Carlisle airport resurfacing and freight centre still held up by High Court ruling

Stobart Group still plan a 394,000sq ft freight-distribution centre, and resurfacing of the runway for scheduled passenger flights to London and Dublin.  But the airport development cannot start until the High Court rules on a legal challenge, brought by Irthington farmer Gordon Brown. He is seeking a judicial review of the Carlisle City Council’s decision to grant planning permission for the airport scheme, which he says does not comply with the council’s development plan and that planning officers gave councillors “erroneous and seriously misleading advice”. There are also questions on EU state aid rules and a planning condition. Work has begun on upgrading the sewers around Irthington, and this will remove another obstacle to the airport redevelopment plan – as this was one of the conditions in the planning approval, granted in February. The sewer upgrade, which will triple the capacity of the network, should be finished by October. The new sewer will mean  treated effluent  will no longer be discharged into a tributary of the River Irthing. 




By Julian Whittle

3 July 2013  (Cumberland News & Star)

A major project to upgrade the sewers around Irthington will remove another obstacle to the redevelopment of Carlisle Airport.

But Stobart Group’s plan for a 394,000sq ft freight-distribution centre – and to resurface the runway for scheduled passenger flights to London and Dublin – remains on hold pending a legal challenge.

United Utilities has started work on a £1.9m sewer upgrade, which will triple the capacity of the network. It should be finished by October.

Kevin Sayers, Cumbria wastewater business manager, said: “Planning approval for the airport development was granted in February and one of the conditions stipulates that this work on our sewer system needs to be finished.

“This is a good example of how we adapt our infrastructure to allow progress and we’re pleased to be doing our bit to help Cumbria’s economy grow.”

Irthington has a small sewage works, built in the 1950s, which treats wastewater from Irthington, Newtown and Carlisle Airport.

This will be replaced by a pumping station linked by pipeline to Brampton Wastewater Treatment Works, which is being upgraded to accept effluent from Irthington.

Mr Sayers said: “Getting rid of the old sewage works will be good news for the environment as it will no longer be discharging treated effluent into a tributary of the River Irthing.”

Stobart Group has welcomed the announcement.

But the airport development cannot start until the High Court rules on a legal challenge.

Irthington farmer Gordon Brown is seeking a judicial review of the Carlisle City Council’s decision to grant planning permission for the £25m scheme.

He says it does not comply with the council’s development plan and that planning officers gave councillors “erroneous and seriously misleading advice”.

Other arguments include a claim that the development breaches EU rules on state aid.

The council disputes Mr Brown’s claims.

The Court of Appeal quashed an earlier planning consent in 2009 after Mr Brown brought proceedings.






By Julian Whittle  (Cumberland News & Star)

2 March 2013

Legal moves to stop the redevelopment of Carlisle Airport are underway.

Gordon Brown photo

Gordon Brown

Irthington farmer Gordon Brown, who successfully overturned a previous planning consent in 2009, is mounting another challenge that could go all the way to the Court of Appeal.

His solicitor, Dickinson Dees, has served a pre-action protocol letter on Carlisle City Council after the council granted planning permission last month.

Stobart Group wants to build a 394,000sq ft freight-distribution centre and to resurface the runway for scheduled passenger flights to London Southend and Dublin.

A pre-action protocol identifies the issues in dispute. It is the first step towards applying to the courts for a judicial review of a decision made by a local authority. The council has 14 days to respond.

A council spokeswoman said: “The letter was received on Wednesday and raises a number of issues. We will respond to the letter, following which Mr Brown will consider his position.”

Stobart had said that work on the £25 million scheme would start “straight away”.

It declined to comment on the latest turn of events. Some preparatory work has started but it is unlikely that major works will go ahead until Mr Brown’s challenge has been resolved.

He declined to go into the details of his case but said he believed the council had “acted unlawfully”.

He has said previously that the planning consent may breach European state-aid rules.

