Bosses at Leeds Bradford Airport could find out tomorrow if they can continue with redevelopment plans, despite rejecting calls for changes to the forecourt.
Officers at Leeds City Council have asked bosses at the Yeadon site to try to include a taxi rank as part of a proposed Forecourt Management Plan for the airport.
Councillors must approve the plan as a planning condition to allow work on a two-storey extension at the airport to begin by December.
But the latest proposal by airport bosses does not include a taxi rank – contrary to calls from the Council’s highways and planning departments.
According to a report to the Council’s west planning panel, who will carry out a site visit before tomorrow’s meeting, the lack of a taxi rank outside the terminal building has been causing a “detrimental impact” on Whitehouse Lane, which leads to the site.
Currently there is a contract with a private hire company at the airport. Taxis are not allowed to drive freely up to the terminal and must pay a yearly subscription, known as a Voyager, or £2 each time they want direct access.
The Council has said creating a new taxi rank on Whitehouse Lane would be too expensive, but the report said there have been complaints about people stopping along the road and in nearby residential streets to drop people off for the airport.
“There is no doubt that the changes to the charges introduced by the airport in May 2011 have had an adverse impact on Whitehouse Lane and some residential streets in the locality as drivers have chosen to wait, park or drop off/pick up outside of the forecourt rather than pay,” it said.
“The Council has been discussing the issues with LBA since then to try and resolve the issues.”
Bosses at Leeds Bradford Airport have offered an alternative solution by creating a free drop-off area in the long-stay car park, which would enable passengers to walk to the terminal or take a free shuttle bus. But the report says the new facility is outside of the Forecourt Management Plan area and could not be regulated by any Council conditions.
The report recommends councillors accept the latest Forecourt Management Plan “on balance”, however.
“With the offer of a dedicated area of the long-stay car park now being offered by LBA as a free drop off and pick up area then, subject to detail and agreement on the pedestrian access route and certainty about duration, on balance it is considered sufficient progress can be demonstrated to enable the Forecourt Management Plan to be recommended for approval provided that the Voyager area and dedicated area in the long-stay continues to be provided,” the report concludes.
Work on a the first stage of an £11 million refurbishment at the terminal is almost complete and extension work will begin once the planning conditions are satisfied.