| Press Release - 16 April 2019
AIRPORT EXPANSION: CRUNCH COUNCIL MEETING ON 25 APRIL
Uttlesford District Council (UDC) has been forced to arrange an Extraordinary Council Meeting (ECM) for Thursday 25th April to consider whether the final decision on the Stansted Airport Planning Application should be delayed until after the local elections on 2 May. The meeting has been forced on the Council by a requisition in the form of a petition signed by councillors from all three political parties. [Note 1]
The position is that the final Decision Notice for the Stansted Airport Planning Application cannot be issued until a Section 106 Agreement, setting out the local benefits to be provided by Stansted Airport in return for its planning permission, has been signed and sealed. The Council has now agreed that it will not issue a Decision Notice prior to the ECM on 25 April.
The current administration claims that it is purely a matter for officers to finalise the Section 106 Agreement and it wants the Planning Approval to be finalised before the local elections on 2 May. However, the councillors who have signed the requisition believe that the final decision should not be taken until after the local elections, in order to allow the new administration an opportunity to review the Section 106 Agreement.
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) as well as many local councillors and others have been highly critical of the proposed Section 106 Agreement, which would result in Uttlesford residents and council taxpayers being massively short-changed compared to the equivalent agreements at other major UK airports.
The current political make-up of UDC is 24 Conservative councillors, 10 R4U councillors and 4 Liberal Democrats. If councillors vote along party lines the motion for a postponement will be defeated. However, this is a planning issue and should not be party political. In addition, the petition has been signed by councillors from all three political parties. SSE hopes that councillors will decide the issue on its merits rather than voting along party lines.
SSE Chairman Peter Sanders commented: "A good public turnout at council meetings always has the effect of improving the quality of the debate and it serves to remind councillors that they have a duty to their local electors, as well as to their party. This is an extremely important meeting and, coming just one week before the local elections, it will give councillors an opportunity to show where their loyalties lie."
Peter Sanders concluded: "It's hard to believe that our own local council wants to rush through a thoroughly shabby and defective Section 106 Agreement so that it can then rubber stamp the Stansted Airport Planning Application prior to the local elections on 2 May. SSE is keen to explore every avenue to avoid the need to take legal proceedings against UDC. The meeting on 25 April provides a glimmer of hope that it may yet be possible to avoid such legal proceedings."
The meeting on Thursday 25 April will be held in the Council Chamber, London Road, Saffron Walden, starting at 7.30pm. With just one issue on the agenda, it should not be a lengthy meeting.
1. The ECM has been called as a result of a formal requisition by councillors under Rule 3 of UDC's Rules of Procedure.
FURTHER INFORMATION AND COMMENT
Peter Sanders, SSE Chairman, T 01799 520411; email@example.com
Brian Ross, SSE deputy chairman: T 01279 814540 or (M) 07850 937143; firstname.lastname@example.org
SSE Campaign Office, T 01279 870558; email@example.com