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Airport expansion plans delayed amid safety fears
A £2 ‘kiss and fly’ charge at Leeds Bradford Airport has led to road safety fears that could threaten to derail multi-million pound exten-sion plans.
Leeds city planners have delayed a step in the process needed to allow the terminal extension to begin. They made their decision amid safety concerns about motorists picking up and dropping off on the roadside to avoid the parking charge.
Leeds West Plans Panel members have been warned a delay could mean the scheme would not be able to start before the December deadline, but they voted against the recommendation to accept the airport’s forecourt management plan.
Councillors are stressing their support for the airport and say they have not refused the management plan but have asked for it to be brought back to panel after further discussions.
A report to the committee said: “It is important that Condition 14 is discharged prior to work commencing on the terminal extension, and that has to happen by mid-December 2012.”
Members have been told a delay in approval could mean the terminal extension would not go ahead.
But after seeing for themselves the effects of the charge in Whitehouse Lane, they are calling on the airport to find a speedy solution to the problem.
The airport already gives one hour’s free parking in its long-stay car park, and has offered a designated free drop-off and pick-up area in this section.
But members heard the public were using White-house Lane and surrounding roads to drop-off passengers in order to avoid the £2 charge, and they argued free provision was needed closer to the terminal.
Councillor Javed Akhtar accused the airport of putting people’s lives at risk for the sake of £2.
“To be honest with you, I am surprised we have not seen anyone getting injured or even killed,” he said.
After the meeting, Guiseley and Rawdon councillor Paul Wadsworth, who sits on the airport consultative committee, said dropping off rather than picking up was the issue.
Councillor Wadsworth said: “It is back in their court now for them to do something quickly. I am absolutely supportive of the airport and I want the airport to grow. They are a major employer and we need a regional airport. But we have to balance the needs of their neighbours.”