A MULTI-million pound proposal to help establish Durham Tees Valley Airport’s status as a business and transport hub should be put on hold, it has been claimed.

Middleton St George councillor Doris Jones said the scheme for a 1.8km link road between the Northside and the Southside of the airport may need to be reviewed following Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen’s announcement that he had agreed a deal to buy the airport for £35m.

The £5m scheme would see the link road running around the eastern end of the runway and provide access for a large warehouse which will form the first phase of the Southside Business Park.

It would also see the creation of a 2.8metre security fence along the length of the link road, which is set to be considered by Darlington Borough Council’s planning committee next week.

Planning permission for the link road was granted in November 2015, when it was described as a key part of the airport’s masterplan, but the consent has recently expired.

Three years ago the airport’s owner, Peel Group, said the consent was a “very significant step forward in delivering the objective of maximising the potential of the airport”.

Approval came despite strong local opposition, with more than 100 people penning letters of objection to the road being built.

The latest application has seen Middleton St George Parish Council object to the plan on the basis that the link road is the only access to 1.9 million sq ft of development and is “totally inadequate for the task”.

The parish council said all commercial traffic would be funnelled off the A67 through the only access to the Northside, forcing the commercial traffic to mix with residential traffic.

It added the scheme represented “a very poor piece of highway planning” with the proposed road “squeezed tightly round the end of the runway that traffic has to be controlled by traffic lights to allow the safe take-off and landing of aircraft”. A parish council spokesman said: “This would be disruptive now, but will be more so if the whole 1.9 million sq ft is developed and the use of the airport increases.”

Cllr Jones added while it was important to get the link road scheme right for the entire region, the airport’s sale could be a game-changer.

She said: “We need to know exactly what is going to happen at the airport before making decisions that might need to be completely revised.”

Nevertheless, the authority’s planning officers have recommended the scheme be approved.

They have said the proposal remains acceptable in terms of visual impact and highway safety, subject to appropriate conditions relating to surface water drainage, construction activities and ecological mitigation.