I have several specific concerns about the hopelessly inadequate consultation process conducted by the RSP company in relation to their attempt to submit a DCO for the site of the former airport at Manston in East Kent. I have noted that the Planning Inspectorate has directed others with serious concerns to address those concerns to the local Council. This seems somewhat bizarre as the purpose of the DCO is to bypass the local Council. They have not been involved in the process at all and the pro-airport campaign groups have been keen to tell everyone that the Council has no role.
I have tried to contact the Leader of the Council to ask him whether the Council will be collating and reporting complaints about the consultation process but he has not responded to me. Can the Planning Inspectorate confirm that the Council is under a statutory duty to collate people's complaints and to report them back to the Planning Inspectorate?
The purpose of the Planning Act 2008 (PA2008) process is not to ‘bypass local authorities’. Local authorities have a special role which is summarised in a video at the bottom of the following page on our website: attachment 1
Our ‘Advice note two: The role of local authorities in the development consent process’ provides more detail in this regard: attachment 2
The Planning Inspectorate has advised you previously about how it will test whether an Applicant has satisfied its Pre-application duties. That advice introduced the role of Adequacy of Consultation Representations from local authorities: attachment 3
There is no statutory duty under the PA2008 for relevant local authorities to ‘collate and report complaints’ to the Planning Inspectorate; but where an Adequacy of Consultation Representation is received the Planning Inspectorate must have regard to it (or them) in making its decision about whether an application is of a satisfactory standard to proceed to be examined.