We note that PINS’ website has now been updated to confirm that RSP’s application has been submitted and that the Applicant has not agreed to the application documents being made public. We are extremely disappointed by this lack of transparency, when we have had no definitive response from RSP to the points that we have put to them regarding:
1. the current capability of Manston;
2. that the proposal does not qualify as a NSIP; and
3. why the EIA does not assess the proposed development (RSP, as far as we have been made aware, has not assessed the effect of constructing 19 new stands and the number of ATMs that could produce).
Whilst our legal adviser wrote to you on 10 April 2018 seeking confirmation that these and other matters raised in both its, and SHP’s, correspondence will be fully considered as part of any acceptance process, if the application documents raise arguments over these points, then SHP should be able to respond. This is an unusual case and SHP, as the owner of substantially all of the land to which the application relates, should be afforded that courtesy when RSP has not provided answers to these points in (1) its consultation materials, (2) in any responses to the consultation (despite the 2015 Guidance stating that it is good practice for applicants to inform consultees of how issues will be addressed before any application is submitted, RSP has not provided any such response or update), or (3) in private correspondence over the continuing s53 application.
Given our substantial interest, it is SHP who would be put to a very significant amount of trouble, delay and expense if the application is accepted notwithstanding our objections and our deep concerns over a lack of transparency. RSP’s failure to publish the application or agree to PINS publishing the application, is another example of RSP deliberately trying to get the application accepted without it being subject to scrutiny by the one party, the owner of substantially all of the land to which the application relates, who is in a position to expose the inconsistent and possibly misleading basis upon which they have so far been proceeding.
The need for PINS to get agreement from applicants to publicise their application prior to acceptance is not a statutory requirement. Whilst we appreciate it is referred to in the 2015 Guidance at paragraph 119 and in Advice Note 6 (which does not have statutory status), this is a case where the application should be publicised given the unusual set of circumstances and the failure of the consultation materials to answer the fundamental questions over why the proposed development is an NSIP at all.
We therefore ask that the application is made public now (or at the very least in the form of s51 advice the information set out above made available, to enable SHP to understand if the application is potentially an NSIP and if it is a substantially different application scheme than that consulted on) in the interests of transparency, fairness and the fact that SHP (as owner of substantially all of the land) is being disadvantaged and being put to considerable trouble and expense which is also causing delay to its own plans for the Site.
We note the comments set out in your email dated 13 April 2018 and in previous correspondence. The Inspectorate will consider whether to accept the proposed Manston Airport application in accordance with the requirements of Section 55 of the Planning Act 2008.
As you have correctly stated, the need for PINS to get agreement from applicants to publicise their application prior to acceptance is not a statutory requirement and the Applicant has not agreed to publication during the acceptance period. Therefore we are unable to make the application material available at this time. Should the application be accepted, you will be able to make a Relevant Representation at the appropriate time.
Please note that the appropriate contact for any future correspondence relating to the DCO application is Richard Price (using the Manston inbox email address), whilst I will remain the primary contact for any correspondence relating to the s53 application.