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Friday, 25 April 2014

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Stobart boss wants Carlisle Airport opponents to explain objections to staff

Stobart boss Andrew Tinkler has asked two prominent opponents of his plans for Carlisle Airport to explain their objections directly to Stobart staff.

Andrew Tinkler photo
Andrew Tinkler

The £25m scheme for a 394,000sq ft freight-distribution centre, and resurfacing of the runway, is due to go before city councillors for planning consent a week on Friday.

Mr Tinkler says that 650 Stobart jobs will be lost to Cumbria if it is turned down.

He has invited Irthington residents Gordon Brown and Dale Ransley to meet those employees face to face.

Mr Brown, of Lane End Farm, applied for a judicial review that led to a previous planning consent being quashed, landing Carlisle City Council with a big legal bill.

Mr Ransley then complained to the district auditor that the council had “misused public funds”.

In an e-mail to staff, Mr Tinkler says: “I have written to the main objectors and invited them to outline their objections.

“If they accept, I hope this will help you, as well as myself, to better understand their reasons.”

Neither man will be taking up the offer.

Mr Ransley said: “Six years ago, residents of Irthington invited him to a public meeting, which he declined to attend.

“So I reciprocated and said; ‘sorry, no’.”

Mr Brown said: “I thanked him for his letter and pointed out that I had written at length on my objections and that everything could be found on the council’s website.”

Carlisle City Council has received 391 letters and e-mails in support of Stobart’s planning application, and 88 objections.

Objectors see the proposal as a Trojan horse, dangling the carrot of scheduled passenger flights as a way of getting permission for a distribution centre in open countryside.

Stobart rejects claims that scheduled flights would not be commercially viable.

Airline Aer Arann, trading as Aer Lingus Regional, has told the council that it would operate flights to London Southend and to Dublin from Carlisle.

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