Carlisle Airport – plans approved in principle, but legal and planning obstacles still remain
Plans to redevelop Carlisle Airport have been cleared in principle, by Carlisle City council, with an 11 – 1 vote, for air freight flights and passenger flights, but with many conditions. There could still be a judicial review by Peter Eliott. The Planning officer recommended “on balance” that councillors approve the plans, even though allowing the freight distribution centre in open countryside was against policy. The airport currently loses money, and the council hopes it will become profitable and bring money into the local economy. However, the council’s aviation consultants doubted whether scheduled passenger flights and air freight would survive for long. The airport can only survive if it is cross-subsidised by the freight distribution centre, and this may be illegal under EU law. Stobart are trying to make out that Carlisle can be as well used as Southend airport has become, but they are not readily comparable.
CARLISLE AIRPORT: LEGAL AND PLANNING OBSTACLES STILL REMAIN
By Julian Whittle
4 August 2012 (News & Star)
Plans to redevelop Carlisle Airport have been cleared for take-off, raising hopes of scheduled flights to London and Dublin by this time next year.
City councillors have approved in principle Stobart Air’s £25 million scheme for a 394,000sq ft freight-distribution centre and to resurface the runway for passenger flights and air freight.
But there are still legal and planning obstacles to be overcome. And objectors could yet seek a judicial review of the council’s decision.
The development control committee voted by 11 to one in favour of the scheme.
Chairman Terry Scarborough said: “This development goes hand in hand with the airport to make it sustainable and viable.
“I have no doubts in approving it.”
Fellow Labour councillor Hugh McDevitt said the benefits “far outweigh the negatives”.
Conservative Ray Bloxham was the only councillor to vote against.
He was worried that extra traffic would add to hazards on the A689.
Planning officer Angus Hutchinson recommended “on balance” that councillors approve the plans, even though allowing the freight distribution centre in open countryside was against policy.
He said the loss-making airport was at risk of closure.
The development would keep it open for general use although the council’s aviation consultants doubted whether scheduled passenger flights and air freight would survive for long.
The council received 13 petitions and 391 letters supporting Stobart’s planning application, and 92 objections. Some objectors and supporters spoke at the meeting yesterday.
Peter Elliott, a long-standing opponent, said the runway needed to be realigned to avoid a hazard from geese.
He told councillors: “If you grant planning permission, I will take you to judicial review as sure as it rains in Cumbria.
“Save the local taxpayers £400,000. Refuse the application lawfully.”
Irthington farmer Gordon Brown overturned a previous planning consent by judicial review. In a dramatic twist, councillors were handed a letter from his solicitor Dickinson Dees arguing that cross-subsidising the airport from the distribution centre – as proposed – was illegal under European law.
Mr Brown was represented by aviation consultant Richard Connelly, who claimed that it would be easy for Stobart to show the airport was not viable.
It would then close and the council would be left with a “road-based freight distribution centre in the middle of the countryside, in conflict with [the council’s] development plan”.
Irthington resident Mike Fox said that moving Eddie Stobart’s haulage depot from Kingstown to the airport would add an extra 500,000 vehicle miles each year as the new site is further from the M6.
Craig Nicholson, chairman of Stanwix Rural parish council, was worried about extra traffic on the A689 and he predicted that, far from Stobart’s claims, jobs would be lost if the scheme went ahead.
Alistair Welch, managing director of Stobart Air asked councillors to look at the success Stobart’s had made of London Southend Airport. He said: “In 2008, there were many people in Southend who felt the airport had no future.
“Since then we have invested £100m and there are 500 more people working there than there were last summer.”
Richard Greenwood, development director of Cumbria Tourism, said that tourism was growing more slowly here than in areas of the country that had access to an airport.
Passenger flights would help bring overseas visitors, especially from the US and northern Europe, short-break visitors from London.
John Grainger, managing director of Invest in Cumbria, said: “It is imperative that the sub region [Cumbria] has a viable airport.
“The investment would sustain existing jobs and create many more employment opportunities.”
And Laurie Price, of Mott MacDonald, Stobart’s aviation consultant, countered claims that scheduled flights would not be viable.
He said there were 54 routes in the UK carrying fewer than 50,000 passengers a year.
Before planning consent is confirmed, the council will take legal advice on Dickinson Dees’ claim that the proposal breaches European law.
Stobart will have to sign a binding agreement to keep the airport open unless it can show it is not viable, even with the rental income from the distribution centre.
The company must also pay £100,000 to enhance wildlife habitats.
The distribution centre cannot be used until the runway is resurfaced and neither flights nor the distribution centre can start operations until United Utilities has upgraded Irthington waste-water treatment works.
All these conditions could be academic if there is another application for judicial review.
Mr Brown said after the meeting he was considering his position.
First published at 10:49, Saturday, 04 August 2012
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
Have your say
Could somebody please give me an insight as to who will actually be using flights out of Carlisle airport? it may be a strange question but having spoken to many people, they have all weighed it up and none of them will, as it will be cheaper from international airports, plus Carlisle doesn’t really have a big commuting family, so who will use it. ? Confused.
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Stobart Group gets go-ahead for Carlisle airport redevelopment scheme
CARLISLE AIRPORT: ‘HOW MANY OF THOSE JOBS ACTUALLY GO TO LOCAL PEOPLE?
By Ellis Butcher
4 August 2012 (News & Star)
In the flatlands and fields which make up the low-lying countryside community around the airport, people were quietly going about their business as the airport approval news came through.
It’s an area where tractors skinning fields and the odd thundering juggernaut are the few things to break the tranquility.
