Date set for February 2014 for Hearing at the High Court into Stobart’s Carlisle airport plans
Carlisle City Council’s decision to allow the development’s go-ahead is being taken to a judicial review – probably between 18th and 20th February 2014. Stobart Group wants to build a 394,000sq ft freight distribution centre and to resurface the runway for scheduled passenger flights to Southend and Dublin. Carlisle City Council granted planning permission in February, but their decision is being challenged by a local farmer who lives close to the airport, and has tenaciously persisted in his opposition for several years. He opposes the plan for the airport’s expansion because it appears the legal agreement between the council and Stobart Group is “unenforceable”; because planning officers gave “erroneous and seriously misleading” advice to the councillors who made the decision; because Carlisle City Council did not properly assess the criteria on “presumption in favour of development”; the council failed to comply with its obligations under the EU habitats directive – and several other failures in the Council process. Mr Brown persuaded the Court of Appeal to quash an earlier consent, granted in 2009, after he brought judicial review proceedings.
DATE SET FOR HEARING INTO STOBART’S CARLISLE AIRPORT PLANS
By Chris Story (Carlisle News & Star)
21 September 2013
A date has been set for a legal hearing to decide the fate of plans to overhaul Carlisle Airport.
Carlisle City Council’s decision to allow the development’s go-ahead is being taken to a judicial review.
The challenge against that decision will be held between February 18 and 20, most likely at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.
The date was set following legal discussions in the capital on Thursday.
Stobart Group wants to build a 394,000sq ft freight distribution centre and to resurface the runway for scheduled passenger flights to London Southend and Dublin. Carlisle City Council granted planning permission in February.
But that decision is being challenged by Irthington farmer Gordon Brown, who lives opposite the airport.
He argues that:
- a legal agreement between the council and Stobart Group is “unenforceable”. This requires Stobart to keep the airport open unless the company can show it is unviable;
- planning officers gave “erroneous and seriously misleading” advice to the councillors who made the decision;
- they failed to give weight to the fact that Stobart’s planning application did not meet the criteria for “presumption in favour of development” outlined in national planning policy;
- the council failed to comply with its obligations under the EU habitats directive;
- the consent may amount to “unlawful state aid” under European law, so the council should have notified the European Commission;
- Stobart’s environmental assessment “unlawfully” failed to assess greenhouse gas emissions.
The city council will argue in court that the decision should he upheld.
A date for the hearing has been confirmed just days after Stobart Group had a plane of the type that would operate routes from Carlisle land at the airport.
The 42-seater aircraft, operated by Aer Lingus Regional, was one of the exhibits at last weekend’s Stobart Fest.
Speaking as it landed, Stobart chief executive Andrew Tinkler said the development’s supporters remain keen on the project going ahead.
“The opportunity’s there. We want the tools to do the job, but this has to go through the legal system to allow us to do that,” he added.
Mr Brown persuaded the Court of Appeal to quash an earlier consent, granted in 2009, after he brought judicial review proceedings.
