Stobart Group gets go-ahead for Carlisle airport redevelopment scheme but with many conditions

Carlisle City Council have granted planning permission for the Stobart scheme to develop Carlisle airport. They plan to build a 394,000sq ft freight-distribution centre and to resurface the runway for passenger flights and air freight. However, permissionis only agreed in principle and is subject to a string of legal conditions being met.  The council decision is subject to an Appropriate Assessment by Natural England and a Section 106 agreement including obligation on Stobart to keep the airport open and the runway maintained, various travel plan obligations, and the payment of £100,000 in order to enable the undertaking of a habitat enhancement scheme to benefit breeding waders. Objectors could yet seek a judicial review of the council’s decision.



3 August 2012  ( News & Star)

Plans for a £25 million revamp of Carlisle Airport have been given the go-ahead.

But the proposals by the Stobart Group are only agreed in principle and are subject to a string of legal conditions being met.

Carlisle City Council’s development control committee today granted permission for the redevelopment.

They gave approval, but with authority to issue – meaning planning officers will sign off the scheme but only after a number of requirements have been met.

Irthington farmer Gordon Brown, who forced a judicial review that led to previous permission being overturned, is understood to be considering his position in the wake of today’s decision.

Councillors heard argument for and against the proposals before making their ruling.

Their decision is subject to:

  • the acceptance of the Appropriate Assessment by Natural England
  • the receipt of appropriate advice regarding the implications of the Commission’s guidance on the “Financing of Airports and Start-up Aid to Airlines Departing from Regional Airports” (2005) + State Aid
  • the completion of a Section 106 Agreement including an obligation on Stobart’s to keep the airport open and the runway maintained unless it can be shown that the airport is no longer economically viable (even with the distribution centre rental income); Travel Plan obligations requiring: payment of a Travel Plan Bond to the county council as the highway authority calculated by using the cost of an annual Cumbria Mega rider Gold ticket multiplied by the proposed reduction in the number of employee commuting trips multiplied by five years; the applicant designating a Travel Plan Co-ordinator to carry out annual monitoring and reporting of results to the county council; the payment of £2,725 per year for five years in respect of county council staff; the setting up of a steering group to oversee the frequency of the shuttle bus service; the payment of £100,000 in order to enable the undertaking of a habitat enhancement scheme to benefit breeding waders
  • the imposition of the suggested conditions as revised.

Stobart chief executive Andew Tinkler, who described the decision as”extremely positive”, said the scheme would drive the economy, boost tourism and safeguard over 800 direct and indirect jobs.

“The freight distribution centre will allow Eddie Stobart to attract new clients while providing the rental income required to develop Carlisle Airport and commence passenger operations. Additional group revenue streams will be realised as we link Carlisle and [Stobart-owned] Southend airports to give passengers seamless connections to Europe,” he added.




See also

Carlisle Airport – plans approved in principle, but legal and planning obstacles still remain


4.8.2012Plans 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.