These apply when a public body gives assistance to a business that might distort trade and competition.

Mr Brown warned councillors in January that, “at the very least”, they should check with the European Commission before granting permission. He also claimed that one of the council’s planning conditions was unenforceable.

This requires Stobart to keep the airport open unless the company can show it is unviable, even with rental income from the freight-distribution centre.

Councillors delayed consideration of Stobart’s planning application to get legal advice on Mr Brown’s arguments. They confirmed permission after their lawyers said there was no breach of the state-aid rules and that his other claim was “without basis”.





1 February 2013        A £25 million redevelopment of Carlisle Airport has come a step closer after city councillors reaffirmed their decision to grant planning permission.



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

August 4, 2012  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.   Click here to view full story…


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

August 4, 2012     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.   Click here to view full story…


Plans for Council decision on redevelopment of Carlisle airport delayed again – till August

July 9, 2012      Carlisle City councillors have deferred a decision on Stobart’s planning application for a 394,000sq ft freight distribution centre and to resurface the runway. They will hold further consultations before the plans come back before councillors, probably on August 3. Gordon Brown, the farmer whose application for judicial review led the Court of Appeal to quash a previous airport consent, argues that the latest scheme should also have been thrown out. The application was originally submitted over a year ago, and was due to be refused in July 2012, when Stobart asked for a delay so they could challenge arguments against the plans. Now Stobart chief executive Andrew Tinkler says he is frustrated by this delay, and threatens loss jobs etc if his plans are refused.   Click here to view full story…




Owner of Carlisle airport, hoping for major expansion, claims “CARLISLE AIRPORT REVAMP WILL BOOST HOUSE PRICES”

By Julian Whittle

5 January 2013

The redevelopment of Carlisle Airport could provide a much-needed boost to house prices, Stobart boss Andrew Tinkler claims.

[In reality, many in Southend living near the airport and under the flight path have seen large falls in the value of their homes, and have been unable to sell. This has caused considerable distress and anxiety to many in the Southend area.  At all airports, homes under flight paths generally lose value, due to the aircraft noise]. 

He believes that the company’s expansion of Southend Airport in Essex is partly responsible for property boom there.

A recent Halifax survey named Southend as the town with the fastest-rising house prices in the UK.

Average prices rose by 14.8 per cent in the year to November.

In contrast, Carlisle saw the fourth sharpest drop in prices – a fall of 9.3 per cent over the same period.

Mr Tinkler said: “The fact that house prices in Southend have strengthened more than any other town in the UK is testament to the social and economic benefits a regional airport can bring to an area.

“I believe the same thing can happen in Cumbria with the development of Carlisle Airport adding value for home owners and contributing to inward investment and the economic regeneration of the region.”

Stobart Group’s plans for Carlisle Airport are due to go back before city councillors on January 25.

The company wants to build a 394,000sq ft freight distribution centre and resurface the runway in readiness for daily passenger flights to London Southend and Dublin.

Objectors have argued that developing the airport would reduce house prices in nearby Irthington.

But Stobart produced figures to support an earlier planning application that suggest the opposite is true.

House prices for the CA4 postcode, which includes Carlisle Airport, rose 80 per cent between 2000 and 2007.

That increase was dwarfed by the 131 per cent rise in the area around Blackpool Airport, 189 per cent around Newquay Airport in Cornwall, and 233 per cent in the vicinity of Doncaster Airport in Yorkshire.

Objectors to proposed expansion of Newquay blamed the airport for pushing up house prices because it made it easier for second-home owners based in London to make weekend visits.

Adrian Hogarth, of estate agents Cumbrian Properties, believes there is merit in Stobart’s argument that a functioning airport would boost house prices.

He said: “If people can fly to Carlisle and spend money here, that will help the local economy and that in turn is good for house prices.

“You might think that houses near an airport would be harder to sell but airports create employment and the people who fill those jobs need somewhere to live.”