Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Riveroak's DCO carries on

An update has been issued by the Planning Inspectorate as there was a further meeting on the 23rd February. Meeting notes below. I have highlighted the interesting points and strangely RO haven't commented on them but SMA seem to be acting as their spokeperson with their typical spin.


The Developer: 

Tony Freudmann (RiverOak) 

Niall Lawlor (RiverOak) 

George Yerrall (RiverOak) 

Chris Cain (Northpoint Aviation) 

Tom Henderson (Bircham Dyson Bell) 

Alexander Hallatt (Bircham Dyson Bell) 

The Planning Inspectorate (the Inspectorate) explained its openness policy and its statutory duty to publish any advice issued under section 51 of the Planning Act 2008 (PA2008) on its website. Any advice issued under s51 does not constitute legal advice upon which the attendees, or others, can rely. Introductions were made by everyone present and individual roles were explained. 

RiverOak provided an overview of activity since the last meeting and confirmed that various consultants have been appointed to the scheme. RiverOak anticipated a meeting of the combined consultancy team imminently with the aim of discussing the preparation of a masterplan. 

RiverOak provided some observations about the air freight industry in the UK and particularly in respect of the South East System. RiverOak believed there to be a current and future undersupply in dedicated freight capacity and highlighted where they considered there to be constraints on existing airports.

Now this is difficult to understand as RO seem to be existing in a parallel universe from such bodies as "the Economist" Link here They say quite clearly in the article " The volume of goods travelling by air has risen marginally over the past year but airlines’ cargo revenues have fallen from a peak of $67 billion in 2011 to around $50 billion a year now." and "A dramatic fall in sea-freight rates—of more than 75% since 2012 on some routes—as a result of overcapacity among shipping lines has encouraged customers to switch from sending some non-urgent deliveries by air. Excess capacity among the airlines themselves has done further damage. Since the financial crisis, there has been no let-up in the growth of passenger demand, so carriers have been expanding their fleets. This means the amount of cargo space in the belly of passenger planes has risen sharply. Combined with flat demand for shipping by air, the result is that average capacity utilisation across the air-cargo business has fallen to 43.5%, the lowest since the crisis. So, customers have been able to demand big price cuts.
  RiverOak indicated some of the working assumptions being considered in supporting their application in respect of, for example, average freight tonnage per aircraft movement. The PA2008 definition and thresholds associated with airport development were discussed. 

RiverOak confirmed that they believed their application would be under s23(1)(b) as an alteration to an airport due to the remaining physical infrastructure on the site and noted in respect of PA2008 s23(5)(b) they were likely to consider that the airport had zero capacity because of its current physical state. 

RiverOak confirmed that letters had been sent to certain landowners in respect of seeking access on to their land to undertake survey work. Timeframes had been identified for response in that correspondence however, it was noted that to date no responses had been received. Hardly surprising

The considerations in respect of a s53 authorisation request were discussed and The Inspectorate noted the importance of evidence to accompany any such request. The Inspectorate’s Advice Note 5 was highlighted. 

RiverOak provided an update on the proposals and confirmed the intention that Manston Airport would be capable of providing over 10,000 additional freight movements by 2024/2025, with further growth beyond that date. There would also be low cost and charter passenger flights.

In real terms considering that would be the minimum number of flights to achieve acceptance for a DCO, however this equates once you add on KIA's best year a minimum of 33 flights a day. A figure SMA try and avoid mentioning. This is the flightpath for those unfortunate to be under 33 Jumbos all day and night

RiverOak explained that their current thinking was based on a range of scenarios that would be subject to the masterplanning approach. RiverOak provided some background context in respect of the need and operation of a ‘dismantling and recycling’ facility for decommissioned aircraft. RiverOak also noted plans for the site that could include enhancing the tourism offer and location of an Aerospace Park. 

The Inspectorate were interested to understand what elements would form part of a Development Consent Order (DCO) application for the site and how the development of the site, as controlled through the DCO and associated certified document and plans, was proposed to be phased. The existing accesses for freight and passenger vehicles from the existing road networks were explained. 

