Date set for decision on Stansted Airport’s terminal extension

Members of Manchester Airports Group (MAG,) which operates Stansted, Uttlesford District Council’s planning team and development consultancy Pegasus Group attended a hearing on October 17 led by a planning inspector acting on behalf of the secretary of state to make necessary representations.

Designated planning inspector Cullum Parker conceded that a final decision would be reached no later than November 6.

If approved, the proposal seeks to part-demolish the airport’s Track Transit System (TTS) and two skylink walkways, replacing these with three new skylink bridges, a three-bay extension to the passenger lounge and a dedicated baggage handling building.

However, there was a call for greater clarity in what this will mean for the airport in terms of passenger numbers and processing capacity, since an application for a new arrivals building which was approved in 2017 was then shelved during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

Local group Stansted Airport Watch asked that MAG formally acknowledges the passenger processing increase up to a maximum of 43 million passengers per annum (mppa) would be in lieu of the 2017 application being realised.

Historic England, assessing the current proposal’s effect on heritage assets, has contested that the plans put before the Planning Inspectorate could have a negative impact on what it has described as an “iconic piece of architecture”.

An argument put forward suggested that additional skylink walkways and bay extensions would not necessarily be adequate in accommodating the maximum 43mppa, as the current terminal was only designed to support 15 mppa when it was first opened in 1991.


In a written representation, Historic England inspector Rosa Teira Paz said: “The need for the upgrade of the infrastructure is not disputed.

“However, we remain concerned about the impact the proposed interventions would have on the architectural significance of this iconic landmark of airport planning design.

“It is also unclear whether the proposed interventions would be enough to appropriately manage the substantial increase in passenger numbers granted.”

If planning permission is granted, Stansted Airport will increase the footprint of its passenger terminal by around 16,500 square metres, the equivalent of roughly three football pitches.

An increased retail and hospitality provision is also expected to generate over 5,000 new jobs, increasing the airport’s economic contribution to a projected £2 billion per year.