Brighton and Hove City Council is considering waiving a £1 million fee in order to get a plan to save Shoreham Airport off the ground.
Shoreham Airport is two-thirds owned by Brighton and Hove City Council and one third by Worthing Borough Council. The land comprises an operational airport along with commercial properties and industrial buildings.
In June 2006, the councils granted long leases of the airport land and the commercial land to the Erinaceous Group to the tune of £8.1 million. The deal included a requirement for Erinaceous to pay £4 million towards repairing and refurbishing the Grade II listed terminal and the hangar. Failure to make the investment within five years would trigger a deferred payment of up to £1 million to the councils.
Erinaceous bellyflopped in 2008 and following payment of a nominal sum, Albemarle Shoreham Airport Limited became the Councils’ lessees in September 2008.
Albemarle has carried out no work despite having listed building consent to carry out maintenance and repairs.
The company is involved in negotiations with Brighton and Hove City Council and Adur District Council which are expected to reach a conclusion next month, while protesters call for urgent action.
Now Brighton and Hove City Council is considering a plan to get Albemarle out of the airport operation.
The £1 million payment will be deferred and paid from profits on eastern development after a company called Brighton City Airport Limited takes over the operation of the airport on a long term lease.
Under the agreement, which will be discussed at a council meeting on May 1, Albemarle will retain its leasehold interest in the east and west development sites but it will surrender the airport lease.
A spokeswoman for the council said: “The aim of the negotiations is to ensure that the airport becomes a sustainable and profitable operation, supporting complementary business interests and economic growth on sit and securing much needed investment in the airport’s terminal and municipal hangar buildings.”