RiverOak noted the highway network in the vicinity of the airport and noted one junction in particular that would potentially require improvement. RiverOak also highlighted a public highway that runs through the centre of the site. 

RiverOak noted that the outcome of studies, assessment and masterplanning work would provide more detail about any off site highway mitigation works. 

RiverOak discussed the potential for compulsory acquisition of land currently associated with two operational museums, the land could be required in respect of highways improvement. However, RiverOak noted their intention that the museums would be provided with upgraded facilities as part of its development, whether there is a need for such highways improvements or not. 
Seeing as the main purpose for a Freight Hub is in the movement of freight and the most economic route is from the Minster Roundabout, straight out onto the A299 it is surprising that the junction for improvement is the one involving the Museums. Now that makes one wonder just why they want to take back land gifted to the museums in perpetuity. Putting my cynical hat on I wonder if this is related to Freudmann coveting building houses on the Northern Grass from 2014. 
It makes little sense to make HGV's (over 100 a day if the DCO succeeds) towards Westwood Cross instead of towards Minster along Spitfire Way. 

The night time curfew was discussed; RiverOak noted that night time landing is permitted if the planes have not been scheduled. RiverOak indicated that it was possible that some night flights would be required. RiverOak confirmed that noise control and mitigation would be a key part of their environmental study and consultation process. RiverOak discussed CAP 168 that sets out the licensing requirements in respect of operational management and the planning of aerodrome development. 
This is what was said at the Winter Garden meeting right back at the start and what Airport supporters have been denying ever since. Now the cat is out of the bag it seems SMA have gone on the defensive denying on Social Media that's what Riveroak want. Well sorry they are their words not mine

RiverOak confirmed that any considerations flowing from this document in terms of powers/works/land would clearly be reflected in their DCO where relevant. The role of the relevant local authority (Thanet District Council) was noted and discussed. RiverOak outlined their evolving engagement strategy with the Local Authority. Given the timetable to submission, 
Now this is funny considering the public vilification of Councillor Chris Wells orchestrated by the airport supporters on Social Media. They even have a dedicated Facebook page where the posts are personal attacks on one man

The Inspectorate offered to ‘host’ an early meeting between RiverOak and Thanet District Council. 
Good luck with that one PI!!!
  RiverOak queried the Inspectorate’s approach in relation to transboundary effects. 

The Inspectorate noted that RiverOak should refer to Advice Note 12 on the subject and should also include reference to any likelihood of transboundary effects arising as part of any request for a Scoping Opinion. 
Link to Note 12
  RiverOak noted their intention to achieve a first draft of the masterplanning process by early spring. RiverOak anticipated that a Scoping Request may be submitted to The Inspectorate by late spring and were currently planning their public consultation activities to take place in late summer. 

So to summarise Night flights and the taking back of the land from the museums. Should any Airport supporter be reading this it would be advantageous for RO to make a public statement on both areas instead of letting SMA be their spin doctors. So far two own goals on the public perception front but that surprises no one.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

March consultations

On the 15th and 16th of March 2016 Mssrs Cartner and Musgrave held the 3rd Public consultation prior to putting in a a planning application to Thanet Council in April. Prior to the consultation they mail dropped Thanet the following leaflet

These consultations were, as expected, subject to the normal "massive" protests outside by the many supporters of Riveroak the failed developer.

The overview of the site will look like this

Each element was shown separately
This shows they are endeavouring to cater to the problems that exist currently in Thanet with two primary schools, a community hall and GP with Pharmacy.
2500 houses to be built over a 10-15 year timescale with a range of housing. A mention must be made of the edition of homes for seniors because ever since two homes closed in Broadstairs Thanet has had a shortage of beds which is not getting any better.
The building of an "East Kent Sports Village" including a 50M Swimming pool, and sports pitches will enhance the whole area and if done properly will increase the possibility of events being put on which will put Thanet on the map.
130 hectares of parkland (one third of the site) to include cycle paths and parkland. This will also preserve the Northern grass to enable historic aircraft to use it to enhance the expansion of the Spitfire museum.
The planning applications will be submitted in April however it is likely (if past performance is anything to go by) to be refused. This will ensure at appeal the decision will be taken out of TDC's hands.
This site is full of handy advice should anyone wish to write with their thoughts on the matter. I have added some handy hints to save you clicking to it but I would recommend saving the link.


