Draft Local Plan for Manston

Thanet District Council have now released the Final Thanet Preferred Option Draft Local Plan. Please see here for more information.

We have been in discussion with an independent planning advisor who has summarised this document for us, in regards to the impact on the airport.

Officers have not looked at isolated sites to meet housing needs, such as the airport, due to the lack of existing infrastructure. Officers had to identify land for 12,000 dwellings for the plan period, and 20,000 have been identified with none on any part of the airport. There should therefore be no reason for the Council to look at the airport to meet housing needs.

The report states the Council “Support the sustainable development and regeneration of Manston Airport to enable it to function as a local regional airport, providing for significant new employment opportunities, other supporting development and improved surface access subject to environmental safeguards or as an opportunity site promoting mixed-use development that will deliver high quality employment and a quality environment.” We would obviously object to a mixed use development that was non-aviation related.

This plan will be reported to Cabinet on 11th December 2014 with a view to going out to public consultation on 5th January 2015.

Our independent advisor believes that even if plans were submitted that pre-empt this plan, that development would only stand a chance if they are well-placed within existing settlements in a reasonably sustainable location. This should count the airport out of the running once again.

An extract from the Preferred Option Draft Local Plan: 

“Given the recent closure of Manston Airport, there is an opportunity to review the viability of an operational airport at Manston and to consider future options for the vast area of land around the airport. It is considered that a successful airport has the potential to be a significant catalyst for economic growth. The Council can continue to support proposals that would maintain the operational part of the airport to encourage future air travel and aviation related operation at Manston. To safeguard an operational airport at Manston, the Council is aware of the need to prevent developments that might prejudice the future operation and expansion of the airport, or be adversely affected by Airport operations. The Civil Aviation Authority has identified development safeguarding zones around the airport. Within these zones, the local planning authority is required to consult the airport operators regarding different forms of development that might affect Airport operations. These safeguarding zones should therefore be retained to ensure that the future aviation
operations at the airport are not prejudiced.

The Local Planning Authority will take account of airport feasibility studies and the interest of potential airport operators and the interest of other commercial developers in relation to the future development options, in addition to its own assessment about development which might prejudice the development of the airport.

In view of the various options available to the Council for the future of the Manston Airport site as an airport operation and aviation activities and other developments, these need to be explored and assessed for the wider area of the airport and its environ through development plan making process. The area should be designated as an “opportunity area” for which the District Council will prepare Area Action Plan (AAP) Development Plan Document. The AAP for Manston Airport will set out the development framework for the development and regeneration of the area. A consideration of the AAP should be the promotion, retention, development and expansion of the airport and aviation related operations. This should be supported by a feasibility study and a viable business plan. The alternative option for the AAP should be to assess mixed-use development that will deliver significant new high quality skilled and semi-skilled employment opportunities, residential development, sustainable transport and community facilities. These options should be subject to Habitat Directive and Habitat Regulation assessment (HRA).”

Proposed Policy (SP05) for Manston Airport

“The site of Manston Airport and the adjoining area will be designated as an
“Opportunity Area” for the purposes of preparing the Manston Airport Area Action Plan” Development Plan Document. The Manston Airport AAP will explore through the development plan process the future development options for the site of the airport and the adjoining area. A consideration of the AAP should be the retention, development and expansion of the airport and aviation operations where supported by a feasibility study and a viable Business Plan, while exploring alternative options for the future development of the area for mixed-use development. Whilst the Manston Airport Area Action Plan is being prepared and until adopted by the Council as a development plan for the Manston Airport area, the following policy for the Manston Airport will apply. Proposals at the airport, that would support the development, expansion and diversification of Manston Airport, will be permitted subject to all of the following requirements.

1) That there be Demonstrable compliance by the applicants with the terms of the current agreement under section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as amended or subsequent equivalent legislation.

2) That new built development is to be designed to minimise visual impact on the open landscape of the central island. Particular attention must be given to roofscape for the purposes of minimising the mass of the buildings at the skyline when viewed from the south.

3) The provision of an appropriate landscaping schemes, to be designed and implemented as an integral part of the development.

4) That any application for development for the purpose of increasing aircraft movements in the air or on the ground, auxiliary power or engine testing, to be supported by an assessment of cumulative noise impact and the effectiveness of mitigation measures to be implemented in order to minimise pollution and disturbance. The acceptability of proposals will be judged in relation to any identified and cumulative noise impact, the effectiveness of mitigation and the social and economic benefits of the proposals.

5) The provision of an air quality assessment in compliance with Air Quality Management plan to demonstrate that the development will not lead to a harmful deterioration in air quality. Permission will not be given for development that would result in national air quality objectives being exceeded.

6) That any new development which would generate significant surface traffic must meet requirements for surface travel demand.

7) That it must be demonstrated both that new development cannot contaminate groundwater sources and that appropriate mitigation measures will be incorporated in the development to prevent contamination.

8) There will be no significant harm to Thanet’s SSSI/SAC/SPA/Ramsar sites. A Habitats regulations assessment will be required.