Crunch planning meeting on Stansted expansion postponed

The main terminal building at Stansted Airport

The main terminal building at Stansted Airport Picture: STEVE BATES PHOTOGRAPHY LTD - Credit: Archant

A crunch council meeting to decide the fate of a controversial planning application for Stansted Airport has been put back to allow more time for campaigners to raise their objections.

Aircraft at Stansted Airport Picture: STANSTED AIRPORT

Aircraft at Stansted Airport Picture: STANSTED AIRPORT - Credit: Archant

Uttlesford District Council’s planning committee was due to determine proposals to raise a cap on the number of passengers the airport can take from 35m a year to 43m a year at a special meeting on October 17.

But the council now says it has put in place enhanced consultation arrangements and pushed back the date following a request from campaigning group Stop Stansted Expansion to be allowed time to address committee members.

As a result, officers expect they will need extra time to address any technical issues which may arise, as well as offering the airport the opportunity to address the points.

The council said a further announcement on a new date would be made in due course, but public speaking sessions would still take place on October 9 and 10, when members of the public will be allowed to express their views to the committee.

Previously, Highways England issued a Holding Directive which could have delayed the process, but it withdrew that on October 2.

Uttlesford had come under fire from Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE), which claimed it was trying to “rush through” the application. It wants to see the plans determined at national rather than local level and has been pressing its case through the courts.

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SSE chairman Peter Sanders was critical of the council’s handling of the application.

“To anyone who has followed Uttlesford District Council’s handling of this airport planning application from the outset, it will come as no surprise that officers would be recommending approval. It is, however, astonishing that they were preparing to do so even when important issues were – and still are – unresolved,” he said. “It must surely now be clear to everyone that Uttlesford District Council is over-stretched and under-resourced to deal with a planning application of this scale and complexity. It should be taken out of UDC’s hands and dealt with by the Secretary of State.”

To register to speak, email or call the council on 01799 510468 by 12pm on October 8.