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Lifeline for plans to create 1,500 jobs at Durham Tees Valley Airport
A BOLD bid to create 1,500 jobs at a North-East airport has been offered a lifeline.
Confirmation that the Chancellor is funding another round of the government's flagship enterprise fund has gives Durham Tees Valley Airport a chance to revive its bid for development cash next spring.
Airport chiefs and MPs were dismayed in October when the government rejected a bid for £5.9m from the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) to build a huge freight operation on land south of the passenger terminal.
Owners Peel Holdings had hoped the project, which would take 10 years to complete, could breathe new life into the beleaguered site, which was close to going out of business last year amid falling passenger numbers.
Chancellor George Osborne today confirmed that the RGF, which aims to support job creation projects in hard hit areas, would continue next year. The next round of bidding is expected to start in March.
Peter Nears, the strategic planning director of Peel Group, told The Northern Echo: "We will obviously need to understand how the Government intends to move forward with a further round of the Regional Growth Fund and we will be resubmitting the bid for the infrastructure works needed for the development of the Southside project at the airport.
"The Chancellor has stressed the important role for Local Enterprise Partnerships and we look forward to working with Tees Valley Unlimited and our local authorities in examining how we can ensure that the Southside development is seen as an important element in the overall strategic plans for the area."
Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson, whose constituency includes the airport, also welcomed the move.
"I hope this offers Durham Tees Valley a second chance to revive its attempt to bring new jobs and investment to the area," said Mr Wilson who is meeting airport bosses in the coming days to help relaunch the bid.
Mr Wilson and fellow Labour MP Alex Cunningham (Stockton North) recently held talks with Vince Cable, the Business Secretary to understand why the Government had turned its back on one of the region's key transport hubs. Mr Cable encouraged the airport to draw up a stronger business case for funding.