Farmers’ legal challenges will delay Carlisle Airport revamp

18.12.2009 (Cumberland News)

The £25 million redevelopment of Carlisle Airport will now be seriously delayed
by legal challenges.

For it emerged this week there are now four farmers with grazing rights on land
earmarked for warehousing and offices who have refused to give up those rights.

One of them has been granted leave to apply for a judicial review of Carlisle
City Council’s decision to give planning permission in 2008.

Gordon Brown, who farms at Lane End directly opposite the airport, was twice
knocked back by High Court judges, most recently in October.

But last Friday the Court of Appeal agreed to hear his application in the spring.

The Rt Hon Lord Justice Sullivan allowed the judicial review because, he said,
it has a "real chance of success".

The court could order the council to withdraw planning permission if the challenge
ultimately succeeds.

Stobart Group wants to build an HQ and warehousing for its Eddie Stobart road-haulage
business to replace premises at Kingstown, Carlisle.

Chief executive Andrew Tinkler said the judicial review was a matter for Mr Brown
and the city council.

But he admitted he was frustrated by the farmers who had refused Stobart’s offer
to surrender their grazing rights.

Mr Tinkler said: "We’ve made a reasonable offer but we’re getting negative feedback.
We are not in a position to pay them the sort of money they’re asking."

He said that Stobart Group had served notices to quit on the farmers but he expected
them to challenge those through the courts. He added: "There appear to be four
people who don’t want this airport and they happen to be the ones on the land."

Mr Tinkler hopes that, if the issue of grazing rights is resolved, work can start
despite the judicial review. He said: "At the moment we have planning permission
and are looking to get on site as soon as we can after Christmas. But we need
to come to some agreement with the farmers. We need to get that sorted."

Mr Brown says that, under the terms of a lease granted to his father in 1962,
he cannot be evicted until March 2011.

His application for a judicial review claims that the council’s handling of Stobart’s
planning application was flawed.

City council leader Mike Mitchelson said he was disappointed with the judge’s
decision to allow the judicial review. He added: "All parties will have an opportunity
to put forward their case during the review process. It is our view that Carlisle
needs a viable working airport, and we are hopeful that the review process will
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