The issue has been keenly watched by the residents of Irthington, the nearest village to the airport.
Raking the garden of his 91-year-old mother’s home was Mark Ashworth, 51, her full-time carer.
Rake in hand, there was a weary cynicism in his tone.
“I don’t think the real reason for the airport being here is the stated reason,” he said. “Jobs have been used as a threat but it’s like Sellafield. How many of those jobs actually go to local people,” he pondered.
Mr Ashworth has lived in Irthington since 1977. “It’s not nice living next to an airport,” he explained. “There’s a smell of kerosene, although the amount of activity at the moment is quite low. There’s Mail planes and the odd charter. But even the small Lear jets will wake you up.”
He added: “People believe they’ll be able to fly to popular holiday destinations but I don’t really think that is going to happen.”
At times, it has seemed that local farmer Gordon Brown stood as a lone and isolated voice of objection. Many more here support him, though. “He’s a hero as far as I’m concerned,” declared Mr Ashworth.
In his garden, David Elsender, 72, wonders aloud how the village might change character. He moved here 10 years ago from a busy life in Birmingham.
The retired lecturer is not a rabid anti-airport. He regularly used to “Eddie” spot the company lorries on his runs up the M6. He appreciates the value of the company to the area.
“I’m not too worried about the industrial side,” he breezes. “But if you’re going to have a bigger airport, the thing that worries me is the floodlights and the light pollution. If you’re going to have 24-hour security, you’ll get a lot of light pollution. The other end of the village is going to be in the flight path and have landing lights in their gardens.”
On the other side of the airport, Kayleigh Hadwin, 19, was busy finishing off the lunch-time crowd at The Picnic Basket on the small industrial estate next to System Training and John Deere Forestry Equipment.
It’s a small cafe run by Mandy Makepiece of nearby Brampton. It has flourished from being a small van to having its own unit.
Kayleigh, of Newtown Irthington, doesn’t drive and was out of work for six months before getting a job close to where she lives.
“I’ve just got off the phone with Mandy,” says Kayleigh. “She’s over the moon about it. I think it’s good because they are going to have building work to do and workmen will be needed. That means passing trade for us.
“There’s not loads of passing trade around here.”
At Old Wall, to the northwest of the airport, Joe McVittie, 78, and Jean, 77, were firmly applauding. Joe, a retired stonemason of Laing, was positively upbeat. “It’s good,” he declared. “If all those jobs had gone it would have made that place an eyesore.” Jean, his wife of 56 years, agreed: “The way jobs are at the moment we need people like Stobart to create them.”
It was a similar story down at The Golden Fleece Restaurant and rooms, which is busy preparing for a re-opening after flooding this summer. Owner Robert Cowan, 55, said: “It’s got to be good news for us. I think the feeling round here is it’s ridiculous how long it has dragged on.
“You’ve got to praise Stobarts for their perseverance.”
James McKinnon, 59, of nearby Cotehill, nodded agreement.
“They should’ve made their minds up years ago because people shouldn’t have been left hanging on all this time. They’re either for it, or against.”
This has been going on a long time …. over three and a half years ….
See article from December 2008 below
Carlisle airport set for take-off
A £25m plan to redevelop Carlisle Airport is set for take-off next week, and this time it is unlikely to be grounded by a public inquiry by GONW. The city council’s development control committee is being recommended to approve proposals. This time, planning officers say, the watered-down scheme need not be classed as a “departure” from the local plan. The city council have laid down 22 conditions. (News & Star)
13.12.2008 (News & Star)
By Julian Whittle Political correspondent
A £25m plan to redevelop Carlisle Airport is set for take-off next week, and
this time it is unlikely to be grounded by a public inquiry.
The city council’s development control committee is being recommended to approve
proposals to move the Eddie Stobart and Stobart Rail operations at Kingstown to
the Crosby-on-Eden airfield.
Airport owner Andrew Tinkler says the plan will create 100 jobs and secure 565
existing jobs that could otherwise be lost to Cumbria.
Earlier proposals from his company, Stobart Air, were approved by the council
in April – only for him to drop them when Communities Secretary Hazel Blears called
a public inquiry.
This time, planning officers say, the watered-down scheme need not be classed
as a “departure” from the local plan and therefore there is no need to refer it
to the Government Office North West for a possible public inquiry.
But they have laid down 22 conditions and say that, to avoid a public inquiry,
Stobart Air must sign a legally-binding agreement to:
- Resurface the runway and provide a passenger terminal;
- Replace 27 acres of wildlife habitat;
- Carry out a detailed assessment of the effects of noise from overnight lorry
- Provide a bus service to discourage car use.
The scheme is for a 371,000sq ft warehouse for haulier Eddie Stobart, a four-storey
office block shared by Eddie Stobart and Stobart Rail, a chilled dock, gatehouse,
canteen and parking for 339 cars and 143 lorries. Unlike the previous scheme,
there is no new runway or passenger terminal.
But Stobart Air says it still wants to bring in scheduled passenger flights,
initially to Southend Airport which has a direct rail link to London.
The council has so far received 531 letters and emails in support, exactly 100
against and two letters of comment.
Around 50 people have registered to speak at the meeting on Friday at Carlisle
Supporters stress the economic benefits.
They include Cumbria Chamber of Commerce and Cumbria Tourism, which says: “The
planned development has the potential to improve connectivity and significantly
enhance Cumbria’s reputation as an accessible destination for both tourism and
Objectors include Cumbria Wildlife Trust and the Irthington-based Carlisle Airport
They raise concerns about increased traffic, damage to wildlife habitats and
say the 371,000sq ft warehouse is “staggeringly inappropriate” in a rural location.