Minutes published by the Planning Inspectorate (PINs) of advice given to Riveroak Strategic Partners over its Development Consent Order application for the Manston airport site are “an accurate reflection of the meeting,” say RSP.
The documents outline the concerns raised by PINs about the DCO submission made in April but withdrawn in May.
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.
RSP sent 63 documents, containing almost 11,000 pages of proposals, to the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol in April.
The firm aims to bring aviation back to the site with an air freight hub including cargo, passenger services and business aviation.
But on May 8 the Planning Inspectorate website displayed a letter from RSP lawyers Bircham Dyson Bell which stated the application has been withdrawn.
On May 11 RSP and PINs had a meeting to discuss the submission.
The minutes state: “The Inspectorate and the applicant convened this meeting in order for the Inspectorate to provide detailed advice in respect of three principal concerns identified:
- There was considered to be an absence of sufficient information within the application documents upon which to base a decision about whether the Proposed Development constitutes a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) within the meaning in s23 of the PA2008.
- There were gaps in the ecological, archaeological and ground investigation survey data presented within the Environmental Statement (ES) accompanying the application, which create uncertainty in the assessment of likely significant 2 effects. There were also inconsistencies in the noise and vibration assessment, and issues were identified in the Transport Assessment accompanying the ES.
- It was considered that the Funding Statement did not fulfil the requirements of Regulations and statutory guidance .”
An annexe to the document details the reasons for the concerns and include a potential underestimate of mitigation requirements when looking at the distribution of day and night flights. PINs also require clarification on how the proposals impact the museums; more detailed definition of proposed aircraft types and clarity on the number of cargo and passenger stands as well as raising questions about how widely consultation events were advertised.
PINs also requires more funding information.
In the minutes it states DCO documents say: “RiverOak anticipates that it will raise further equity and debt finance following the making of the DCO in order to develop the authorised development to completion” and “[RiverOak] have drawn down £500,000 from their investors.”
But PINs says it still requires information about RSP’s investors, including proof of their assets and details of the RSP’s directors, staff, auditors etc.
An RSP spokesman said: “We’re comfortable that the minutes are an accurate reflection of the meeting. We’re working through responding to all the points raised, but both RSP and its advisors believe that many of them can be resolved in the examination stage, rather than the acceptance stage.
“The dialogue with PINS is ongoing and there’s a meeting in the diary with PINS later this month.”
The RSP proposals are for a 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.
The cost of putting the infrastructure for Manston in place is now said to be in the region of £479 million, with other expenses, such as for a CPO, to be in addition to that sum.
Stone Hill Park
Site owners Stone Hill Park (SHP) have submitted an enhanced application for homes, business and leisure to be developed at the airport site.
The documents, published on the Thanet council website, outline plans for 46,000 sq m of advanced/hi-tech employment space which SHP say will provide up to 2,000 direct jobs with 9,000 further jobs created over the course of the project, including construction and jobs in the supply chain for the wider area.
Plans include a heritage airport with an operational runway; public parks an East Kent Sports Village with facilities including Kent’s first 50m Olympic sized swimming pool and a WaveGarden surf lake; schools, a food store, cafes/restaurants, a 120-bed hotel and a health centre.
The period for lodging support or objection to the proposal is now closed. There have been some 400 public objections and some 100 public support documents lodged. Several neutral comments have also been submitted.
Southern Water has raised an objection concerning the design layout, saying there needs to be the required stand off distance from the public water mains and sewers. Dover District Council said its objection was based on support for reviving the airport.
Kent Highways lodged a ‘holding objection’ until further clarification could be made on a number of road and pedestrian issues. Canterbury City Council remained neutral saying councillors were happy with the employment offer but would like more details concerning transport and air quality.
The Environment Agency has also raised an objection saying the application has failed to provide assurance that the risks of pollution to controlled waters are acceptable or can be appropriately managed. Acol Parish Council also submitted an objection as did the Ministry of Defence based on the developments proximity to the main runway and the High Resolution Direction Finder which is used to locate transmissions from aircraft and particularly emergency transponder beacons.
Ramsgate councillor Susan Kennedy submitted her support for the proposal, saying: ” This huge site in the middle of Thanet has been blighted for too long and these plans offer real potential for sustainable development of the site and the ability to attract inward investment.”
The Ramsgate branch of the Laboyur Party also supports the development, saying it ‘safeguards’ Ramsgate residents.
Thanet council is yet to make a decision on the application.
Stone Hill Park has been approached for comment.