oakworth wrote:You just answered your own question. Of course they are answerable, they need planning permission.
You get planning permission by putting forward a proposition that meets a set of objective and defined criteria laid out in the National Planning Policy Framework and the local plan published by the relevant council. Neither of these contain anything about businesses not being allowed to make U-turns or closing airports when they said they wouldn't.
These people have relatively deep pockets and play a long game. They may even open it for a period of time. But if they do so then it'll be with an unspoken plan to declare it non-viable and close it again after making a show of trying. This will come after they have carefully studied the council's criteria (and precedent) for granting change of use on the basis of a business not being viable.
I know quite a lot about this stuff. Along with a couple of other folks I picked through the minutae of planning policy and made our council reverse its approval of a change of use application (to residential) for our village pub. The then-owners bought it for a knock-down price and made a realistic show of losing lots of money despite trying really hard before making their application to suddenly own the cheapest 5-bedroom house in Warwickshire (£250k pub, £1m house) which they would of course immediately sell.
So it can be thwarted. But the central argument about benefit to the community is much easier to make for a village pub than a massive disused airfield.
Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.