Doncaster Sheffield Airport: Council's legal challenge over airport closure rejected

Doncaster Sheffield Airport
Owner Peel Group announced the closure of the airport in September saying the business had no future. Credit: Nick Fletcher

Doncaster Council has vowed to "fight on" after receiving another setback in its bid to save Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

The council had asked the Administrative Court to conduct a judicial review into the length of time the airport's owner Peel Group offered as a consultation period before making the decision to close it.

In a statement, Doncaster Council confirmed they'd received the judgement of the court today, ruling against the challenge.

The city's mayor Ros Jones said: "Although the judge’s decision has not fallen on our side, we do not regret taking this to court.

"We have to use every legal tool at our disposal and this was one of them. The other is a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) that the council supported and we will now progress."

A Doncaster Council spokesperson said that Peel Group are still in negotiations with a potential investor, but that the council would be "pressing the button" on a CPO now the application for a judicial review has failed.

What is a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO)?

A CPO is a legal tool which certain public bodies (like Doncaster Council) can use to obtain land without the owner's consent. They can be used to buy land for developments which are 'in the public interest'.

In order to get a CPO, the 'acquiring authority' must go through an extensive legal procedure where all parties affected are given the opportunity to make their case for or against the CPO. The 'confirming authority' (ie. the relevant government minister or a delegated inspector) then makes a decision on whether to approve the CPO or not.

A CPO is considered an extreme method of purchase and is intended to be used as a last resort to obtain the land. The acquiring authority is expected to attempt to reach an agreement with the owner first.

Mayor Jones says she is "convinced" that the airport can be made successful and she remains "committed to the fight for Doncaster Sheffield Airport".

The closure of the airport has put more than 800 jobs directly at risk, with a further 2,700 thought to be affected in the supply chain.

Rival operator Manchester Airports Group (MAG) has previously said those facing redundancy would be "guaranteed" an interview for any vacancies at the three airports it owns - Manchester, East Midlands and London Stansted.

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