District council could offer Stansted Airport £1.4m

A sign on chrome metal: Stansted Airport

Stansted Airport. Picture: Will Durrant - Credit: Archant

Stansted Airport might be offered £1.4m for their costs over a planning appeal.

The issue is on Uttlesford District Council's agenda on Wednesday (June 15).

Councillors will be asked whether they agree the sum to be offered is for £1,362,500 for costs and £37,500 in interest.

The report recommends the council makes a payment on account of £1m, the sum the costs lawyer the council has engaged says would be the minimum sum that any court would be likely to allow. 

In a statement issued on Monday, the council said: “Uttlesford District Council members are to discuss this Wednesday (June 15) a recommendation to offer Stansted Airport Limited a payment of £1.4 million in settlement of their costs incurred in defending their planning appeal.

"The council was ordered to pay the airport’s costs on conclusion of that appeal, and this proposed offer is aiming to resolve that matter.”

The agenda paperwork states that councillors are also being asked to agree that if Stansted Airport Ltd (STAL) reject the offer, they authorise the Chief Executive Peter Holt to propose that the matter goes to mediation.

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The paperwork states that if mediation goes ahead, the Chief Executive can instruct external expert advice - though the issue would come back to the full council for a fresh approval over a different settlement sum.

The final settlement sum will be paid from Reserves.

Stansted Airport's planning application and appeal

Stansted Airport Ltd had applied for permission for works and to substantially extend passenger numbers, in February 2018.

Uttlesford District Council's planning committee refused the application in January 2020. STAL appealed the decision in July 2020.

The Planning Inspectorate heard the appeal over 30 days between January 12, 2021 and March 12, 2021.

The inspectors found in favour of the airport and awarded full costs for the case against the council.

The council challenged the Inspectors’ decision in the High Court, but this was dismissed on October 1, 2021.

On October 5, 2021 the council accepted the High Court's decision and said they would not seek further leave to challenge the outcome.

STAL’s legal costs of that High Court challenge were assessed and paid. STAL’s costs of the original planning appeal remain outstanding and it is these costs that are under discussion.

Great Dunmow housing

At the same extraordinary meeting, councillors are being asked to endorse Cabinet's decision to purchase 19 flats from Barratt Homes in Great Dunmow to add to council stock, and authorise the required borrowing.

The costs have been kept out of the paperwork released. The seller requires an exchange of contracts by the end of June.

There are 18 one-bed flats and one two-bed flat.

Cabinet members approved the decision on June 9. Paperwork notes that Uttlesford District Council wants to add 180 new homes to the council's housing stock. 

The meeting agenda and report is available online: https://uttlesford.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=159&MId=6010