The matter of the consultee response by KCC to the planning application of Stone Hill Park where it was quoted “strongly supports the proposed redevelopment of the Manston Airport site led by Stone Hill Park Ltd”, was today brought to the Scrutiny Committee.
It was initially brought in by Councillor Roger Latchford for responses by the cabinet member involved, Councillor Matthew Balfour and the Corporate Director, Barbara Cooper in who’s name the response was written.
Several other members voiced their concern at the wording of the response by KCC. It was widely agreed that it sounded as if it was supporting SHP’s redevelopment when the last position statement by KCC was to keep an open mind.
It was mentioned by County Councillor Trudy Dean that at a recent private meetings between Councillor Balfour and Mrs Cooper both had admitted that a “mistake had been made”.
As such a follow-up letter has been written to the planning department at Thanet District Council to clarify that KCC does not hold such a preference. It also appears a letter has also been written to Sir Roger Gale MP. You can read the letter to Thanet District Council, here: ol_th_16_0550-growth__env___transport_kcc-405060
This matter also seemed to show a breach of protocol that has been going on for some time, where members were not consulted on matters relevant to their areas. Councillor Latchford was angry that he had not been made aware that such a response was being written.
The KCC interim General Counsel, Ben Watts, made it clear that he would be ensuring Officers receive training on the Constitution and their role in such matters. It seems that reviews to protocols should mean that members will be notified at least in the future, and hopefully any suggestion of preference will not be present.
In addition, Councillor Dean also brought up similarities between the Manston site and Kings Hill, the former site of RAF West Malling, speculating that the number of planned houses could expand. She noted that at Kings Hill, 750 houses were originally planned but this has now reached almost 3,000.
You can watch the webcast for yourself here: http://kent.public-i.tv/core/share/open/webcast/0/0/560/236047/0/0/start_time/371000
You can also read our original post about the KCC response, here: http://www.supportmanstonairport.org/kent-county-council-strongly-supporting-stone-hill-park-plans-price-24-8-million/