Cornwall Council considers transforming Newquay Airport into concert venue

Cornwall Council is considering options to help balance the books at the loss-making Newquay Airport, including making it a rock concert venue, the BBC has reported.

UKIP councillor, Harry Blakeley, suggested that the airport could be converted into a concert venue, and could also host go-kart racing and other activities.

The suggestion comes as passenger numbers at the airport fell for a fifth year in a row last year, to 174,000, down from 431,000 in 2008/9.

A former military base, the airport had a major setback when Ryanair and Air Southwest withdrew their flights in 2011. The airport’s link with Gatwick is also set to end in the autumn when Flybe ends its operations, after saying that the service is not viable.

While Cornwall Council, the airport’s owner, said that space was limited at the airport, Councillor Blakeley said it was ‘big enough’ for concerts. He also suggested kite boarding.

Councillor Adam Paynter, cabinet member for partnerships, which helps oversee the airport, said they would consider the proposal.

However, Paynter added: ‘The total acreage is about 861 acres – it is a big area but a lot is the Enterprise Zone which is 650 acres and 231 acres is development land, occupied by commercial companies and 87 acres is the solar park.

‘We also get paid by the government to stay open as an emergency airfield. The runway is one of the largest in the country so any plane can land there.’

Health and safety problems make it very difficult for the airport to host thousands of people at a concert, he said, adding: ‘The difficulty is keeping people apart from the commercial activities.’

The airport has already hosted car shows, eco-car races, police driver training and has been used for filming TV and commercials, the report noted.