I have received the folllowing request to sign a petition/letter to you:
This seems to have been sent to me in error, as I do not believe that the application is capable of meeting the tests for acceptance which have been laid down by Parliament.
I am concerned at the suggestion that the Secretary of State may defer until the Examination stage any of the matters on which he is required to reach a conclusion prior to acceptance of the application. Those include, of course, not just the standard of the application (and accompaniments) but also if the scheme is, or forms part of, a nationally significant infrastructure project, requiring development consent.
If the Secretary of State has not reached a conclusion on these matters how can he lawfully accept the application for examination?
Could you kindly clarify if PINS has included items into the Acceptance stage that properly belong in the Examination stage, and if so which?
Does the wish of the applicant's supporters to give their views have any bearing on any decision that is required at this stage, please?
The Planning Inspectorate (on behalf of the Secretary of State) cannot ‘defer’ any of the tests in s55 of the Planning Act 2008 until the Examination stage. What constitutes the Acceptance tests is a matter of fact, and it is those tests alone that were applied to the RSP’s 10 April 2018 submission.
Regarding correspondence from supporters of RSP’s proposals; the same principle applies to any comments made to the Inspectorate before an Acceptance decision is taken:
If you have sent comments about RSP’s Pre-application consultation, these can be considered in addition to the statutorily required Acceptance tests when making the decision about whether or not to accept the application. It will be for the decision maker (the Planning Inspectorate on behalf of the Secretary of State) to decide the weight to give to the views expressed based on the individual facts of the case.
If you have sent comments about the merits of the Proposed Development (eg setting out support for or objection to the principle of the Proposed Development) these cannot be considered at the Acceptance stage. If the application is accepted for examination, in order to make comments about the merits of the Proposed Development to an appointed Examining Authority, you will need to register as an Interested Party by making a Relevant Representation at the appropriate time. For more information about how and when you can have your say, please see our Advice Note 8.2: How to register to participate in an Examination: attachment 1