Whether due to good transport links, the availability of developable land, housing demand or even the element of glamour that often surrounds aviation, it’s fair to say airports have an almost magical capacity to attract development. In this report we will round up the development scene around some of the UK’s airports at the moment, excluding Heathrow.
Birmingham: Birmingham Airport’s ‘The Midlands Gateway to the World’ draft masterplan includes a proposal to invest £500m over 15 years to raise capacity to 18m by 2033. However, it is the infrastructural and development opportunities in the surrounding area that are perhaps more interesting. Already very well connected, it has been announced that Birmingham International Station close to the airport will undergo redevelopment as a ‘multi-modal transport exchange’. This will combine air, rail, tram, public and private transport networks by 2025, and in readiness for the arrival of HS2.
In nearby Solihull, the Urban Growth Company’s The Hub project aims to facilitate development around Birmingham Airport, Birmingham International Station, the National Exhibition Centre and Jaguar Land Rover’s site. It aims to establish Birmingham Business Park as a regional hub for business and create a new mixed use district at Arden Cross. Approximately 1,300 ha of land could be developed here including up to 5,000 new homes, for which preparation is underway.
Nick Brown, chairman at the UGC, says: “2019 is a major year for the UGC and our plans for The Hub. We’ll be continuing our work with HS2 to ensure the Interchange Station is at the heart of a whole new, sustainable, urban quarter, and continue the redevelopment planning of Birmingham International Station.
“Alongside that, we’ll be addressing the utilities shortfall in the area and coordinating local transport connectivity, among other projects.”
Blackpool: The relatively small Blackpool airport closed for airline services in 2014, although it continues to serve general aviation. It was believed that the owners at the time, Balfour Beatty, planned to develop the site for commercial and housing use.