Tel: 020 7248 2227 RSS FeedRSS feed

Carlisle Airport planning decision postponed till August as plans appear unrealistic

Carlisle council delays decision on Stobart Group’s city airport plan

Stobart Group has been given more time to prove that its proposals to bring scheduled
passenger flights and air freight to Carlisle Airport are realistic.


Andrew Tinkler photo 
Andrew Tinkler

City councillors had been poised to refuse Stobart’s planning application to
redevelop the airport today.

The company wants to build a 394,000sq ft freight-distribution centre and resurface
the runway.

But aviation consultants brought in by the council concluded that passenger flights
would not be “commercially viable” and there was “very little potential” for air
freight.

That led planning officers to advise councillors to refuse the application on
the grounds that “the distribution centre appears to be primarily for road haulage
rather than airport related”.

Stobart strongly disagrees and asked for time to challenge the consultants’ findings.

Councillors on the development control committee agreed. The planning application
will now be heard on August 19 at the earliest.

Stobart Group employees packed the public gallery in the council chamber for
today’s meeting.

Stobart chief executive Andrew Tinkler said afterwards that deferring the application
was the right decision.

He said: “Now we can sit down with the report and discuss with the council and
go through the points that have been raised by the experts they have appointed.”

Nearly 100 business people attended a meeting at the Hallmark Hotel, Carlisle,
last night to hear about Stobart’s plans.

They saw a video, which claimed 679 Stobart Group jobs in Cumbria would be at
risk if the scheme is thwarted.

Without redevelopment, the airport would close or be used as a private airfield
for freight.

Mr Tinkler said: “The last thing I want to do is move Stobart from Cumbria. Our
business has been built with Cumbrian people.

“They are good workers. We’ve benefited from that and I want to keep that.”

He outlined proposals for scheduled flights to London Southend. The company claims
the airport will be handling 200,000 passengers a year by 2025.

The freight operation would use small aircraft to fly fresh produce to the Scottish
highlands and islands and the Isle of Man.

The distribution centre would employ 121 Eddie Stobart haulage staff moved from
Kingstown and create 69 additional jobs. There would also be 20 new jobs on the
aviation side.

Mr Tinkler added: “I want to get over what we’re trying to do. We believe in
the vision. Even the council believes it can work but they did have expert advice,
which questions what we’re trying to do.”

He said the council’s consultants, Alan Stratford and Associates, had based their
findings on “speculation and guesswork”. He urged businesses to write to the council
in support of his plans.

City councillors backed Stobart proposals to redevelop the airport as long ago
as 2008. But the initial scheme was withdrawn after the then-Communities Secretary,
Hazel Blears, called a public inquiry.

The council approved a second planning application in 2009 without referring
it for a inquiry only for the decision to be quashed in the High Court when Irthington
farmer Gordon Brown sought a judicial review.

Judges ruled that the council should have demanded an environmental impact assessment.

Mr Tinkler said the judicial review had been upheld on a “technicality”.

Trevor Howarth, Stobart’s legal adviser, told the meeting that the council was
wary of ignoring the advice of consultants in case it was challenged in the courts
again.

He added: “The council’s experts and Stobart’s experts are poles apart. But the
experts they have instructed were discredited at a public inquiry recently at
Farnborough Airport.”

Carlisle City Council has received 62 objections and 67 representations of support
for Stobart’s scheme. The city council bought the former RAF Crosby-in-Eden in
1961 to operate as a civil airport but repeated attempts to launch passenger services
in the 1980s and 1990s all foundered.

http://www.cumberlandnews.co.uk/news/carlisle-council-delays-decision-on-stobart-group-s-city-airport-plan-1.858545?referrerPath=news

 

see also

The city council is expected to deny Stobart permission to develop Carlisle Airport
into a commercial logistics and air transport hub. The decision, recommended by
planning officers at the council, could raise questions over the value of the
asset.

Stobart bought the airport in 2009 for £14m from two of its directors, Andrew
Tinkler and William Stobart. According to the company’s annual report the majority
of the value in the acquisition, £8m, was for goodwill relating to “expected synergies
available through development of the site” and “future earning potential”.

It is thought any impact on valuation is unlikely to be as large as the £8m of
goodwill carried in accounts. Property valuer Drivas Jonas said without planning
permission any fall in value is more likely to be between £0.4m and £0.9m.