Carlisle airport resurfacing and freight centre still held up by High Court ruling
July 4, 2013 Stobart Group still plan a 394,000sq ft freight-distribution centre, and resurfacing of the runway for scheduled passenger flights to London and Dublin. But the airport development cannot start until the High Court rules on a legal challenge, brought by Irthington farmer Gordon Brown. He is seeking a judicial review of the Carlisle City Council’s decision to grant planning permission for the airport scheme, which he says does not comply with the council’s development plan and that planning officers gave councillors “erroneous and seriously misleading advice”. There are also questions on EU state aid rules and a planning condition. Work has begun on upgrading the sewers around Irthington, and this will remove another obstacle to the airport redevelopment plan – as this was one of the conditions in the planning approval, granted in February. The sewer upgrade, which will triple the capacity of the network, should be finished by October. The new sewer will mean treated effluent will no longer be discharged into a tributary of the River Irthing. Click here to view full story…
FRESH LEGAL MOVES START TO BLOCK CARLISLE AIRPORT PLANS
2 March 2013 Legal moves to stop the redevelopment of Carlisle Airport are underway. Irthington farmer Gordon Brown, who successfully overturned a previous planning consent in 2009, is mounting another challenge that could go all the way to the Court of Appeal. His solicitor, Dickinson Dees, has served a pre-action protocol letter on Carlisle City Council after the council granted planning permission last month. Stobart Group wants to build a 394,000sq ft freight-distribution centre and to resurface the runway for scheduled passenger flights to London Southend and Dublin. A pre-action protocol identifies the issues in dispute. It is the first step towards applying to the courts for a judicial review of a decision made by a local authority. The council has 14 days to respond. Mr Brown said he believed the council had “acted unlawfully”. He has said previously that the planning consent may breach European state-aid rules. Mr Brown warned councillors in January that, “at the very least”, they should check with the European Commission before granting permission. He also claimed that one of the council’s planning conditions was unenforceable. Click here to view full story …
Carlisle Airport – plans approved in principle, but legal and planning obstacles still remain
August 4, 2012 Plans to redevelop Carlisle Airport have been cleared in principle, by Carlisle City council, with an 11 – 1 vote, for air freight flights and passenger flights, but with many conditions. There could still be a judicial review by Peter Eliott. The Planning officer recommended “on balance” that councillors approve the plans, even though allowing the freight distribution centre in open countryside was against policy. The airport currently loses money, and the council hopes it will become profitable and bring money into the local economy. However, the council’s aviation consultants doubted whether scheduled passenger flights and air freight would survive for long. The airport can only survive if it is cross-subsidised by the freight distribution centre, and this may be illegal under EU law. Stobart are trying to make out that Carlisle can be as well used as Southend airport has become, but they are not readily comparable. Click here to view full story…
Stobart Group gets go-ahead for Carlisle airport redevelopment scheme but with many conditions
August 4, 2012 Carlisle City Council have granted planning permission for the Stobart scheme to develop Carlisle airport. They plan to build a 394,000sq ft freight-distribution centre and to resurface the runway for passenger flights and air freight. However, permissionis only agreed in principle and is subject to a string of legal conditions being met. The council decision is subject to an Appropriate Assessment by Natural England and a Section 106 agreement including obligation on Stobart to keep the airport open and the runway maintained, various travel plan obligations, and the payment of £100,000 in order to enable the undertaking of a habitat enhancement scheme to benefit breeding waders. Objectors could yet seek a judicial review of the council’s decision. Click here to view full story…
NEW LEGAL CHALLENGE OVER CARLISLE AIRPORT REDEVELOPMENT DECISION
By Chris Story
Last updated at 10:43, Sunday, 17 February 2013
A legal challenge is set to be launched against the decision to allow Carlisle Airport’s £25 million transformation.
Farmer Gordon Brown is making moves towards applying for a judicial review in an attempt to stop the development.
Transport giant the Stobart Group is clear to start work after signing a legal agreement with Carlisle City Council.
Chief executive Andrew Tinkler said the company would straight away begin creating a 394,000 sq ft freight distribution centre and to resurface the runway for air freight and scheduled passenger services.
But opposition has not disappeared.
Mr Brown has told the News & Star that Carlisle City Council and Stobart have been alerted that his legal team will be challenging the decision to grant planning permission.
The Irthington farmer continues to argue that the council’s actions are “unlawful”.
He said: “Carlisle City Council and Stobart Air have both been put on notice that they will receive a pre-action protocol letter, probably next week.”
Pre-action protocol identifies issues in dispute.
It is the first step towards applying to the courts to ask for judicial review into a decision made by a local authority.
A city council spokesman said: “We’ve received a letter from Mr Brown’s solicitor and are expecting more correspondence to follow. We will respond when we have had time to consider their position.”
