Andrew Tinkler submits new plans for Carlisle Airport

14.10.2008     (News and Star)

Fresh proposals to redevelop Carlisle Airport have been tabled with Carlisle
City Council.

Owner Andrew Tinkler shelved an earlier £35m scheme for a new runway, hangars,
terminal, offices and warehousing after it was called in for a public inquiry.

His latest proposals are less ambitious.

The main building will be 30 per cent smaller and there are no plans to replace
the runway, which instead will be improved to an "acceptable standard".

As a result there should be no need to fell trees in Watchclose Wood.

Airport manager Richard Gordon hopes the revised plans will avoid the need for
a public inquiry.

He said: "The new application is materially different although its ultimate objectives
remain the same – to create a new base for the Eddie Stobart and Stobart Rail
operations currently in Kingstown.”

Staff from Mr Tinkler’s company, Stobart Air, delivered 12 boxes of documents
in support of the planning application to Carlisle civic centre today.

Full details will be published once planning officers have validated the paper
work, probably later this week.

But it is unlikely that objectors will be won over.

Mike Fox, of the Carlisle Airport residents’ forum, says the reasons that led
Mr Tinkler’s first application to be called in for a public inquiry apply to this
one too.

Having office space and warehousing there, he argues, breaches the terms of the
Carlisle Local Plan and the Northwest Regional Spatial Strategy.

Mr Fox said: "A number of anxieties we had as far as the original application
was concerned still exist.

"It is not clear what they are looking for the runway to take in terms of aircraft
size or the number of passenger or freight flights.

"And the proposed building is still a major building and will have implications
for traffic loadings on the A689."

City councillors approved Mr Tinkler’s original scheme in April.

But it was then called in for a public inquiry by Communities Secretary Hazel
Blears because it raised issues of "more than local importance" and because it
"may conflict with national policies on important matters".

Mr Tinkler has warned that, if his plans are thwarted, Eddie Stobart will move
its HQ from Carlisle to Cheshire with the loss of 175 jobs to Cumbria.

Stobart Air says that it will hold a series of public and other consultation
meetings to explain its proposals and respond to any issues that arise.

The city council will also consult on the planning application.

The earliest date it could go before the council’s development control committee
is Friday, December 19.