We are writing in response to RSP’s recent Consultation event held in Ramsgate.
The event itself was not well advertised and many residents and businesses were completely unaware that it was taking place. This is most inadequate given the enormity of the impact it will have on both individuals and the town as a whole. RSP documentation (12.9.68) –“ Considering that the impact is permanent and that a large number of dwellings within communities are subject to moderate or major adverse impacts, significant adverse effects have been identified at the communities of Ramsgate..... The effects would be characterised by a perceived change in the quality of life for the occupants of buildings”.
Given that section 12.9.58 lists Chatham and Clarendon Grammar School as being one of several non-residential receptors identified as being significantly adversely affected by the potential airport, it is totally unacceptable and unimaginable that the school was not contacted by RSP in advance and invited to attend the consultation event. Chatham and Clarendon Grammar School have, however, received no notification or information what-so-ever which is utterly inexcusable and unprofessional.
Christ Church School, which RSP have also identified as being affected by their proposed airport, has not received any information or been contacted by the company either.
We also noticed that RSP appear to have omitted to mention Ramsgate Library as another non-residential building that will suffer from the noise created from the airport and which is all the more incredible since it is being used as the venue for their documents to be made available to the public! The library itself has also not been contacted by RPS and invited to comment on their proposals as an institution in its own right. One has to question how many other public / commercial buildings and spaces have also not been contacted.
In referring to the public buildings that RSP have included, Section 12.9.59 states, “The significant effect will be characterised by potential disruption, disturbance or interference with tasks by the users of the buildings”. These are places of valuable learning, leisure and spiritual activities; they are places in which we learn, read, engage with others, take part in sporting activities, act, sing, pray, talk, think, listen, concentrate and play.
The event itself was inconveniently mid-week (on a Tuesday) which again made it difficult for many to attend. Surely the people of Ramsgate deserve to be given ample opportunity to see for themselves what RSP is intending to inflict upon them and RSP should therefore have made their event run for several days including evenings and weekends. The chosen location was a fairly small room which quickly felt over crowded.
When we asked a direct question to a RSP representative at the Ramsgate event about proposed night flights, she kept replying over and over again “...as I say, we are not ‘planning’ for night flights.” The RSP documentation, however, would suggest that this is not the case as 12.9.69 “During the night time – minor to major adverse impacts are predicted in Ramsgate.” 12.9.70 continues....” The effect would be characterised as a perceived change in the quality of life for occupants of buildings in these communities or a perceived change in the acoustic character of shared open spaced within these communities during the night time.” The information given at the consultation therefore felt deliberately misleading, contradictory and the tone was insulting.
We would like to again draw your attention to the fact that in Ramsgate, the combination of the topography of the land, densely packed and often tall, terraced housing means that noise is funnelled down and intensifies. Having lived in this house for 15 years, we know that the noise is extreme and affects us terribly. It is impossible even to continue a conversation with someone in the same room or speak on the telephone when the planes cross. We have also noted that the noise seems less intrusive in the car park of the Manston Tesco, for example, where, despite being nearer to the airport and the planes being even lower, the noise dissipates and is less intense as there is more open space. One really has to question the intentions and integrity of a company who appear to have deliberately avoided drawing attention to their plans from the thousands of inhabitants who might well be some of the most adversely affected.
We also pointed out that every time a plane has crossed our house during night time hours, every member of our family has fully wakened and the children frightened as the noise on the top floor where they sleep is unbearable and terrifying. This contravenes our Human Right to sleep and fails to meet the guidelines set by the world Health Organisation. RSP are now saying that there would be a need a considerable number of night flights between 11pm and 7am. This would have a catastrophic effect on ours and our children’s health, education and well-being.
The alternative proposal for Stone Hill Park would be hugely preferable, providing much needed housing, green space and leisure facilities. We do put it to all concerned, however, that the former Manston Airport Site is a valuable piece of land in the centre of the Isle of Thanet with its stunning beaches and seaside towns, each with its unique character. Surely we can work with imagination and vision to find a use that is inspiring and beneficial to the area as a whole; one that is positive and forward looking, providing varied and high quality work, entertainment and education opportunities and is something to be proud of for locals and visitors alike. Whoever would have thought that a couple of giant greenhouses in a disused quarry in Cornwall would be such a huge success and draw people from all over the world to learn, wonder and celebrate what the Eden Project has to offer? Surely, Thanet deserves better!
Firstly, if you wish to make comments about the Applicant’s Pre-application consultation, please do so following the process set out in our Community Consultation FAQ (see in particular the advice at FAQ1): attachment 1
I also note that your email contains representations regarding the merits of the proposed development. The Planning Inspectorate cannot consider representations at this time; for information about how and when you will be able to do this, please read our Advice Note 8 series: attachment 2