Uttlesford DC approves Stansted expansion plan, only by Chairman’s casting vote – but plans may now be “called in”
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has expressed dismay and disappointment that the vote on 14th November)by Uttlesford District Council (UDC) Planning Committee granted approval for Stansted’s planning application to grow – to an annual throughput of 43 million passengers per annum (from the 35 million cap now). If this approval is allowed to stand, it would mean that Stansted could increase its flights by 44% and its passenger throughput by 66% compared, to last year’s levels. The Planning Committee, comprising ten elected Uttlesford councillors, split right down the middle with 5 in favour of the application (including the Planning Committee Chairman) and 5 against. Where there is a split vote, the Council rulebook gives the Chairman an additional (casting) vote – so he gets 2 votes. Both BBC and ITV regional news teams filmed the session, which was attended by many local people. UDC cannot issue a decision notice until the Sec of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government (James Brokenshire) has considered whether the application should be called in. This should have been done already, as the planned expansion is very near the threshold necessary – of an increase by 10 million annual passengers. SSE will now submit further representations to the Secretary of State asking him (again) to call in the application. They are currently also legally challenging the decision.
A SHAMEFUL DAY FOR UTTLESFORD DISTRICT COUNCIL
15th November 2018 (Stop Stansted Expansion – SSE)
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has expressed dismay and disappointment that yesterday (14 November), Uttlesford District Council (UDC) Planning Committee granted approval for Stansted Airport’s planning application to grow to an annual throughput of 43 million passengers per annum.
If this approval is allowed to stand, it would mean that Stansted could increase its flights by 44% and its passenger throughput by 66% compared to last year’s levels.
The UDC Planning Committee, comprising ten elected Uttlesford councillors, split right down the middle with five in favour of the application (including the Planning Committee Chairman) and five against. Where there is a split vote, the Council rulebook gives the Chairman an additional (casting) vote. The voting by individual councillors is shown in the notes below.
The Planning Committee decision followed an all-day meeting which was at times farcical. The Council chamber was packed with many representatives from local parish councils as well as members of the public and the media. Both BBC and ITV regional news teams were filming.
In an announcement at the start of yesterday’s proceedings, which surprised most of those present, UDC’s lead planning officer, Nigel Brown, told the meeting that the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government had instructed UDC not to issue a decision notice until he had an opportunity to consider whether the application should be called in. However, this announcement did not come as a surprise to SSE because it was fully in accordance with written assurances that had already been given to SSE by the Secretary of State’s office.
SSE will now submit further representations to the Secretary of State asking him (again) to call in the application. These further representations will include additional reasons for this, including evidence relating to the nature and conduct of yesterday’s meeting, for which there is a complete audio recording.
SSE will also be discussing possible next steps with its legal advisers. However, it may not be necessary for any further legal steps to be taken by SSE. This to some extent depends on the High Court challenge which SSE is already pursuing in relation to this application. If this legal challenge succeeds, the approval granted yesterday by UDC would be overturned without the need for further legal proceedings.
SSE Deputy Chairman Brian Ross commented: “Of course we are disappointed to lose the argument yesterday in such a shameful fashion, with the outcome ultimately resting on the Chairman’s casting vote. It was especially galling when most of the councillors who voted in favour of approval made very little attempt to engage in the proceedings and showed little evidence of having done their homework. This was not Uttlesford District Council’s finest hour. Fortunately this is not the end of the road so we would advise Stansted Airport not to start popping the champagne corks just yet.”
NOTES – The voting was as follows:
Paul Fairhurst – Residents for Uttlesford, Saffron Walden Shire.
Richard Freeman – Residents for Uttlesford, Saffron Walden Castle.
Anthony Gerard – Residents for Uttlesford, Newport.
Mark Lemon – Conservative (formerly Independent), Hatfield Heath.
Janice Loughlin – Liberal Democrat, Stort Valley
Councillors in favour
Robert Chambers – Conservative, Littlebury, Chesterford and Wendon Lofts.
