Belfast International Airport Managing Director, Graham Keddie, is calling for illegal car parks operating near the airport to be served with 'Stop Notices'.
When 'planning and enforcement' was a matter for the Environment Minister’s office, there was a 'chronic and persistent inability' to deal with this issue which cost the airport millions of pounds in lost revenue and a significant number of jobs. It also meant the local council was denied considerable revenue in rates income.
Planning and Enforcement is an issue for the new Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council since the transfer of planning powers to the new Councils and the airport welcomes the council’s eagerness to address matters of non-compliance, some of which have been ongoing since 2006.
A total of 5 car parks are still operating outside the law, despite Planning Appeal Commission rulings and so far, none has been issued with a 'Stop Notice'.
Mr Keddie said: "There is a lot of foot-dragging going on that frankly I'm at a loss to understand.
"We pay our rates and taxes, but others get away with operating without planning permission or paying appropriate rates as well as transferring passengers to the airport in unlicensed vehicles. This behaviour places our legal and fully compliant operation at a total disadvantage.
"It is something that would not be tolerated anywhere else. Over the years, there has been a chronic and persistent inability to apply the full rigour of the law. The time has come when 'Stop Notices' should be served on illegal operators and tough enforcement steps taken.
"We are not afraid of competition, but it has to be on a level playing pitch. If we over-stepped the mark or flouted the law, the authorities would be quick to impose sanctions. I have to ask why in the past, they have been afraid to act in the case of operators who hold the law up to such ridicule.
"My hope must be that the new Antrim and Newtownabbey Council shows it no longer tolerates this dreadful abuse of the rules by taking immediate steps to stop these operators now. I have already written to the Council asking officials to set out the steps they are taking to fix this long-running problem."
AUDIOBOOM Link: Graham Keddie MD BIA on Illegal Car Parks - http://bit.ly/1LWGQBn