Control tower revamp part of potential £500k investment at airport

THE £50m vision for an airport could undergo its next step with the refurbishment of a control tower and a boost in fuelling facilities.

Tuesday, 31st January 2017, 6:00 am
HMS Daedalus from the air Picture: Jason Hawkes

Solent Airport, at Daedalus Airfield in Lee-on-the-Solent, has been the subject of a multimillion-pound masterplan since it was taken over by Fareham Borough Council in 2015.

Plans for five new hangars at the site were granted by the council’s planning committee last Wednesday and now the local authority is moving forward with proposals to turn the control tower into a hot spot for aviation enthusiasts to watch the airport in action.

The council’s executive will decide on the plans at a meeting on Monday.

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They involve providing an open-plan seating area, new toilets, refurbishing the ground floor to include a cafe, as well as a new heating system and an enlarged car park.

In addition to this, the local authority is looking to install fuel pumps to boost fuelling supplies.

The proposals will cost the council £580,000.

Councillor Sean Woodward, the authority’s leader, said: ‘We want to make it a facility where those who come to the airport just to watch the planes can have a place to sit, have a coffee and relax.

‘The tower is functional but not the prettiest. It needs a bit of a revamp and these proposals will fit in with our plan to hold celebrations for Daedalus’ 100th anniversary this July.

‘The fuel pumps are an essential bit of infrastructure that will be integral to the future of the airport.’

The car park is hoped to be in place by spring next year ahead of planned events to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day at the airfield in 2019.

Councillor Shaun Cunningham, of the local authority’s Liberal Democrat group questioned whether the project should be one of the council’s priorities.

He said: ‘It seems we are spending significant funds at the airport when only a few of the borough’s residents will be using them.

‘If we can afford to spend this sum of money on this project then we should be doing the same for the redevelopments of the town centres in Fareham and Portchester.’

A decision will be made at the executive meeting at the Civic Offices at 6pm.