Alan Dean

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Stansted North and Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group Learn more

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LIB DEMS CONDEMN PENALTIES AS “NO MORE THAN A TOOTHLESS TALKING SHOP”. LIKEN GRUNTING TORIES TO “PACK OF ROARING DINOSAURS”

by Alan Dean on 27 April, 2019

PRESS STATEMENT ON AIRPORT LEGAL AGREEMENT – FIRST EXTRAORDINARY MEETING FAILS, SECOND MEETING TO BE CALLED TO STRENGTHEN THE DEAL

Liberal Democrat councillors continue to work with some Conservative and all Residents councillors to strengthen the Planning Legal Agreement (S.106), in order to ensure Stansted Airport Limited’s legal obligations are a fair deal for the local community.

The final planning decision notice, that would have been issued by the council on Friday (April 26th), was paused again on Thursday evening at a special meeting of Uttlesford District Council. The chamber was crammed to standing room only by angry members of the public.

Liberal Democrat group leader, Cllr Alan Dean, said: “This has been an extraordinary few days. The wellbeing of the people of Uttlesford and districts beyond are still in the balance.

“Stansted Airport must sign up to a set of strict legal obligations before they can be issued with their planning permission to boost passenger and flight numbers. In the opinion of a substantial minority of Uttlesford councillors, the draft deal, that was drawn up by council officials, favours the airport too much and the surrounding community too little.

“I was disappointed that 18 Conservative councillors blocked a move on Thursday to have the draft deal openly reviewed. These Tories let down the local community with muddled arguments and their craven fear that the airport’s management will threaten local taxpayers with the costs of an appeal. We must not be bullied into rushing through a shoddy deal!”

By 18 Tory votes to 14 cross-party votes, the meeting rejected a cross-party motion requiring the planning committee to review the draft agreement transparently in public to ensure it is in line with the planning decision last November.

Stansted’s district councillor Alan Dean added: “I have scrutinised the draft document myself. There can be no doubt that it does not match up to the promises made last November. There are targets that don’t exist. There are targets that are worse than recent performance. There are so-called penalties that amount to no more than convening a toothless talking shop.”

Thaxted & The Eastons’ councillor Martin Foley said about the meeting: “I was disgusted at the behaviour of some Conservative councillors, grunting their disapproval – like the last roar of a pack of dinosaurs – when members of the public and representatives of SSE spoke.”

At the end of Thursday’s meeting, Alan Dean signed a cross-party requisition to convene a second extraordinary meeting; this time to examine the legal justification for officers’ claims that the draft agreement lines up with the planning decision. This surprise move shocked the meeting and blocked the airport’s application being finalised the following day, April 26th.

The follow-up meeting will not take place until after the local elections on May 2nd.

The press release PDF can be downloaded here.

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