Recent correspondence between PINS and interested parties have included the following statement however in view of the feedback issued to RSP on the 4/5/2018 which precipitated their withdrawal your department gave a list of issues found within the 10000+ pages of their application.
“Advice reflecting the same concerns would have been issued to the Applicant if it had not decided to withdraw the application and the Planning Inspectorate had proceeded to issue an Acceptance decision.”
Reason number 1 was as follows “• An absence of sufficient information within the application documents upon which to the Planning Inspectorate could base a decision about whether the Proposed Development constitutes a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) within the meaning in s23 of the Planning Act 2008.”
Surely the logic of your statements are that if you have perused the 10000+ pages and cannot determine whether their application meets the criteria for an NSIP then it would be rejected and therefore “Planning Inspectorate had proceeded to issue an Acceptance decision” is a nonsense.
In fact it is clear that had you said nothing to RSP and rejected the application because it wasn’t an NSIP you would then have had a discussion as to whether they continue or shut shop. It does therefore seem to many that the system you follow is designed to achieve 100% acceptance for examination. Many members of the public are now thinking this is about coaching rather than a true examination of the application.
By way of clarification, an ‘Acceptance decision’ in the context of my recent responses is ‘a decision about whether or not to accept the application’ – not a ‘decision to accept the application’.
The Inspectorate’s concerns were summarised in the following advice: attachment 1
To reiterate, there was not sufficient information in the application documents upon which the Inspectorate could not take a decision about whether or not the proposed development is a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project.