Last October, Plymouth Herald ran an article covering Sutton Harbour Group’s 2021 annual report (see link below).
This article reported SHG’s thinking that Plymouth Airport could be worth ‘more than double the carrying value.’ Their carrying value is reported as £12.96 million indicating that the group expects to make at least £26 million from selling the site.
What do other people think?
FlyPlymouth has received advice from a leading aviation specialist who said that in its present state without support from government to help fund the site’s reinstatement the airport is worth no more than £1 million under aviation use. If capital support were available, the airport could be worth between £5 million and £10 million.
In 2017, Blackpool Council bought its local airport from Balfour Beatty for £4.25 million. Blackpool Airport is substantially larger than Plymouth Airport and in operational condition.
What does the Airport Lease say?
Under Schedule 7 of the Plymouth Airport Lease, SHG stands to receive 25% of the proceeds from the sale of land after costs and other liabilities based. Today best value is based on aviation use. But assuming a change of use were secured by overturning the Joint Local Plan, what would 25% of residential development value be worth?
The airport site is 113 acres. Assuming £500,000 per acre for residential use (ignoring costs for open spaces, infrastructure and Section 106 obligations) the site would be worth £56.5 million. 25% of this number is £14.1 million but residential use has not been granted and the site is safeguarded for aviation use.
£14.1 million is still well below the £26 million or more that SHG has said it wants for the Airport. So where will that extra money come from?
Well, if as we have previously reported, Plymouth City Council has lost control of the Airport Lease it is possible that the additional value SHG is indicating to its shareholders it hopes to realise will effectively come from the public purse. Not only would Plymouth lose its Airport, it would also lose millions more to private shareholders.
What is FlyPlymouth prepared to pay for the Airport?
Very simply, FlyPlymouth is prepared to pay a fair commercial price. Our backers are able to finance acquisition and reopening of Plymouth Airport to create a sustainable and robust operation on the site.
All of the above is in the public domain but sometimes these things need to be spelled out.
For now, Plymouth Airport is a public asset belonging to the City and people of Plymouth. If you would like to see it stay that way and back in operation, you may wish to write to your local Councillor and ask them what is going on.
Note: The source documents used for this include:
The Airport Lease is available from the Land Registry.