RECENTLY I was passing Teesside Airport and decided, on the spur of the moment, to drive in and take a look. After all, as Mr Houchen has told us, we’ve ‘got our airport back’.

Frankly I wish I had not bothered.

The first shock was to find the access road to the Airport War Memorial behind locked gates.

The memorial oval stands before the former RAF Officers Mess and consists of a cairn, Memorial Garden, Canadian Maple trees and the iconic statue of Andrew Mynarski VC.

It is estimated that the ashes of over 100 veterans lie here.

The Mynarski statue was paid for by public donations and involved various veterans’ groups and local schools. Peter Barron of The Northern Echo was a prime mover in this process.

The Memorial oval is a place of pilgrimage to veterans’ families and others, both from this country and Canada. It is listed on numerous websites concerning War Memorials.

Any visitors now will be met by locked gates.

I wondered just what kind of person would be capable of authorising such a low act as excluding the public from a War Memorial, built through public subscription.

Over 2,000 young aircrew gave their lives, during the Second World War, flying from this place and their sacrifice is commemorated here.

I cannot think of any other war memorial in this country that has been shut off from the public.

Passing the locked gates. I then noticed that the whole site, previously an open area, now had multiple signs threatening motorists with fines of £100, for that most heinous crime of stopping. What a way to welcome customers!

Ben Houchen would do well to redeploy the authoritarian regime responsible for making the place unfriendly, and set them to work attracting holiday flights.

After all, that’s what people elected him to do.

There is an interesting parallel to be drawn here.

When Johnson “got Brexit done”

he announced to all the world that Britain had at last got control of its own borders - but still the boats come. No change there.

Similarly, when the Mayor took control of the airport, he told us that we had ‘got our airport back’ – but still ‘Teessiders’ are trekking to Newcastle, Manchester and Leeds/Bradford for their holiday flights and Teesside Airport with its unwelcoming and threatening signs, has the ‘kerb appeal’ of a prison camp.

Ian Ferguson, Thornaby