Carlisle council gives go-ahead to city airport overhaul – largely to be a freight centre
Plans for the £20 million overhaul of Carlisle Airport have been given the go ahead – again. A special meeting of Carlisle City Council took place on 18th August, with councillors asked to approved Stobart Group’s proposals for a massive freight distribution centre and revamped runway. One councillor expressed concerns over potential traffic congestion but no councillor voted against the motion to approve officers’ recommendations. The Stobart Group chief executive Andrew Tinkler said that work could begin within “a couple of months” – provided there are no legal challenges. The decision came despite the High Court quashing a previous planning permission decision, as new case law has since emerged which means that the need to take into account the viability of the airport is no longer relevant. However, opponents of the plans are questioning the legality of the council decision. Local people are asking for this decision to be called in. This freight depot proposal is deeply opposed by a large proportion of the local community. There is concern that the proposal was permitted because Tinkler showed a film, of Stobart employees begging for consent to be granted, at the planning meeting.
Carlisle council gives go-ahead to city airport overhaul
Monday, 18 August 2014 (News & Star)
Plans for the £20 million overhaul of Carlisle Airport have been given the go ahead – again.
A special meeting of Carlisle City Council took place this morning, with councillors asked to approved Stobart Group’s proposals for a massive freight distribution centre and revamped runway.
Councillor Ray Bloxham expressed concerns over potential traffic congestion but no councillor voted against the motion to approve officers’ recommendations.
Speaking to the News & Star after the meeting, Stobart Group chief executive Andrew Tinkler said that work could begin within “a couple of months” – provided there are no legal challenges.
The decision came despite the High Court quashing a previous planning permission decision, as new case law has since emerged which means that the need to take into account the viability of the airport is no longer relevant.
However, objector Mike Fox said the “devil was in the detail” and questioned the legality of the council decision.
Have your say
There is a lot of money in air freight. the transport of food goods and horses. Good luck to the Stobart group, I would think passenger numbers would be few as we in Cumbria and the Borders are not briming with people.
Let’s hope there is a legal challenge. This needs to be stopped as soon as possible before that area is used simply as another Stobard depot and not an airport .
Work on Carlisle airport revamp for freight centre could start in 6 weeks, if there is no legal challenge
Work on the redevelopment of Carlisle Airport could begin in 6 weeks, unless there is another legal challenge to the planning approval granted by Carlisle City Council councillors. Their development control committee has given the scheme – which includes the creation of a huge freight distribution depot – full approval. It was the 4th time that the matter has gone to committee for decision. Work can start, if there is no application by opponents of the scheme for a judicial review of the planning approval. That application would have to be lodged within 6 weeks. The planning law has recently changed, so the council did not need to consider whether the airport would be commercially viable, nor whether Stobart would actually keep the airport open – rather than just use the land for freight storage and transfer. One key opponent, Peter Elliott, has stressed that the runway should be realigned, to take it away from Irthington village, due to safety. Supporters of the scheme hope it will create jobs, but that is uncertain. Stobart shareholders had previously been told that the huge freight distribution centre would reduce rather than create jobs. Stobart hope 40,000 people per year would fly from Carlisle to Southend Airport, plus 20,000 per year to Dublin.
STOBART GROUP’S CARLISLE AIRPORT PLANS SET TO BE GIVEN GO-AHEAD AGAIN
15 August 2014
Stobart Group is poised to again get the go-ahead for its £20m Carlisle Airport overhaul – without the pressure of proving it can make commercial flights a success.
Councillors are being recommended to approve the transport giant’s proposals for a massive freight distribution centre and a revamped runway at the airfield at a special meeting on Monday.
They are also being advised that a legal agreement obliging Stobart to keep the airport open is not necessary.
That advice comes on the back of new case law, which has emerged since a High Court judge quashed a previous planning permission decision, which means the need to take into account the viability of the airport when considering the distribution centre is no longer relevant.
Stobart Group chief executive Andrew Tinkler, however, insists the firm remains committed keeping the airport open, running passenger flights in tandem with its other operations and that its plans are based on a robust business case to make the airfield a success.
He said: “Nothing has changed for us.”
Mr Justice Collins stopped the development in March after Gordon Brown, a farmer who lives opposite the airfield, sought a judicial review. He found a defect in viability forecasts.
When it tabled information for the revived application, Stobart offered a £250,000 subsidy for scheduled flights to London Southend and Dublin through Aer Arran – now Stobart Air, the airline in which Stobart Group has a 45 per cent stake.
But, in a new twist to the long-running saga, success for the scheme may no longer be dependent on whether the Carlisle-founded company can prove the flights will be profitable and keep the airport open.
And a new set of independent consultants commissioned by Carlisle City Council to look at the case afresh believe Stobart’s plans for passenger flights could secure the airport’s future in the short to medium term.
Opposition, however, remains and viability of these operations is heavily disputed by experts employed by Mr Brown, who has described the weight of evidence for refusing the application as “overwhelming”.
A report to councillors states: “Based on the likely estimate of passengers, the council’s aviation consultant considers that there is a realistic prospect of developing a public transport/commercial route, with particular regard to Dublin, for both the operators of the airline and the airport in the short-medium term.”
On the issue of whether legal conditions should be attached to the future of the airport, if the distribution centre is given the go-ahead, the report adds: “In these circumstances it is not considered reasonable for the council to require the applicant to enter an agreement obliging them to keep the airport open.”
Airport Planning and Development, the consultants employed by the council, described projected passenger demand for flights from Carlisle as “realistic”
York Aviation, acting for Mr Brown, however, says Stobart’s projections for passenger numbers are out of date and that any subsidy would have to be greater than the 250,000 promised by the firm.
The consultant concluded: “I remain of the view that air services are unlikely to be operated or, if operated at all, not sustained for more than a year or so.”
Stobart’s first airport scheme was passed by the council in 2008 and the third planning application was approved in February last year.
Call in the application
Please write to Development Control NOW asking them to call in the Carlisle Airport Expansion decision.
Development Control Carlisle City Council : dc@
Cumbria CC Development Control Chair:
Vice Chair: Lawrence.Fisher@
ANTI NUCLEAR GROUP URGE CALL IN OF CARLISLE AIRPORT EXPANSION
Radiation Free Lakeland have today urged Carlisle City Council’s
Development Control Committee to call in their decision to overturn a High
Court ruling to squash plans for the expansion of Carlisle Airport.
The letter sent to Carlisle City Council and to Cumbria County Council says:
Dear Development Control and Regulation Committee.
Radiation Free Lakeland urge you to call in the decision to grant Carlisle
Airport a huge expansion for freight and passengers.
There has been a huge and it has to be said unaccountable push to smooth
the way forward for this commercially unviable expansion which aims to see
650 passenger and 1,560 cargo flights each year by 2025 and an average of
276 heavy-lorry movements each day.
This decision has huge implications not just for the whole of Cumbria but
for our neighbours
We urge Development Control to call in the decision to give Carlisle
Airport an expansion and to refer the decision back to Cabinet and to the
full Council for the following reasons:
1. Carlisle Airport appears to be registered to carry radioactive freight
over a populated area and in the near vicinity of Sellafield.
2. This development would ensure a huge increase in air traffic in the
near vicinity of Sellafield. The potential for terrorist attack or human
error is hugely increased
3. The county should not have been held to ransom by Stobarts threat to
move out of Cumbria should the airport not be given an extension. What
exactly are Stobarts links to the nuclear industry?
Please call in this decision as a matter of urgency.
Comments from local residents on the Stobart proposal: