Manston Airport

Enquiry received via email

Manston Airport

26 April 2017
Robert Bird

Enquiry

Further to our previous correspondence regarding the proposed Manston Airport DCO, I'd like to bring to your attention a letter published in this week's Kent on Sunday.
The letter is written by Dr Beau Webber, chair of the Save Manston Airport Association, and he appears to be speaking on behalf of the DCO applicant, RiverOak Strategic Partners. He refers to current activity, apparently being carried out by Mouchel on behalf of RSP, where I understand that Mouchel are asking for detailed information on property ownership without explaining clearly why they are requesting the information. I also understand that they are inappropriately assertive in these requests.
The inappropriateness of Mouchel's actions aside, can you please clarify two things :
1. Is Dr Webber correct in his assertion that if people refuse to provide information to Mouchel's doorstep requests that they will not qualify for compensation should the DCO proceed?
2. Can you confirm whether the Save Manston Airport Association have been formally engaged by RiverOak Strategic Partners to act on their behalf?
Further information which is pertinent to item 2 is the distribution by SMAa of roughly 40,000 leaflets in the locality, with these leaflets heavily promoting RiverOak's DCO attempt. Should these communications be captured in RSP's Statement of Community Consultation, as they are directly associated with their DCO?

Advice given

1. Is Dr Webber correct in his assertion that if people refuse to provide information to Mouchel's doorstep requests that they will not qualify for compensation should the DCO proceed?
By way of background, where a Development Consent Order (DCO) would seek powers of Compulsory Acquisition and/ or Temporary Possession, sections 44, 57 and 59 of the Planning Act 2008 (PA2008) establish that in seeking to identify all land interests and persons who may be entitled to make a relevant claim an applicant must make diligent inquiry. Paragraph 50 of the Department for Communities and Local Government’s Planning Act 2008: Guidance on the pre-application process explains:
“It is the applicant’s responsibility to demonstrate at submission of the application that due diligence has been undertaken in identifying all land interests and applicants should make every reasonable effort to ensure that the Book of Reference (which records and categorises those land interests) is up to date at the time of submission.”
Issuing land referencing questionnaires in the format provided by RiverOak Strategic Partners is one of a number of approaches routinely applied by DCO applicants in seeking to identify all land interests and therefore satisfy the due diligence test set out in the PA2008. In consideration of this test, the land referencing process, from an applicant’s perspective, has an important role in the preparation of an application for a DCO which would seek powers of Compulsory Acquisition and/ or Temporary Possession. From the perspective of a person with an interest in the land, volunteering details about their interest(s) in land to a DCO applicant will help to ensure that their interest(s) are reflected accurately in any application, and ensure that their ability to engage in the examination of that application is not compromised.
Notwithstanding this, questionnaire recipients are not mandated to volunteer information about their interest(s) in land to a DCO applicant, if they do not wish to do so. Importantly choosing not to volunteer land interest information to a DCO applicant would have no implications for a person’s status and ability to take part in the examination of an application for a DCO, or for any future claims by a person for compensation under the Compulsory Purchase Act 1965; the Land Compensation Act 1973; and/ or s152 of the PA2008.
2. Can you confirm whether the Save Manston Airport Association (SMA) have been formally engaged by RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP) to act on their behalf?
The Planning Inspectorate has not been informed about any relationship between the DCO applicant, RSP, and the SMA.
3. Should [circa 40,000 leaflets dropped by the SMA in the locality] be captured in RSP's Statement of Community Consultation (SoCC), as they are directly associated with their DCO?
If RSP submits an application for development consent to the Planning Inspectorate, it will be required to demonstrate in the application that its Pre-application consultation with the local community (under s47 of the PA2008) has been carried out in accordance with the SoCC. If any actions by any person or group are relied upon by an applicant to demonstrate compliance with the tests in s47 of the PA2008, the Planning Inspectorate would expect for those actions to have been scheduled in the SoCC or, where they had not been, explained and justified in an appropriate location within the submitted application(ie the Consultation Report). In this context however I would reemphasise that the Planning Inspectorate has not been informed about any relationship between RSP and the SMA.