Happy New Year from the SuMA Team!
We are expecting 2017 to be the definitive year for the Manston Airport campaign, the pivotal year as to whether Manston will remain as an Airport or will be lost forever under thousands of new homes. Here is a quick round up of where we are now and going forward into the New Year.
- Thanet District Council (TDC) has now, after almost three years of trying, been compelled by their legal team to re-designate the airport for mixed development, which includes aviation, in the new draft Local Plan. However, they have left the door open for full aviation use should a credible investor come forward with a viable and sustainable financial plan before the Local Plan goes to the Secretary of State mid-2017.
- Before the draft Local Plan is ratified it must go out to the public for consultation. The Local Plan Public Consultations will take place over a period of eight weeks beginning on or around 9th January – Please take time to object to the housing plans and to express your support for aviation only on the Manston Airport site. SuMA will provide dates and guidance nearer the time.
- RiverOak has requested that the Public Inquiry into the change of use of four buildings on Manston Airport again be postponed. The principal parties, Stone Hill Park and RiverOak, have been advised to liaise and agree further dates for a reconvened Inquiry in February 2017.
- There are at least two parties, including RiverOak, interested in restoring aviation to Manston Airport with the majority of talks continuing privately behind the scenes as we know they must do.
- RiverOak are now able to access the Manston Airport site to carry out their Environmental Impact Assessment. They also need to hold a round of official Public Consultations. Once these requirements, among others, are complete they will then be able to submit their official application for a DCO. At the moment RiverOak’s website indicates that their submission will be made in Quarter two of 2017 but this looks likely to be moved back. Once submitted the Planning inspectorate (PI) takes up to 28 days to decide whether or not to accept the application. If accepted there then follows a pre-examination stage lasting approximately three months where the public can either support or object to their plans. The PI then has six months to examine the application. Following this the PI have up to three months to prepare a report, including a recommendation, for the Secretary of State (SoS). The SoS then has a further three months to decide whether or not to grant or refuse development consent.Once a decision has been issued by the SoS, there is a six week period in which the decision may be challenged in the High Court.From submission to final decision to approve a DCO will take approximately 18 months https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/application-process/the-process/
- Meanwhile Stone Hill Park continue to progress their application for mixed development on Manston Airport including at least 2,500 new homes.