Illegal park and ride operation for Stansted Airport shut down

AN ILLEGAL park and ride operation for Stansted Airport has been shut down by officers from Uttlesford District Council (UDC) this week. Based on a farm just outside Takeley, NHAT Ltd had been employing nearly 20 staff to ferry holidaymakers and businessm

AN ILLEGAL park and ride operation for Stansted Airport has been shut down by officers from Uttlesford District Council (UDC) this week.

Based on a farm just outside Takeley, NHAT Ltd had been employing nearly 20 staff to ferry holidaymakers and businessmen to and from their cars to the airport terminal under the name Orange Park and Ride.

However, the business was contravening local planning laws set down by the council in the local development plan, which governs building and business consent.

At Cambridge County Court last Thursday, UDC was awarded an injunction against the company that had been using the land at Waltham Hall Farm for the storage of cars, despite not having planning permission to do so.

UDC's acting director of development, Roger Harborough, provided the main witness statement for the injunction.

He said: "The use of rural land for airport parking has a significant impact on the countryside and undermines the carefully thought out access strategy for Stansted Airport.

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"The airport already has substantial and sufficient medium and long-term parking arrangements within its boundaries, so there really is no need for parking to spill out into the surrounding countryside."

He added: "Uttlesford District Council takes a very tough stance on this issue and, as this injunction demonstrates, will ensure that any instances of illegal use of land for airport parking are dealt with swiftly and definitively."

In total, 18 full and part-time staff were involved in the operation. They could now lose their jobs.

Solicitors representing NHAT in court refuted that the business was in breach of UDC's policies, stating that it provided a much-needed alternative to BAA's onsite parking options and denying it had a detrimental impact on the local area.

However, the company lost the case and has also been ordered to pay �4000 in costs. But it may continue to operate a taxi service and look for sites elsewhere outside of the district.

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