The LoCATE business cluster provides opportunities across the value chain and is supported by relevant local policies.
The LoCATE aviation cluster operates in three ways:
- It is a spatial concentration of specialist and engineering firm s working in the Business and General Aviation sector.
- This concentration has attracted aviation users of the services and supply chain companies that together provide a supporting infrastructure platform.
- Combined, this has created a shared talent pool of people and skills.
- The airport provides a 1,808m long runway; a terminal building; Border Control; support facilities; associated aircraft parking, aprons, and hangars. A hotel has planning permission.
- Three full service fixed base operations for Business Aviation, ‘Home base’ for 60 business jets and over 100 other General Aviation aircraft. Engineering and overhaul services for Gulfstream, Dassault Falcon, Cessna, Bombardier, Piper and other aircraft manufacturers.
- Over forty different firms operate within LoCATE, including aircraft operators, air taxi firms, flight training schools, and firms within the aviation sector and its supply chain, including aircraft management, maintenance and refurbishment. Also present are media and communication companies, and Formula One, responsible for motor racing.
- LoCATE supports 1,000 local, plus a further 300 jobs across London. Businesses at the airport have potential to create a further 250+ jobs in the short term. The airport and surrounding areas have the capacity to accommodate around 2,000 additional jobs if LoCATE can help it fulfil its potential.
- A total of 14,870 sq m(160,000 sq ft) of available and existing business premises / 32,380 sq m (230,000 sq ft) of land and buildings for development on attractive terms and to individual requirements. In addition 9,754 sq m (105,000 sq ft) of vacant former MOD buildings and 15,793 sq m (170,000 sq ft) of adjoining industrial estate.
Policy recognition for LoCATE exists at a number of levels:
- The emerging London Plan – the Mayor’s blueprint for London – identifies Biggin Hill as a Strategic Outer London Development Centre (SOLDC). These are locations of more than sub-regional importance with potential to secure future economic growth, because of its specialist transport and business aviation activities. LoCATE seeks to translate this important strategic designation into a practical delivery plan that realises the economic potential of the centre.
- Bromley Council’s Unitary Development Plan (UDP) recognises the economic role of the airport and adjoining business areas and seeks to balance these with environmental factors including Green Belt, noise, access and local amenity. This UDP predates the London Plan and LB Bromley is currently in the process of preparing its new Local Development Framework (LDF). The evidence base for the LDF identifies Biggin Hill as an opportunity, particularly for Business and General Aviation, high value manufacturing, and small scale office development.
- The plans of adjacent local authorities, including LB Croydon, recognise the economic benefits Biggin Hill provides as an airport and the jobs its businesses and wider supply chain deliver to Croydon.
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