TNT set to land

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DISTRIBUTION company TNT is preparing to land on the site of the former Sheffield Airport, creating around 230 jobs.

Against the continuing rumble over the loss of the airport, councillors agreed this week to give developers more flexibility in the phasing to get the second phase of a business park off the ground - with TNT the first arrival.

“This consent gives us the ability to create new jobs on the ground at a very early stage,” said Graham Sadler, managing director of Sheffield Business Park.

“For a project of this size, putting all the infrastructure in place would take some time. This way, we can get businesses on the site now, which is great news for the economy.”

It is hoped TNT will start construction later this year with a view to opening next year.

Phase two of the business park at Tinsley will provide premises for offices, manufacturing and distribution, with ancillary retail, leisure and food and drink facilities.

Development partners will now be able to prepare the 50-acre site in stages, in response to demand. Mr Sadler said: “Phased development will allow us to bring this scheme to market and secure jobs in what are quite challenging economic conditions.”

Councillors approved the application for an incremental approach to development despite strong objections from campaigners still battling to save the airport, off the Sheffield Parkway, which closed to air traffic three years ago. Retired lecturer Stewart Dalton told councillors the decision should be deferred until an independent body thoroughly investigates the circumstances surrounding the closure. Campaigners have pressed constantly for an investigation after owners Peel - which still holds a 50% stake in the site - declared the airport was not commercially viable.

But council officers the history was “not relevant” to the council decision, which should be made purely on planning grounds. Planning agent Matthew Shepherd, for the developers, said: “The applicants recognise that people are disappointed at the closure of Sheffield City Airport. But that is a matter of history now - and we believe it is time to look to the future.”

Phase two will stand alongside the existing business park which is already one of the largest in the region, providing over 2,000 jobs.