the Business Forum and
the Economic Partnership
in Brighton & Hove
Homepage    BCRP Intranet    Funding    Events    Knowledgebase    Links    About us     Contact us
Key projects



Workforce development 


Business &

Property &
Development sites




Consultation opportunities

Brighton & Hove Business Forum
8-11 Pavilion Buildings, Brighton, BN1 1EE
Tel: 01273 735442
Email: info@brighton

© Brighton & Hove
Business Forum

News - 4 July 2006

City Council responds to "inaccurate" Shoreham Airport story

Brighton & Hove City Council has responded robustly to a front page article in today’s Argus alleging that the authority sold Shoreham Airport for substantially less than its true value.

The full text of the Council press release is shown below;

"Your report suggesting Shoreham Airport was sold for less that its market value (Argus 4.7.06) is misleading and ignores crucial, publicly-available information on how the price was arrived at.

People quoted in your article therefore have no reason to be ‘mystified’ as the full story is easily obtained.

We have made absolutely clear that the District Auditor’s initial valuation of £21m could never have been achieved. £8.6m was a good deal for taxpayers, especially given the huge regeneration and employment benefits airport redevelopment will bring.

The District Auditor subsequently accepted this, in writing. Assets can only be sold for what the market will pay. The sale process began with an open marketing exercise which initially attracted 437 expressions of interest. This was eventually reduced to the winning bid from Erinaceous.

The District Auditor’s £21m figure was based on a valuation, which ignored local planning policies. These clearly state that the airport land forms astrategic green gap between Worthing and Shoreham and cannot be redeveloped for uses such as housing or other extensive building schemes. This cast-iron fact restricts its value.

To achieve £21m, local residents would have had to accept fundamental changes in the planning policies of West Sussex and Adur councils. These would entail large-scale building developments, probably involving extensive housing and industrial estates.

After explaining these issues to the District Auditor, the Audit Commission wrote to Brighton & Hove council confirming they wished to take no further action based on the evidence provided. Selling this airport below market value without central government permission would be illegal. The allegations and insinuations in the story are therefore very serious, unfair and unjustified.

This could all have been very simply explained to readers, and I’m pleased for the opportunity to do so now"

The Argus responded: -

"The report in The Argus accurately reported the fact that the district auditor, the independent party whose job it was to estimate the value of the property, had valued it at £21 million after a check of the council's accounts in November last year.

The report did not say this was the airport's "true" value but that £21 million was an estimated value, according to the figures produced by the district auditor, an expert in his field.

The Argus made every reasonable effort to include the views of Brighton and Hove City Council prior to the report being published and had in fact reported quotes from several of the council's own councillors, including the leader of the council Simon Burgess.

The council had ample opportunity to comment on its view that it disputed the valuer's estimate prior to the report being published but did not do so at the time.

The Argus also reported the perfectly reasonable views of campaigners who were opposed to the sale, including elected members of Brighton and Hove City Council.

It was not for The Argus to decide their comments were unreasonable, if they were indeed mystified and surprised by the fact the airport was sold for substantially less than the district auditor's valuation, as they said they were. It is their prerogative to state their point of view.

It was only after The Argus' initial report on the airport sale that the council decided to issue a further statement saying it believed the district auditor's £21 million figure was based on a valuation which ignored local planning policies.

Again, that is a reasonable view. The Argus did take those views into account and published them in a subsequent report published on on 7/5/2006.

The initial story was not inaccurate. The people who put their views to the newspaper were genuinely surprised when it was sold for £8.6 million. After all, a property can only be sold for the price anyone is willing to sell it for.

It was not for The Argus to decide if they were right or wrong but simply to represent their views and we gave those people the same opportunities to comment as we did the council"

Read related items on:
Development sites
Brighton & Hove City Council
Shoreham Airport

Browse our business Knowledgebase or search by keyword


13 December 2017
Ethical Food StartUp Programme - Idea Generation Workshop
12 December 2017
Utilise Plus launch programme of energy efficiency grants and business support for SMEs 11 December 2017
City Centre Vacancy Rates Drop Slightly From Sept 5 December 2017
Innovate UK Announces Sector Competitions in Manufacturing and Infrastructure Systems 5 December 2017
GDPR, steps to early compliance 1 December 2017
The 29th Sussex Business Awards 2017 Winners Announced 1 December 2017
Old tech gear? Give IT a new lease of life 29 November 2017
Driving for Better Business Campaign launches 29 November 2017
ARKA Funerals sponsor Burning the Clocks 2017 with 'In Memory' lanterns 27 November 2017
Govia Thameslink launches third consultation phase on once-in-a-generation timetable restructure 23 November 2017
Coast to Capital Launches Brighton Mainline Alliance 22 November 2017
Calling all UK companies that have transport, parking and commuting issues to address 15 November 2017
Start-up Challenge Business Competition Offering £10,000 Investment to Young Entrepreneurs 15 November 2017
IUK Announces £10 Million Innovation Loans Infrastructure Systems Funding Competition for UK SMEs 15 November 2017
Sussex Food and Drink Grand Finalists Celebrate Success 10 November 2017
Meaning conference confirms speaker line-up: breeding a new army of business activists 10 November 2017
Positive body image documentary screening at Hove school 8 November 2017
Material Practices: Painting and Printmaking at the University of Brighton - Private View 8 November 2017
Economic Partnership kick starts city strategy consultation 8 November 2017
GTR respond to positive ASLEF referendum result 7 November 2017
350th employer signed up to the Brighton & Hove Campaign 7 November 2017
Rampion announces £4 million community fund 6 November 2017
The First Gamification Conference comes to Brighton 3 November 2017
Shoreham Port Welcomes New Commercial and Operations Director 2 November 2017
Burning the Clocks launches Crowdfunder for 2017 2 November 2017
The Gatwick Diamond Business Awards are now open for Entries 31 October 2017
Brighton Based Paxton Open New Centre for Technology & Innovation 27 October 2017
Adventures in risk taking for high growth businesses 27 October 2017
Can your business benefit from offering a 'world of work' experience? 27 October 2017
The Small Business Saturday Bus Tour launches across the UK for its fifth year 24 October 2017
Business Networking & Case Study Visit with the Sustainable Business Partnership 24 October 2017
Could you use an Energy Saving Workshop? 17 October 2017
Peter Blake raffle raises £2,290 for Middle Street School 17 October 2017
AMEX named major sponsor of city's bike share scheme 16 October 2017
Ropetackle Business Friends scheme 4 October 2017
BTN BikeShare: a successful first month 3 October 2017
PLATF9RM open at Hove Town Hall 28 September 2017
Green Light for Preston Barracks and Moulsecoomb Campus Regeneration 28 September 2017
Local success story Giggling Squid at the Brighton Summit