Eric Hicks – Conservative, Great Dunmow South and Barnston.
Alan Mills (Chairman) – Conservative, Felsted and Stebbing.
Howard Ryles – Conservative, Takeley
Lesley Wells – Conservative, Broad Oak and the Hallingburys.
FURTHER INFORMATION AND COMMENT
- Brian Ross, SSE Deputy Chairman: 01279 814961; (M) 07850 937143 firstname.lastname@example.org
- SSE Campaign Office, T 01279 870558; email@example.com
Stop Stansted Expansion: “This is not the end of the road”
15 November 2018 (Dunmow Broadcast)
by Imogen Braddick
Campaign group Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has expressed “dismay and disappointment” in response to Uttlesford District Council’s decision to approve Stansted Airport’s expansion plans.
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Stansted Airport secured planning approval from Uttlesford District Council yesterday (November 14) to expand airport capacity to 43 million passengers a year from 35 million.
SSE has said it will now submit further representations to the Secretary of State for the Department for Transport to call in the application. These further representations will include additional evidence relating to the nature and conduct of yesterday’s meeting, for which there is a complete audio recording.
SSE said it will also be discussing possible next steps with its legal advisers. However, it may not be necessary for any further legal steps to be taken by SSE.
This to some extent depends on the High Court challenge which SSE is already pursuing in relation to this application. If this legal challenge succeeds, SSE said the approval granted yesterday by UDC would be overturned without the need for further legal proceedings.
SSE deputy chairman Brian Ross said: “Of course we are disappointed to lose the argument yesterday in such a shameful fashion, with the outcome ultimately resting on the chairman’s casting vote.
“It was especially galling when most of the councillors who voted in favour of approval made very little attempt to engage in the proceedings and showed little evidence of having done their homework.
“This was not Uttlesford District Council’s finest hour. Fortunately this is not the end of the road so we would advise Stansted Airport not to start popping the champagne corks just yet.”
Stop Stansted Expansion says Uttlesford DC planners’ recommendation is just an uncritical rehash of MAG’s claims
The recommendation by Uttlesford District Council (UDC) planning officers, published on 22 October, that the current airport planning application should be approved, will not surprise anyone who has followed UDC’s handling of this airport planning application from the beginning. As far back as July 2017 – before the application was even submitted – UDC were openly discussing concessions that might be extracted from Manchester Airports Group (MAG), the owners of Stansted, in return for approving the application. SSE say the UDC officers’ report is little more than a rehash of MAG’s planning statement with no attempt made to challenge the many unsubstantiated and misleading claims made in the planning application. They say UDC planning officers haven’t even bothered to check the many wholly implausible assumptions made by MAG which allow it to claim that there would be no significant adverse impacts if the application is approved – thought that would mean a 66% increase in passengers and a 44% increase in flights compared to last year. But UDC say this “would not result in significant adverse impacts.” It is now for UDC councillors on the planning committee to decide. This case seems too large and complex for a small team of planning officers in a small local authority, without the necessary resources or expertise.
Stansted Airport expansion decision delayed again, (from 17th October) – no date set
Plans to expand Stansted have been grounded, for now. Uttlesford District Council (UDC) has postponed a meeting to determine the future of the plans, under pressure from expansion opposition. The airport wants to increase the annual passenger limit by 35 million, from 8 million now up to 43 million. Expansion plans include work to build new aircraft stands and taxiways for additional aircraft (not a runway). The meeting was originally due to be held in July, before being pushed back until October 17th. A rearranged date has yet to be set. Expansion opposition group Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) successfully requested the latest delay so that technical issues can be discussed. Highways England also complicated matters with concerns about road traffic implications. SSE said it is important that approval is not given before all the implications have been properly considered. They say it is “astonishing” that UDC were preparing to approve the expansion “even when important issues were – and still are – unresolved.” UDC said:“As a consequence of accommodating this request, officers expect to need extra time to address any technical issues that may arise from these enhanced consultation arrangements”.
