The future of a popular car park near Leeds Bradford Airport is looking increasingly bleak this week, after a local council discovered that the owner of the site, Austin Hayes, Ltd., had been operating the Yeadon facility without planning permission.
Opened in 1999, Sentinel Car Park is used by hundreds of thousands of passengers every year, many of whom are travellers flying from Leeds Bradford Airport.
Austin Hayes has since applied for planning permission for the car park, but disgruntled councillors are already recommending that it be closed. The site is a ‘key employment area,’ according to city officials, due to its proximity to the airport and Leeds centre, and should be commandeered for new projects.
Leeds Bradford currently operates a shuttle bus between the terminal and the car park, emphasising its importance in generating business for the Yorkshire hub.
A report into the illegal Sentinel facility noted that there was a ‘possibility’ that the car park could have become lawful through the passage of time; UK law dictates that structures older than 10 years old, if not being used as a dwelling, should be allowed to stand except in unusual circumstances.
However, the facility will still need to acquire a certificate proving its legality, which could be difficult if city councillors rally against Austin Hayes.
Unfortunately, Leeds Bradford Airport has also spoken out against the Yeadon car park, ostensibly to drive traffic to its own parking facilities. The hub claims that it has enough parking spaces for all of its customers, but the on-going popularity of the Sentinel site suggests that the airport’s on-site car parks are not as attractive to flyers as bosses might think.
Councillors have indicated that immediate closure of the car park is unlikely, and an investigation into the facility would likely result in a temporary planning licence, lasting between 5 and 10 years.