I have recently become aware that an amendment, allowing houses to be included in a DCO application, has been made to the Planning Act 2008 via a section contained in the Housing and Planning Act 2016. (See below)
Can you please confirm whether it is still possible to include housing as part of the Manston Airport DCO application, using this amendment to the PA2008, as there has not yet been a formal application for this scheme?
If this is possible, can you please advise whether there will be any requirements for how the housing element fits into the overall project phasing, especially with regards as to whether it can be implemented in advance of the NSIP elements of the overall scheme?
A developer can amend a proposed development at any point during the Pre-application stage of the Planning Act 2008 (PA2008) process. The evolution/ refinement of a proposed development is a dynamic process, and the process allows for the design of a proposed development to be responsive through the stages of consultation up to the point of the formal submission of an application. However, where any change(s) would give rise to a materially different proposed development, there are certain statutory provisions which require for the description of a proposed development to be reflected accurately and consistently.
If a developer decided to include in a proposed application any related housing development as defined in s115(4B) of the PA2008, it would be required to reflect that element in its description of the proposed development. The developer would need to demonstrate that it had fulfilled its statutory Pre-application consultation requirements regarding the related housing development.
The Environmental Statement submitted with an application for development consent will report on the likely significant environmental effects arising from a proposed development, and will be informed by the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) undertaken. The scope of a developer's EIA must therefore be sufficient to encompass the breadth of development proposed. In the context of your enquiry, the Planning Inspectorate advises in its Scoping Opinions that they can only reflect the proposals as described by the developer at the point the Scoping Request is made. If the description of a proposed development changes substantially during the EIA process, prior to the submission of an application developers may wish to consider the need to request a new Scoping Opinion.
In respect of phasing, this can only be proposed by a developer within an application for development consent. The sequence for delivery of a proposed development is subject to the examination of an appointed Examining Authority. It is not a matter about which the Planning Inspectorate can provide procedural advice. It is noted that there are no specific provisions regarding the phasing of development either within the PA2008 or in associated guidance.