The enquirer expressed concern about the lack of consultation events offered in Ramsgate about the proposed reopening of Manston Airport.
1. Failure to notify affected residents:
During the time that the airport was operational, cargo planes would line up over Ramsgate Harbour and descend over the town towards the runway. We who live under this flight path should have received written notification that River Oak Strategic Partnership were planning to hold a consultation event in Ramsgate. A very few people in this area, mainly those who live within a short distance of the perimeter of the airport, were sent leaflets about this consultation. The residents of Birchington also received personal letters from RSP, yet the populations of Herne Bay and Ramsgate, who will live directly under the flight path, were not. We only found out from the local paper (which has a low circulation) or from Facebook.
2. Failure to supply relevant information:
The RSP plan does not include any information regarding Public Safety Zones. I understand there are some 4-5,000 homes in Ramsgate and 3 schools situated within the risk area, as well as Pegwell Bay and Sandwich Bay National Nature Reserves. Different consultants at the Ramsgate consultation offered different advice as to flight paths, number of flights, etc. One said the flight paths were not decided - however, unless RSP plan to turn the runway around, I cannot see how the flight path would not pass directly over Ramsgate, at an admitted height of around 600 feet. Another consultant claimed night flights "were only included in the documentation because the CAA require it" and that they had no intention of having night flights. I have no idea how a freight-based airport could possibly be successful unless it offered night flights, particularly one stuck in the south-easternmost corner of England. The last time the airport was operational and Thanet District Council conducted a survey about potential night flights, 73% of Ramsgate residents were opposed to them. The claims as to the number of jobs created are also farcical.
Please be aware that I am strongly opposed to this proposed scheme.
The Planning Inspectorate cannot consider objections to a proposal at the Pre-application stage of the PA2008 process. For information about when and how to register as an Interested Party in the Examination (if an application is submitted and the Secretary of State decides that it is of a satisfactory standard to be examined), please see Advice Note Eight here: attachment 1
There is also no mechanism through which the Planning Inspectorate can influence an Applicant’s consultation at the Pre-application stage of the PA2008 process.
Please provide your comments to the Applicant if you have not done so already. I note you have copied-in Thanet District Council. 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.