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Gloucestershire Business News

Delays and indecision over Gloucestershire Airport sale

There is indecision over plans to sell Gloucestershire Airport among the city council's new Liberal Democrat leadership.

Council leader Jeremy Hilton said he is still "open-minded" about whether to dispose of the asset and work on the issue had been slowed by the elections and holidays.

The Staverton transport hub is jointly owned by Cheltenham Borough Council and Gloucester City Council.

It is run by Gloucestershire Airport Ltd - with each authority holding 50% of the shares.

It lays claim to being the UK's busiest general aviation hub , employing between 2,500 to 3,000 people directly and indirectly.

The councils signalled their intention to sell the site in November and concerns rose that the hub could be stripped of its parts in a sell-off.

In March Jason Ivey, airport director, scotched those rumours  and said its future would be "safeguarded".

He said Savills had been appointed to market the site and it was anticipated a brochure would be published at the end of June. He said the target date for any sale agreement would be the end of March 2025.

That timeline was seemingly pushed back after civic chiefs said they would not make a decision on whether to market the site until after the elections.

With the Lib Dems having seized power in Gloucester, there is now a further delays, as they want to gather more information before making a decision.

Earlier this week, Cllr Hilton reiterated to fellow councillors that the Liberal Democrat manifesto his party won the local election on said they would continue to support the site so it remains "an important aviation and high tech business hub that provides for locally based, skilled employment".

"There are about 400 to 500 jobs directly related to the airport there and there are quite clearly some skilled aviation based jobs, " he told members of the overview and scrutiny committee on Monday (July 1).

"That is our concern, whatever we do in the future, that we do what's best to maintain that general aviation airport."

He said there were discussions at the end of last year about parties interested in purchasing the site.

"Nothing has happened since then," he added. "The decision was there would be no decision to put the airport up for sale before the local elections."

He said work had since been delayed by the election and people going on holiday.

However, Councillor Ashley Bowkett (LD, Barnwood) has been appointed as the new council representative on the airport board to provide information between the two parties. He and Cllr Hilton have had meetings with the airport management team and Cheltenham Borough Council leader Rowena Hay (LD, Oakley).

"At the moment we are gathering as much information as we possibly can before we decide whether we actually make a decision on whether to put the airport up for sale," said Cllr Hilton.

"It would be put up for sale as a going concern. I'm completely open minded at this moment in time. I haven't honestly made a decision on whether I would want to recommend the sale of the airport.

"If it went up for sale, we would have to see what came back and what the offers were and whether they were reasonable offers.

"We've got to make sure the airport continues, we've got to protect all the businesses and the people who operate out of Gloucestershire Airport. It's vital for the economy of the county."

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