A previous plan for the airport’s redevelopment was quashed by the Court of Appeal after Mr Brown sought a judicial review against that decision.
His opposition has remained to the new scheme, for which the council granted permission in August.
Councillors stood by that decision last month when the application was brought back before them in the light of “new information”.
Mr Brown claimed then that granting permission might breach European ‘state aid’ rules, which apply when a public body gives assistance to a business, which might distort trade and competition.
The council’s legal advice was that there was no breach.
Mr Brown also argued that one of the planning conditions – requiring Stobart to keep the airport open unless the company can show it is unviable, even with rental income from the freight-distribution centre – was unviable. Lawyers for the council said this was “without basis”.
Although planning permission for the new-look airport was granted in August, it is not until in recent days that a legal agreement between the council and developer, which must be completed before work can start, had been signed.
Mr Tinkler has said priority for the first stage of work would be given to the runway changes.
Stobart Group plans daily flights to London Southend and Dublin.
Councillors first granted planning consent for the airport’s redevelopment in April 2008, only for Mr Tinkler to withdraw the scheme when a public inquiry was called.
A second planning application approved in December that year was quashed following the judicial review sought by Mr Brown.
CARLISLE AIRPORT PLANS POISED FOR TAKE OFF
1 February 2013 (Carlisle News & Star)
A £25 million redevelopment of Carlisle Airport has come a step closer after city councillors reaffirmed their decision to grant planning permission.
Stobart Group wants to build a 394,000sq ft freight-distribution centre and resurface the runway in readiness for air freight and passenger flights to London Southend and Dublin.
Councillors approved the scheme in principle last August. But formal consent was never given because of unresolved legal and planning issues.
Planning officers brought the application back before councillors yesterday (Thursday) to consider “new information”.
Irthington farmer Gordon Brown, who persuaded the Court of Appeal to quash an earlier consent, had claimed that granting permission might breach European ‘state aid’ rules.
These apply when a public body gives assistance to a business, which might distort trade and competition. Councillors were presented with two conflicting legal opinions.
The council’s counsel, Denis Edwards, argued there was no breach while barristers for Mr Brown said that, “at the very least”, the council should check with the European Commission before granting permission.
But Mark Lambert, the council’s director of governance, advised councillors: “The clear advice from Mr Edwards is that the state-aid rules are not engaged. Therefore no reference to the commission is required.”
Mr Brown had also argued that one of the proposed planning conditions was unenforceable.
This requires Stobart to keep the airport open unless the company can show it is unviable, even with rental income from the freight-distribution centre.
However, the council’s lawyer, Eversheds, says Mr Brown’s argument is “without basis”. Planning consent will now be confirmed once Stobart signs a legally-binding agreement with the council and that could happen as soon as next week.
Speaking afterwards, Mr Brown would not say whether he would seek another judicial review.
He said: “The council’s decision was in line with expectations. I’m taking stock of the situation.”
If there is no legal challenge, Stobart could start work almost immediately.
Chief executive Andrew Tinkler said: “Now that approval has been granted, we look forward to getting the airport development underway and to concentrate on delivering this project.”
Council leader Joe Hendry believes that a revamped airport will boost the city.
He said: “I’m relieved that we have a decision and I hope we can go forward in a spirit of goodwill for the benefit of Carlisle. This sends out a very strong message that Carlisle is open for business.”
The outcome has been welcomed by businesses.
John Grainger, managing director of Invest in Cumbria, said: “I think the decision is good for democracy. The debate has been very long and thorough.
“There are three things Carlisle needs to be taken seriously as a city – as opposed to a town – a Football League team, a university and an airport. It looks like we’ve got all three.”
Cumbria Chamber of Commerce had also lobbied hard to get Stobart’s plans approved.
Councillors had been due to vote on Stobart’s plan last Friday but the item was adjourned so councillors could be given up-to-date legal advice.