Stansted expansion plan hits a delay
Stansted Airport’s bid to increase passenger numbers to 43 million a year has been delayed (at the very least).
Back in November last year, Uttlesford District Council’s planning committee had backed the expansion (a 66 per cent hike on last year’s figure), courtesy of the chairman’s casting vote.
This was expected to be confirmed by the full council at its Saffron Walden HQ last week (Friday, April 26).
However, after an extraordinary meeting the previous evening that saw the defeat of a motion calling for the planning committee to review the draft Section 106 agreement relating to the expansion, a group of councillors managed to force a second extraordinary meeting.
This will examine whether the draft Section 106 agreement is legally acceptable. It won’t be held until after tomorrow’s (Thursday, May 2) local elections, meaning there could a very different attitude to the airport’s ambitions should there be a change of administration from the ruling Tory group.
Peter Sanders, chairman of Stop Stansted Expansion, said: “It is beyond comprehension why our own local council wanted to rush through approval of this planning application by accepting a totally inadequate package of local safeguards and community benefits.
“The draft Section 106 agreement which contained the proposed safeguards and benefits did not even meet the minimum requirements set down by the council’s own planning committee.
“Ahead of the meeting, SSE had provided all UDC councillors with detailed briefing notes explaining the legal deficiencies in the proposed Section 106 agreement and demonstrating that many of the proposals put forward by Stansted Airport, which the current UDC administration were prepared to accept, were grossly inferior to comparable arrangements at other major UK airports.
“Thankfully, there will now be an opportunity to look at this afresh in a less frenzied atmosphere after the local elections have run their course, whatever that course may be.”
Meanwhile, SSE is pressing ahead with its High Court case in a bid to force Transport Secretary Chris Grayling or Communities Secretary James Brokenshire (or both) to take direct charge of the Stansted planning application.
Dates for the Judicial Review case are expected to be announced on Thursday, May 23.
Wednesday, May 1, 2019