A RESCUE plan to secure the future of Durham Tees Valley Airport has widespread support, a study has found.

More than 70 per cent of respondents to a two-month consultation backed the vision and objectives set out in a draft master plan, airport bosses said.

According to the findings, 87 per cent of people supported plans for a business park beside the airport and the potential development of land south of the runway.

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However, a smaller number - 60 per cent - were in favour of a new housing complex on the site.

Airport strategic planning director Peter Nears said the results of the consultation were encouraging and all feedback would be taken into account.

He added: “The majority of the feedback was positive and supportive, but obviously there were questions raised about certain aspects which we will now consider very carefully in drawing up the final plan.

“It is important to stress that the whole objective of this process is to reposition the airport in such a way that we can develop a viable business model and investment strategy for the long-term.”

Mr Nears said few airports could survive on revenues from passenger traffic alone.

“The airport has land assets, which provide the development opportunities we must pursue if we are to improve the whole DTVA operation,” he said.

The airport said the master plan aimed to set out the development of the facility to 2020 and beyond, with the creation of 3,800 permanent new jobs and a further 450 during construction phases.

The plan refocuses the airport on business customers, although leisure destinations accessible via Amsterdam Schiphol Airport will be promoted.

The terminal building will be remodelled, while a mix of offices and hangars will be built around the terminal. St George's Hotel will also be extended.

Between 250 and 400 homes are proposed, with the sale of the land for housing paying for other developments on the site.

The plan for housing has angered residents of nearby Middleton St George which claim local services would not cope with more users.

The airport said a dedicated master plan website received 1,400 hits, while around 900 people attended consultation events.

Submissions were received from 130 individuals and organisations.

The finished plan is expected to be published in late March or early April.