Protesters to fight airport on its land

PUBLISHED: 14:16 01 March 2007 | UPDATED: 21:35 29 May 2010

DETAILS of the public inquiry into the expansion of Stansted Airport have been announced. The inquiry, which is expected to last for six weeks, will be held at Endeavour House at the airport on Wednesday, May 30 and the venue has been hired at BAA s expen

DETAILS of the public inquiry into the expansion of Stansted Airport have been announced.

The inquiry, which is expected to last for six weeks, will be held at Endeavour House at the airport on Wednesday, May 30 and the venue has been hired at BAA's expense.

Concerns have been voiced by parties about the inquiry being held on BAA land.

Jenny Olivia, chairman of Broxted Parish Council said: "It worries me this important inquiry is being held in a building that is owned by BAA.

"It raises serious questions, especially when most inquiries are held on neutral ground."

Trevor Allen, chairman of Takeley Parish Council, said: "We have had thoughts on this and I hope there will be a fair approach from all parties. I think it shows that we aren't afraid to face BAA on its own turf. I am sure that the inquiry will be a success for us."

But Peter Sanders, chairman of Stop Stansted Expansion, said it sends entirely the wrong signal to the community about neutrality.

"Allowing BAA to host the Inquiry would give rise to perceptions that independence and impartiality of the proceedings could be undermined and that BAA would have an unfair advantage," he said.

But Mark Gayler, leader of Uttlesford District Council, denied the venue would influence the outcome of the inquiry.

He said: "What is crucial is we mount the best case to defend the decision the council made.

"Its better to spend the resources we have on putting that case, rather than spending a six figure sum on paying for a different venue.

"It's not unreasonable that BAA should meet the venue costs for the inquiry, given that they paid only £135 for last year's planning application to vary conditions."

UDC will also be asking the inspector to hold some inquiry sessions in venues in communities when he considers the effects of quality of life issues.

A UDC spokesman said: "Alternative venues off the airport site were looked at, but the accommodation requirements of the planning inspectorate, including the need for a hall capable of seating hundreds of people combined with the availability of several smaller support rooms and good accessibility by public transport, meant the options were limited.

For more information on the appeal, visit www.uttlesford.gov.uk or www.stanstedexplained.info

People who want to give evidence in person at the inquiry should write to the Planning Inspectorate at Room 4/04 Kite, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Temple Quay, Bristol BS1 6PN as soon as possible quoting the reference code APP/C1570/A/06/2032278/NWF.

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