Stansted expansion approved but fight is not over yet
Plans to expand the number of passengers using Stansted Airport have been approved.
However, the decision by Uttlesford District Council’s planning committee to back the planning application was a tight call and depended on the chairman’s casting vote.
The Essex airport had applied to grow passenger numbers to 43 million a year (a 66 per cent increase on last year’s figure), meaning the number of flights could soar by 44 per cent.
The day-long meeting of the committee, on Wednesday, November 14, saw five councillors vote for the airport application and five against. With an equally split verdict, the chairman had an additional (casting) vote.
Before proceedings began, Nigel Brown, UDC lead planning officer, announced that James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, had ordered the authority not to issue a decision notice until he had considered whether the application should be called in.
Campaign group Stop Stansted Expansion says it will submit further representations to Mr Brokenshire again asking him to call in the application.
These will include additional reasons, “including evidence relating to the nature and conduct” of the UDC planning meeting, while it will also be discussing possible its next legal move.
This might not be necessary depending on the High Court challenge SSE is already pursuing in relation to the airport application, which, if successful, would see UDC’s latest decision overturned.
SSE deputy chairman Brian Ross said: “Of course we are disappointed to lose the argument in such a shameful fashion, with the outcome ultimately resting on the chairman’s casting vote.
“It was especially galling when most of the councillors who voted in favour of approval made very little attempt to engage in the proceedings and showed little evidence of having done their homework. This was not Uttlesford District Council’s finest hour.
“Fortunately, this is not the end of the road, so we would advise Stansted Airport not to start popping the champagne corks just yet.”
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