Stobart and council agree airport deal

10.4.2008       (News & Star)

The Stobart haulage empire – and its hundreds of jobs – looks set to stay in
Cumbria after agreement was reached on a plan to develop Carlisle Airport this

Company boss Andrew Tinkler and Carlisle City Council leader Mike Mitchelson
shook hands on a revised list of conditions for the plan.

The proposal will now go back in front of the council’s planning committee on
April 25, before being sent to the government for final approval.

The agreement was the culmination of four days of delicate negotiations designed
to salvage the project after Mr Tinkler threatened to drop it and move his businesses
to Widnes.

He was angry with a list of 63 conditions attached to approval to the plan by
the council which he said were “unworkable”.



earlier on 10th April 2008:

Determined to hammer out airport deal

Eddie Stobart boss Andrew Tinkler has vowed to do everything he can to rescue
his plan to develop Carlisle Airport – but only if it can be done in a way that
is viable.

He was speaking on the eve of a crunch meeting today with Carlisle City Council
leader Mike Mitchelson.

Both men   hope that a team of legal experts employed by Mr Tinker and city council
planners can thrash out a way to make the project work.

Mr Tinkler has made it clear he will only continue to base his businesses in
the county if his aspiration to develop the airport as a new HQ is allowed to
happen in a viable way.

Planners have already given approval for the £35 million development, but the
scheme’s progress would have been hindered by a series of stringent planning conditions,
Mr Tinkler has said.

Today’s talks are an eleventh hour bid to reach a compromise on 10 problematic conditions which the Stobart boss says are a hurdle to the development.

Mr Tinkler said: "We have got advisors and lawyers talking to the council about
the outstanding conditions.

"We’re trying to find common ground, but it’s got to stack up in terms of business
and investment. But there is a determination on both sides to sort this thing

Earlier this week, Mike Mitchelson said his talks with Mr Tinkler had been "very
positive". Mr Tinkler’s lawyer is said to be one of the most respected aviation
law experts in the country.

Opponents of the airport development are continuing to campaign against it.

If the work cannot go ahead by early next year, Mr Tinkler has an alternative
site at Widnes in Cheshire, which could be developed as a new business HQ.  If
that were to happen, as many as 500 Cumbria-based jobs within his businesses may
have to transfer to there.

Such a move would also cost Cumbria’s economy dearly. Last year alone, Eddie
Stobart and WA Developments spent around £55 million with local suppliers.

For the latest on the talks, keep checking this (News & Star) website
BBC Cumbria:

Optimism over airport plans row



Major plans to revamp Carlisle Airport look to be back on track days after developer
Stobart Air threatened to pull out.

The haulier, based in the city, wants to invest £30m in new facilities, but was
unhappy at conditions imposed by Carlisle City Council.

Following crisis talks, the number of disputed conditions has now been reduced
to just two.

The amended plans are due to go before the planning committee on 25 April.

Stobart Air wants to build a runway, passenger terminal, air traffic control
centre, hangars, office buildings, distribution warehouses and car parking facilities
at the site.

The existing runway dates back to the 1940s and is only able to handle limited

But despite the original plans being approved, the city council imposed more
than 60 conditions.

Following Thursday’s meeting, only two disputed conditions remain – relating
to wildlife and noise levels.

Both the council and the haulage firm now say they are confident an agreement
can soon be reached.