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City council sees legal costs reach £440k in battles over local airport

Carlisle City Council has spent more than £440,000 on legal costs during a five-year long planning dispute concerning the local airport, it has emerged.

A BBC Freedom of Information request found that £441,000 had been spent on a protracted series of legal cases after the council gave Stobart Aviation permission to build a freight distribution centre at the airport in 2009.

But a local resident took the matter to judicial review, arguing that no environmental impact assessment was made.

After several hearings, the High Court rejected the council's decision to grant permission in March on the grounds that a forecast of use relied upon was unsound.

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Carlisle now has a revised application from Stobart before it.

A council spokesperson said: “The planning process for the development of Carlisle airport has been ongoing for several years and at every stage expert advice was sought, this was to ensure that our members were properly informed prior to making any decisions.

“During each legal challenge, we felt that we had a strong case and were disappointed with the outcomes of the judicial reviews. Legal costs are unavoidable as we needed to appoint counsel to represent us during the legal processes.”   

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