Stobart agrees compromise with Carlisle over airport growth

Stobart chief Andrew Tinkler appears to have reached an agreement with Carlisle City Council over a £35m expansion plan for Carlisle Airport.

On Friday, the council gave final approval to the application by Tinkler's Stobart Air for a new 620,000 sq ft logistics centre, replacement runway, a new passenger terminal, offices and air traffic control centre.

A list of 63 planning conditions originally imposed by the planning authority was reduced to 54, many rewritten.

Tinkler had threatened to relocate the Stobart group, headquartered in Carlisle, out of the region if the conditions were not softened. Stobart now plans to move from Kingstown, Carlisle, to new offices at the airport.

Chief among Tinkler's complaints were limits on the number of flights by different types of aircraft and the requirement to finish the runway before new offices could be occupied.

The agreement was welcomed by regeneration bosses in the area. Simon Sjenitzer, strategy director at economic development agency, Cumbria Vision, said: "This is a huge leap forward in the regeneration effort in the Carlisle area for the county as a whole.

"Economists across the world accept there are two ingredients needed for any successful economy – a university and an airport. We celebrated the opening of the University of Cumbria last year and now we can look forward to Carlisle Airport taking flight in the next few years."

The airport is currently under an option to be acquired by the Stobart Group along with its 460 acre estate for £15m in cash and shares.

The deal is subject to planning consent and a business feasibility study being completed satisfactorily by the end of June.

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