River Oak Strategic Partnership recently held a consultation in Ramsgate regarding the re-opening of Manston as an airport. The online consultation finishes on 23rd July.
I wish to register a complaint about both the offline and online consultation. The process is flawed.
1. Failure to Notify Affected Residents of the Consultation in Ramsgate - When the airport was operational, planes used to line up at 300 metres over the clock tower in the harbour and descend across the town to runway 28. Those of us living under this flight path should have received written notification from River Oak Strategic Partnership that a consultation was taking place in Ramsgate. We received no notification whatsoever from River Oak of this consultation or the online version. I understand though cannot confirm, that River Oak were advised by Thanet District Council that they needed to notify us of the consultation.
2. Failure to Supply Relevant Information for the Online Consultation - The Master Plan from River Oak does not include any information about Public Safety Zones despite the predicted levels of air traffic showing that they would be necessary. Infratil, the previous owners of the airport, acknowledged that they should have been done in 2006. A PSZ covers the 1 in 100,000 risk area. It is estimated that there are 4,500 homes in Ramsgate that are within this risk contour and three schools - Clarendon Grammar, Christ Church Primary School and Ellington Infant School. They would all suffer planning blight as there is 'a general presumption against new or replacement development or changes of use of existing buildings within a Public Safety Zone' (DfT Circular 1/2010). Some properties will fall within the 1 in 10,000 contour. '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' (DfT Circular 1/2010) This contour would include the residential streets - Kirkstone, Whinfell, Drybeck, Kentmere and part of Windemere Avenue. These residents would need to be moved out of their homes.
There is no mechanism through which the Planning Inspectorate can influence an Applicant’s consultation at the Pre-application stage of the Planning Act 2008 (PA2008) process.
Please provide your comments to the Applicant and to your local authority. Local authorities have a special role in the PA2008 process, which I explain in the content of this advice.
The PA2008 places a number of duties on Applicants in respect of Pre-application consultation and all applications for development consent must be accompanied by a ‘Consultation Report’. The Consultation Report is prepared under section 37 of the PA2008 and must give details of:
a) what has been done in compliance with sections 42, 47 and 48 of the PA2008 in relation to an 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 PA2008. 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 PA2008, whether or not an application is of a satisfactory standard to be examined.
In reaching the above 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. Adequacy of Consultation Representations are defined by s55(5) of the PA2008 as representations about whether the applicant complied with its duties under sections 42, 47 and 48. They are requested from all relevant local authorities on receipt of an application for development consent.
To that end, in providing your comments to your local authority they may be considered in the Council’s preparation of its Adequacy of Consultation Representation; if an application is submitted to the Planning Inspectorate.