Manston Airport Change of Use Planning Appeal Public Inquiry – Day 4 (Final)

The final day of the inquiry saw the following:

  • Site visit to Manston Airport.
  • Oral evidence by Sue Girdler of TG Aviation.
  • Discussion of conditions that could be attached to a decision to approve the appeals, should that be the result.
  • Summary by Suzanne Ornsby QC on behalf of RiverOak Strategic Partners Ltd.
  • Summary by Mr Neil King QC on behalf of Stone Hill Park Ltd.

The Planning Inspector will now be going through the vast amount of information he has, and has heard. He will also consult with his own legal representatives and is expected to report with his verdict in 6 to 8 weeks.

He was quite surprised to receive a round of applause from the Public Gallery at the end – perhaps that was all a sign of relief, but he did seem rather taken aback.

We were also finally treated to Mr King using his microphone during his summation, something he has declined to do all throughout the rest of the inquiry even though we and others have requested this informally and formally. He clearly did not understand quite how difficult he was to hear in the public gallery and on recordings. We applaud Ms Ornsby on sticking to the microphone task for her sections all through the matter, even though it was problematic at times.

Scroll below this for today’s videos. All our videos are also available on our YouTube Channel, in a Playlist here:

Some events and opinion from our Twitter feed today:

  • Fourth and final day of Manston Inquiry just beginning following a site visit this morning.
  • Sue Girdler of TG Aviation now giving evidence opposing the appellants.
  • Mrs Girdler drew the Inspector’s attention to the Transport Select Committee meeting regarding Manston & its ownership.
  • Ms Ornsby submitting additional information. clarifying the role of Ann Gloag & saying she has complete power over the site.
  • Mr King disputing Gloag has total control of the site. Mr Nunn reiterating that he is only concerned with the 4 buildings.
  • Now all parties discussing conditions which would be attached to buildings should appeal be successful.
  • Discussion over Condition 1 which is concerned about the length of time for permission and start & end dates.
  • Condition 2 is concerned with sub-dividing the buildings.
  • Conditions 3 & 4 are about parking issues including non encroachment of the taxi way.
  • Condition 5 is regarding lighting. Condition 6 covers storage of oils and chemicals.
  • Mr King says SHP will accept temporary planning permission. Mr Nunn saying that changes the nature of the case.
  • Buildings 2,3 & 4 were for permanent change of use – Inspector not sure if he could now change to temporary change of use
  • Both Counsels assuring the Inspector that he does have the authority to grant temporary change of use should he be minded.
  • Inspector acknowledges the disagreement between RSP & SHP about the length of period for change of use.
  • Inspector emphasises that these conditions will only be applied IF he adjudicates in favour of the appellant.
  • Conditions agreed. Now taking a lunch break until 14.15.
  • The Inquiry is about to resume albeit a little late. They have been waiting for copies of a schedule of unemployment land.
  • Owner of Manston Business Park says it’s fully occupied but Ms Ornsby clarifying there are some up for re-sale or letting.
  • Ms Ornsby also pointed out that there is a second phase of building at Manston Business Park providing yet more units.
  • Ms Ornsby has now been asked to present her closing submissions.
  • Ms Ornsby argues that policy EC4 is consistent with the NPPF. Both policies seek to protect Manston as an airport.
  • Ms Ornsby draws on the ‘reasonable prospect test’ that protects the airport for aviation employment use only.
  • SHP’s case is founded on the fact that they don’t believe the airport will reopen but didn’t challenge aviation experts.
  • Ms Ornsby says SHPs failure 2 call expert aviation evidence or challenge RSP’s witnesses is something they ‘must live with’.
  • She points to other evidence such as the prior Local Plan which supported the airport & says new LP based on Avia is flawed.
  • No evidence of current employment interest in the 4 buildings was provided at the Inquiry by SHP.
  • Ms Ornsby pointing out the poor condition of the buildings and the lack of facilities.
  • There is ‘Considerably more employment land supply than there is demand.’ argues Ms Ornsby.
  • When DCO is granted the buildings will be needed for storage for aviation related equipment in 2 years prior to reopening.
  • Mr King now to submit his closing statement for SHP
  • Mr King argues that the appeal should be allowed because the Local Plan, including policy EC4, is out of date.
  • Mr King has not provided us with his notes, as Ms Ornsby did!
  • Mr King querying RSP’s new company and questioning how they will fund a DCO. Doubting whether they will go ahead.
  • Mr King arguing that any tenants using the 4 buildings will not impede or delay any potential DCO by RSP.
  • Mr King arguing that there are very few empty buildings available of the size of the buildings on Manston.
  • The Inquiry has now been officially been brought to a close by the Inspector. Been a long but interesting week!

Unfortunately there is a short section within Mr Neil King QC’s summary where we lost connection on the video. Both the Summations were on microphone, but large portions of the other sections were unfortunately without these, so you may have to turn the volume up very loud to hear.

The morning’s site visit videos are used with permission from Gregory Nocentini. The video from Buildings 2 and 4 was edited to remove sensitive information at the request of the Planning Inspector.











One thought on “Manston Airport Change of Use Planning Appeal Public Inquiry – Day 4 (Final)

  • March 18, 2017 at 7:39 am

    Thankyou for your attendance and summary here. I understand the applause: not just a sign of relief, more that someone with authority has at last listened to (some) evidence regarding Manston. I sincerely hope that the Judgement rules in our favour. If not, it will be another dagger in the back for truth and justice and the saving of such a unique and special resource.

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