Date set for Stansted Airport expansion planning decision by Uttlesford – 17th October
The passenger limit at Stansted could be lifted from 35 million a year to 43 million. Now the date of the special planning committee hearing at Uttlesford District Council, (UDC) to decide a planning application that would mean potentially millions more people going through Stansted, has been announced. UDC said the special planning committee is will be on October 17th, following 3 public speaking sessions the week before the decision will be made. The decision on whether to allow the airport to increase its annual passenger numbers was due to be decided in July, but because of the lack of information on sections of the application the meeting was delayed. There has been staunch opposition from residents fighting to stop any increase in passenger numbers. In August, Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) filed legal papers to try and force the government to make the decision on the application, saying that UDC didn’t have the experience or expertise to handle such a complicated application. Currently the airport is operating with around 27 million passengers per year, eight million fewer than its current passenger limit. SSE will continue with legal action to make central government decide the plans, irrespective of the decision taken by UDC’s planning committee.
Stop Stansted Expansion wants Uttlesford District Council to allow more time (not 31st August deadline) for consultation on airport expansion plans
Campaigners against plans to expand passenger numbers and flights at Stansted are calling for more time for the public to consider new information about the plans. Airport owner MAG is seeking permission to raise the upper threshold for passenger numbers and flights. Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) argues Uttlesford District Council’s (UDC) August 31 deadline for comments on an extra 900 pages of information is not enough. SSE says the council and the airport owners were seeking to “rush through” the application, and corners were being cut. SSE chairman Peter Sanders said: “This is an impossible deadline to achieve, unless Uttlesford only wants to receive superficial responses. Parish and town councils don’t even meet during August, nor does UDC council or cabinet. August is a lost month so far as a public consultation is concerned. It is especially galling because Uttlesford caused this problem in the first place. The council should not have accepted such a deficient planning application back in February. It is a case of more haste, less speed.” SSE is pursuing a high court challenge aimed at transferring responsibility for determining the planning application from UDC to the Secretary of State.
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has served legal papers requiring the Government to take control of deciding the airport’s expansion plans
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has served legal papers requiring the Government to take control of deciding the latest Stansted Airport expansion proposals, or face proceedings in the High Court. This puts the Secretary of State for Transport on formal notice of a Judicial Review application if he fails to designate the airport’s planning application as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) within 14 days. Such a designation would mean the application would be considered nationally (a longer, more detailed, more effective process) rather than by the local planning authority, Uttlesford District Council (UDC). The application for expansion at Stansted was submitted by Manchester Airports Group (MAG) on behalf of the airport last February. If approved it would mean a 44% increase in flights and a 66% increase in passengers compared to 2017 levels. From the outset, SSE fiercely opposed the attempt to rush through the application and has argued that the scale of the application – the threshold is 10 million more annual passengers – meant that it had to be determined nationally rather than by the local Council. Stansted is trying to put the increase at 8million (35m to 43m) to avoid the NSIP process.
Uttlesford District Council to delay decision on Stansted’s expansion application – details needed on noise, air pollution & surface access
Plans to increase the number of passengers Stansted Airport handles, along with other infrastructure, have been delayed after Uttlesford District Council (UDC) asked for more information. Stansted’s application to expand the number of passengers allowed per year from 35 million to 43 million was due to be heard by UDC on July 18th. But it is unlikely to be heard before at least one more consultation and one more public meeting. A spokesperson from the council said: “The council has been examining the robustness of the evidence supplied within the application, particularly in relation to surface access, noise and air quality. Ongoing discussions are taking place with relevant stakeholders including Highways England, Essex and Hertfordshire County Councils, Natural England and engaged consultants, and further work is being undertaken.” Additional information is needed from the airport to ensure that the Planning Committee has all it needs in order to make an informed decision on the application. UDC has also announced that the Planning Performance Agreement (PPA), an agreement that fast tracks the application in return for monetary payments to UDC’s planning officers to cover the costs of processing the applications, will be re-negotiated.