed, is poorly drafted, unclear and open to interpretation. That uncertainty is made worse by the amount of time that has passed since closure and the Council’s flip flopping over whether it wants the airport shut or reopened.
Having lost control of the process with Plymouth Airport, the Council has potentially lost control of the airport itself. Who knows what a court will make of it!
It looks like someone screwed up. Why did the Council agree to the airport’s closure without first insisting the lease was made fit-for-purpose as part of the agreement on non-viability? Who advised the Cabinet to sign off on these terms? What legal advice did they ask for before so doing and what advice did they receive?
Why this matters hardly needs answering. As well as being unique and vital transport infrastructure, the airport is one of Plymouth’s largest strategic assets. But who controls it? And, if in fact Plymouth City Council has lost control, how do they intend to get it back? Can they afford to do so? And if they can’t afford to get it back, does their screw up mean that Plymouth loses its airport?
We’ll talk more about this over the coming weeks but for now you might want to contact your local councillor and ask them to find out what is going on.
Note, the above is a matter of public interest and firmly within the public domain. The airport lease documents are publicly available from the Land Registry and anyone is free to seek a legal opinion on those documents.