Planning Inspectorate DCO report for Manston site delayed over final fee payment

The Manston airport site Photo Swift Aerial Photography

A report by the Planning Inspectorate to submit a recommendation over the development consent order for the Manston airport site has been delayed because a final fee is yet to be processed.

The report was due to go to the Secretary of State for Transport on Wednesday (October 9) but a final payment from RiverOak Strategic Partners – which made the DCO submission – is outstanding, said the Planning Inspectorate.

The Planning Inspectorate examining panel, led by Kelvin McDonald, examined the bid earlier this year that was made by RSP to  acquire the site and create a cargo hub and associated aviation business.

The land was owned by Stone Hill Park, which had submitted a planning application to create up to 3,700 homes, business and leisure and associated infrastructure. SHP sold the site to RSP subsidiary RiverOak MSE Ltd for £16.5 million in July, just days before the hearings concluded.

The sale contained a clause which means RSP cannot sell the land until 2029 unless SHP agree.

The report by PINs following the hearing will not be sent to the Secretary of State until final examination fees from RSP are received.

A spokesperson at the Planning Inspectorate said: “Wednesday’s deadline was for the Examining Authority (Panel of Inspectors) to send the recommendation report to the Secretary of State for Transport.

“We have however decided to extend the recommendation period, as allowed for under the infrastructure planning (fees) regulations 2010 until payment of the outstanding final examination fee is received.

“Following receipt of the final payment and the Recommendation being sent, the Secretary of State has three months to make a decision. The Recommendation will be published at the same time as the decision.”

A spokesperson for RSP said the payment had been sent on time.

They added: “The payment, by cheque, was sent on time – with a scanned copy provided to PINS for their information. We’re advised that the envelope is being processed through the government’s mail vetting system and will be delivered to the agency which processes such payments, in their next scheduled delivery, on Tuesday.”

DCO approval is still needed for the cargo hub project with a decision from the Secretary of State expected by January 2020.