A BLUEPRINT to secure the long-term future of Durham Tees Valley Airport (DTVA) will be unveiled today - with the sale of land for housing at the heart of the rescue plan.

Bosses say the development of up to 400 homes would generate millions of pounds for investment back in the airport.

The money would be used to pay for nine new hangars, 9,600 sq m of office space and industrial units covering 16,820 sq m to expand the existing Northside Employment Park.

According to DTVA strategic planning director Peter Nears, author of the DTVA Master Plan 2020 and Beyond, rent from the new occupants would make the airport viable and protect existing scheduled flights to Aberdeen and Schiphol, in Holland.

He said: "Few airports, even the largest, can survive on revenues from passenger traffic alone and many have established wider development platforms to diversify income sources to enable re-investment in airport services.

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

The 180-page plan could be used to convince the Government to approve funding towards the first phase of the long-awaited Southside industrial park after two previous bids for regional growth fund money failed.

Delivery of the plan would create up to 3,800 new jobs, plus a further 450 jobs during construction phases and add more than £348m to the regional economy, the airport claims.

As well as protecting existing routes, bosses say it could help secure new routes to other UK and European destinations.

The publication of the plan comes after DTVA confirmed the airport was cancelling the majority of its holiday charter services in a bid to cut costs – a move which will lead to an unconfirmed number of redundancies.

The plan proposes between 250 and 400 homes on land to the west and north of the terminal, including a field previously earmarked for a business park.

The housing would include areas of open space and children’s play areas on site.

The terminal building will be reduced in size and remodelled. An extension to St George’s Hotel is also proposed.

The two-month consultation begins today and runs until January 10.

Doris Jones, Darlington Borough Council member for Middleton St George, has immediately expressed concern about the houses.

She said developers had already targetted the village for more than 700 homes.

“People are fed up with developers wanting to build houses upon houses and no services to go with them and now the airport wants to build 400 more.

“The school can’t cope with one more child and the surgery is bursting at the seams.”

Stockton South MP James Wharton also spoke out last night criticising the consultation process, with no consultation event proposed outside Darlington or the airport.

However, Darlington MP Jenny Chapman welcomed the master plan.

“This wouldn’t have been anyone’s first choice as a way forward for the airport, however if we want to keep DTVA open we need to be flexible and we have to settle for a compromise,” she said.

Sedgefield MP, Phil Wilson said he would like to hear the views of his constituents.

But he added: “It would seem that Peel and DTVA have come up with a plan which would secure the future of the airport in the long to medium term with the potential of creating many more jobs in the area to complement those created in Newton Aycliffe by Hitachi.”

North East Chamber of Commerce chief executive, James Ramsbotham, also backed the rescue plan, describing it as “bold and ambitious”.

To view the master plan, visit dtva-master-plan.co.uk

Consultations events will be held at the St George Hotel at DTVA on November 21 and at the Dolphin Centre, in Darlington, on November 28. More events are planned, the airport said.