The setback would be particularly sensitive for Stobart given it is currently
mulling a larger related party transaction involving Andrew Tinkler and William
Stobart.

The company is considering using part of a £115m fundraising completed earlier
this year to acquire a portfolio of properties from Mr Tinkler and Mr Stobart.

At today’s planning meeting councillors at Carlisle City Council will consider
the application to develop Carlisle Airport and surrounding land into a distribution
centre and commercial airport. Council officers have recommended the permission
be denied as it does not fit into the local plan and is not legal as there are
problems with the environmental statement within the application.

A spokesman for Stobart said: “If the council decision is to deny permission
we do not expect this to be the end of the process.”

The company held a meeting last night to rally support for its plans at Carlisle
Airport.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/transport/8638663/Stobart-Group-braces-for-Carlisle-Airport-property-crash.html

Related Telegraph Articles

 
see also
 
 

Stobart Group planning PR campaign to get Carlisle Airport plans approved

Stobart Group is planning a public relations blitz to persuade Carlisle city
councillors to back its redevelopment plans for Carlisle Airport.


Stobart airport protest photo

Stobart staff lobby the meeting
 

Chief executive Andrew Tinkler is urging businesses to write to the council saying
why they support the scheme for a 394,000sq ft freight-distribution centre and
resurfaced runway.

Councillors had been expected to turn down Stobart’s planning application yesterday.

But they put off a decision to give the company time to prove that its proposals for scheduled passenger
flights and air freight are realistic.

Aviation consultants working for the council concluded that passenger flights
would not be “commercially viable” and there was “very little potential” for air
freight.

That led planning officers to advise councillors to refuse the application on
the grounds that “the distribution centre appears to be primarily for road haulage
rather than airport related”. Stobart strongly disagrees.

Its employees packed the public gallery at the Civic Centre for the development
control committee meeting.

They burst into applause when councillors agreed to defer consideration of the
planning application.

It will now be heard on August 19 at the earliest.

Mr Tinkler said afterwards: “Deferment is the right decision for the council,
ourselves and the objectors. Now we can sit down with the report and discuss with
the council the points that have been raised by the experts they appointed.”

Meanwhile, nearly 100 business people attended a meeting at the Hallmark Hotel,
Carlisle, on Thursday night to hear about Stobart’s plans. They saw a video, which
claimed 679 Stobart Group jobs in Cumbria would be at risk if the scheme is blocked.

Mr Tinkler said: “The last thing I want to do is move Stobart from Cumbria. Our
business has been built with Cumbrian people.

“They are good workers. We’ve benefited from that and I want to keep that.”

He outlined proposals for scheduled flights to London Southend. The company claims
that Carlisle Airport will be handling 200,000 passengers a year by 2025.

The freight operation would use small aircraft to fly fresh produce to the Scottish
highlands and islands, and the Isle of Man.

The distribution centre would bring 121 Eddie Stobart haulage staff from Kingstown
and create 69 jobs. There would also be 20 new jobs on the aviation side. Mr Tinkler
said: “I want to get over what we’re trying to do. We believe in the vision.

“Even the council believes it can work but they have expert advice, which questions
what we’re trying to do.”

He said the council’s consultants, Alan Stratford & Associates, had based
their findings on “speculation and guesswork”.

City councillors backed Stobart proposals to redevelop the airport as long ago
as 2008. The initial scheme was withdrawn after the then-Communities Secretary,
Hazel Blears, called a public inquiry.

The council approved a second planning application in 2009 only for the decision
to be quashed in the High Court when Irthington farmer Gordon Brown sought a judicial
review. Judges ruled that the council should have demanded an environmental-impact
assessment.

Trevor Howarth, Stobart’s legal adviser, told the meeting that the council was
wary of ignoring the advice of consultants in case it was challenged in the courts
again.

He added: “The council’s experts and Stobart’s experts are poles apart.

“The experts they have instructed were discredited at a public inquiry recently
at Farnborough Airport.

“The consultants recommended refusal and the [planning] inspector overturned
that decision.”

Carlisle City Council has received 62 objections and 67 representations of support
for Stobart’s plans.
 
http://www.newsandstar.co.uk/news/stobart-group-planning-pr-campaign-to-get-carlisle-airport-plans-approved-1.858829?referrerPath=news
 
 
 
 
 
The Officers’ Recommendation, on 15.7.2011, is at http://bit.ly/mOHLGN 
 
and
Some more recent news about Carlisle Airport