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Thursday, 30 October 2014

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Stobart Group to submit new plan for Carlisle Airport

Stobart Group will submit a fresh planning application to redevelop Carlisle Airport, says the firm’s chief executive Andrew Tinkler.

Andrew Tinkler photo
Andrew Tinkler

“We still think an airport on that site is viable and that’s why we’re pressing ahead with it,” Mr Tinkler told the News & Star.

He spoke out amid uncertainty that has been fuelled by the withdrawal of the most recent application to redevelop the site as both a commercial airport and huge freight distribution centre.

The project hit a legal roadblock last month when a High Court judge quashed Carlisle City Council’s planning permission, ruling that there continued to be doubt over whether the predicted passenger flights from the airport would ever materialise.

It was that prospect – and the perceived benefits – that had persuaded the city council’s planning committee to grant permission.

Mr Tinkler said: “We’re working now on putting new plans into place which we’ll be putting before the Carlisle City Council planning committee.

“There was a mistake in a spreadsheet that was part of the last application which the judge picked up on.

“But at the end of the day I believe in the airport and I believe that it’s viable.

“My view on that has never changed. This is definitely going to go back in front of the planning authority. We’re not giving up on this.”

Earlier this month, the man who applied for an won last month’s judicial review insisted that there is no evidence to show that a passenger airport at Carlisle could ever be commercially viable.

Gordon Brown said he has never been against the airport but he believes Stobart’s application has always primarily been about winning permission to build a huge freight distribution centre on a green field site – the kind of development normally reserved for industrial areas such as Carlisle’s Kingstown.

He has further suggested that once a distribution centre is up and running, and generating large amounts of traffic on local roads, the airport will effectively be allowed to “wither on the vine”.

Many locals – including local councillors – continue to support the airport idea, saying it would boost the wider economy of Cumbria.

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