The firm aiming to bring aviation back to Manston airport has withdrawn a Development Consent Order (DCO) submission submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for the site in April.
A DCO is the means of obtaining permission for developments categorised as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP). This includes energy, transport, water and waste projects.
Riveroak Strategic Partners (RSP) sent 63 documents, containing almost 11,000 pages of proposals, to the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol.
But today (May 8) the Planning Inspectorate website displays a letter from RSP lawyers Bircham Dyson Bell which states the application has been withdrawn.
The letter says: “This letter is to notify you that our clients, RiverOak Strategic Partners Ltd, are withdrawing the application submitted on 10 April 2018 and are engaging with the Planning Inspectorate with a view to resubmission as soon as possible.”
The RSP proposals are for a £300m project to create an air freight hub with passenger services and business aviation.
RSP has a four phase plan across 15 years to create 19 new air cargo stands, update the runway, four new passenger aircraft stands and updated passenger terminal, refurbished fire station and new fire training area, aircraft recycling facility, flight training school, hangars for aircraft related business, highway improvements and the creation of a museum quarter.
A statement from RSP says: “RiverOak Strategic Partners has temporarily withdrawn its DCO application in respect of Manston Airport. This is not uncommon with DCOs and RSP is in dialogue with the Planning Inspectorate in order that the application can be resubmitted as soon as possible.”
The withdrawal notice comes on the same day as Stone Hill Park announced it has submitted enhanced plans for houses, business and leisure to be developed at the site.
A Save Manston Airport association spokesman said: “Today’s news from the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) is naturally disappointing but is not unique.
“According to reports on the BBC, RSP are seeking clarification on some technical issues and are having a meeting with PINS on Friday. Our understanding is that such clarification cannot happen whilst there is a live application. RSP, therefore, had no alternative but to withdraw the application, clarify the issues and then resubmit the application for acceptance.
“Hopefully this will not delay acceptance by too long. This is not a unique situation – the 2013 DCO application for the Mynydd y Gwynt Wind Farm was similarly delayed. This application was eventually refused but it demonstrates that this procedure has been used before.
“We should also bear in mind that this is the first DCO application for an airport and will undoubtedly serve as a template for the multiple applications required for the third runway at Heathrow. PINS will therefore want to ensure that nothing is missed.
“The application has been temporarily withdrawn and when resubmitted will again be subject to the 28 day maximum duration. However much of the work has already been done so there is no reason to believe that the renewed Acceptance phase will need the full 28 days to complete.
“The final phase of a DCO application allows for the the possibility of a judicial review of the Secretary of State’s decision. This “appeal” can only adjudicate on procedural shortcomings so it’s important that we remember that it’s better for PINS to be over cautious now than leave the final decision open to challenge because of procedural errors at this stage.
“This is only a delay. The application has not been rejected.
“SMAa continue be optimistic and look forward to acceptance of the application leading to the return of commercial aviation at Manston Airport.”