Both the Global Vigilant and the New Line Networks masts planned at Richborough have been refused planning permission at Dover District Council tonight.
In the end, the applications were rejected due to the effect on heritage, landscape and viewpoints. The councillors suggested that neither had really detailed what advantages would be gained on a national basis and that local benefits would be limited. Plans and actions already put in place by the applicants to benefit locals and local groups couldn’t be considered as part of the decisions.
To both of the applicants’ credit, they knew about the local concern over any impact they might have with a re-opened Manston and have taken the time to both carry out research and to meet with the support groups. They both also were proposing deconstruct/reduction clauses should Manston be prevented.
The Planning Officer made mention of Manston in both of his outlines, but it cannot currently be considered as a planning concern because of the possible changes to the Local Plan, although he failed to make any mention of any future heritage aviation, nor if helicopter or general aviation would be affected. He also suggested that the effect locally would be reduced if the applicants had been able to reach an agreement to work together with one mast, but as each mast was tonight considered in its own right, we would suspect that wouldn’t lead to a successful application.
We believe it was Councillor Bernard Butcher from Sandwich that brought up Manston as part of his concerns over the mast and stated his firm support for the airport.
There was also discussion tonight about a third application that would be coming up in a few weeks, but as yet we have had no discussions with any other possible applicant.