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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Back plans for Carlisle Airport, MP urges city council

An MP’s call for support for Carlisle Airport has been made in the face of threats to scupper the latest plan.

John Stevenson photo
John Stevenson

John Stevenson has called on the council to approve the city’s airport proposals when it meets to discuss them tomorrow.

The Conservative Carlisle MP said the council should “stand firm” and approve the airport proposed by Stobart Group, describing the haulage company as an important business for Carlisle.

He said they could not be expected to remain in the city ‘indefinitely’ without a firm decision on the future of the airfield, at Irthington.

Mr Stevenson’s comments come after new doubts emerged as to whether the £25m revamp of the airport will get the go-ahead, despite planning officers recommending acceptance.

Irthington farmer Gordon Brown, who overturned a previous planning consent after seeking a judicial review, revealed he was mounting a new challenge.

His solicitor, Dickinson Dees, wrote to the council on Friday saying that gross-value-added figures in the planning officers’ report were “fundamentally flawed”.

The letter said they “must be reassessed and the application reappraised.”

It could be seen as a strong hint that Mr Brown will seek another judicial review if councillors approve the planning application.

A council spokesperson said Friday’s meeting was scheduled to go ahead as planned.

Mr Stevenson said he was “fully supportive” of the application.

“It will ensure several million pounds investment into our city as well as retaining jobs and creating new opportunities for business growth, investment and employment,” he said.

“I would urge Carlisle City Council to stand firm and make the decision to approve the Carlisle Airport application.”

Planning officers say that Stobart’s development, which would not normally be allowed in the countryside, is the only way to keep the loss-making airport open.

They doubt if the proposed passenger flights to London Southend and Dublin will survive in the long run.

The planning and development control committee is due to debate the proposals at 10am tomorrow.

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