I would like to express my concern regarding the lack of information provided to Ramsgate residents regarding the consultations. It was only by chance that my husband and I became aware of the consultation event at The Comfort Inn. Surely this cannot be following guidelines?
At the event itself, although there were several River Oak staff present, responses to questions were poor and the attitude of one member of staff that I spoke to could only be described as aggressive and very over-bearing. At a consultation event surely residents are expected to ask questions and query information provided – sadly, rather than getting clear answers, my questions were often deflected by further statements or I was simply referred to various documents.
I also wonder about the lack of information in the consultation about Public Safety Zones (PSZ)? As you will be aware, a PSZ covers the 1 in 100,000 risk area; I believe it is estimated that there are 4,500 homes in Ramsgate that are within this risk area and three schools. As the Secretary of State wishes to see the emptying of all occupied residential properties, and of all commercial and industrial properties occupied as normal all-day workplaces, within the 1 in 10,000 individual risk contour, this has significant implications including for the occupants of the residential streets - Kirkstone, Whinfell, Drybeck, Kentmere and part of Windemere Avenue; these residents could be required to vacate their homes. Given the requirements relating to PSZs, it is particularly alarming that Ramsgate residents were not alerted by mail regarding the consultation and that more information is not available to the general public regarding the implications of the re-opening of the airport at Manston. If people are not fully informed how can they take part appropriately in the consultation process? How and what arrangements can be put in place to ensure the community is in receipt of all the information required?
I shall also be raising my concerns with the Council so that these can be considered in the Council’s preparation of its Adequacy of Consultation Representation.
The redevelopment of an airport at Manston will not only have a detrimental impact for local residents but it is also contrary to the economic regeneration of a tourist area with significant architectural, historic and cultural significance. Alarmingly, there also seems to be little evidence that there is a proper business case establishing the need or the financial viability of such a scheme.
You have pre-empted my advice as you intend to send your written comments to the local authority. If you have not done so already, you should also send them directly to the Applicant.
The Planning Act 2008 places a number of duties on Applicants in respect of Pre-application consultation.
All applications for development consent must be accompanied by a ‘Consultation Report’. The Consultation Report is prepared under section 37 of the Planning Act 2008 and must give details of:
a) what has been done in compliance with sections 42, 47 and 48 of the Planning Act 2008 in relation to a proposed application that has become the application;
b) any relevant responses; and
c) the account taken of any relevant responses.
In the Acceptance period (ie the 28 days following the formal submission of an application) the Planning Inspectorate will scrutinise all of the application documents, including the evidence provided in the Consultation Report, applying the statutory tests set out in s55 of the Planning Act 2008. By the end of the Acceptance period the Planning Inspectorate (on behalf of the Secretary of State) must decide, in accordance with the tests in s55 of the Planning Act 2008, whether or not an application is of a satisfactory standard to be examined. In reaching this decision, s55(4) makes explicit that the Planning Inspectorate must have regard to the Consultation Report and any Adequacy of Consultation Representations made by local authority consultees.