Blow for bid to save homes from Manchester airport bulldozers
13.3.2010 (Manchester Evening News)
by Alice McKeegan
Campaigners fighting plans by Manchester Airport to bulldoze two homes have been
dealt a massive blow.
They ditched a legal challenge after being told the case had a less than 50 per
cent chance of success – and consequently would not qualify for legal aid.
Neighbours – backed by Friends of the Earth – wanted a judicial review of a decision
by Manchester council to allow two historic cottages on Hasty Lane, Ringway, to
be demolished to make way for a cargo centre.
But they backed down after being warned they could face a five-figure legal bill
if they lost.
Despite the blow, they say they remain opposed to the proposals and have vowed
to look at other ways of contesting the decision.
Coun Martin Eakins said campaigners planned to argue that the environmental impact
of the scheme had not been properly assessed, but were advised it would not form
a ‘strong enough’ argument for a review.
He said: "We have been advised that due to the complexities of planning law any
case we would have presented would have been lost on a technicality.
"Even though we think our arguments against this expansion are right, we have
reluctantly decided not to proceed. The campaign continues as we believe that
a massive expansion of the city’s biggest polluter is destructive to our climate."
Sian Jones, from Stop Expansion at Manchester Airport, added: "Judicial reviews
are fought on very narrow legal technicalities about process rather than about
the climate injustices of airport expansion.
"Faced with the prospect of a multi-thousand pound legal bill, we decided that
we need to fight airport expansion in other ways."
Airport bosses were granted permission last November to knock down the homes
and destroy a 300-year-old pond, containing a colony of great-crested newts.
An 18,000 sq metre cargo hanger is set to be built, along with a new junction
between Hasty Lane and Runger Lane.
Bosses say the plan will give the airport an ‘opportunity’ to have ‘modern facilities’
in place when the economic recovery begins and say they are aware of ‘sensitivities’
surrounding the issue.