Important info: In quite a few areas the local planning authority has still not succeeded in putting its Core Strategy in place, and even where a Core Strategy has been adopted, it may not yet have been fleshed out by other DPDs. In such cases, some or all of the policies in the old-style Local Plan will still apply, although as old Local Plans become increasingly out-of-date, the weight to be given to them is much reduced, especially where they are seen to be inconsistent with the policies in the National Planning Policy Framework
Among the material considerations which a Council must also take into account is ministerial policy and guidance, set out in various government circulars and in the National Planning Policy Framework (the NPPF), published in March 2012, which replaced the previous series of Planning Policy Guidance Notes (PPGs) and Planning Policy Statements (PPSs). The NPPF is of considerable importance in areas where a Core Strategy has not yet been adopted by the local planning authority. It has led to numerous appeals being allowed for housing developments where the local council cannot demonstrate that it has a committed 5-year land supply for housing.

The following points, on the other hand will not be taken into account in deciding on the acceptability of the development in planning terms :

• The precise identity of the applicant;
• The racial or ethnic origin of the applicant, their sexual orientation, religious beliefs, political views or affiliations or any other personal attributes;
• The reasons or motives of the applicant in applying for planning permission (for example if the development is thought to be purely speculative);
• Any profit likely to be made by the applicant;
• The behaviour of the applicant;
• Nuisance or annoyance previously caused by the applicant [unless this relates to an existing development for which retrospective permission is being sought];
• Concerns about possible future development of the site (as distinct from the actual development which is currently being proposed);
• Any effect on the value of neighbouring properties

And especially for the MP for Riveroak
Don’t waste time writing to your Member of Parliament. Even if he or she is persuaded to write in on behalf of constituents, the views expressed will carry no greater weight than those of any other objector. An MP has no authority or influence over the Council, and certainly cannot arbitrate or mediate in planning matters or act as some sort of appeal tribunal.

The people at Stone Hill Park writing in SOUTHEAST BUSINESS said the following

“Local MP, Sir Roger Gale, is actively supporting the bid by RiverOak to pursue a Development Consent Order to acquire the site and turn it into a cargo freight airport capable of handling 12,000 cargo movements a year (that’s 6,000 take-offs and 6,000 landings). This follows on from two failed attempts by RiverOak to convince Thanet District Council that it would be a suitable partner to try to acquire the land by way of Compulsory Purchase Order.
The DCO pre-application, now lodged with the Government, is for an airport capable of handling a sixfold increase in the largest cargo movements Manston has ever handled in the past. It would make Manston the second busiest air cargo hub in Britain, behind only East Midlands in terms of freight-only aircraft movements.
Our prediction that RiverOak’s CPO attempts would fail has proven correct and we are confident that any bid to compulsory acquire the land through DCO will also fail as it is not in the public interest.
We also believe the enormous set-up costs and lack of demand for such a freight airport will mean the plans would never get off the ground. The industry trend is for major passenger airlines to sell vacant space in the belly hold of long haul passenger aircraft to carry cargo, thus taking goods directly to the major centres for distribution, like London and the Midlands. We cannot see how anyone could undercut this in order to create a major cargo hub at Manston.
However, the potential delay and uncertainty this DCO process could cause is bad for the local economy and frustrating for local people. Therefore we have sought the advice of industry experts in order to give local people a clear picture of what RiverOak’s plans would mean for them.
The freight airport would result in a cargo plane, typically a 747 400 series, flying between 300-600ft over East Kent every 40 minutes, every day and night of the year, or more often during the day if night flight restrictions are in place. Particularly affected by the noise would be Ramsgate and villages surrounding the airfield that sit beneath the flight path.
Those who have worked in the industry tell us that typically, 12 trucks are used to unload a cargo plane and depart to various destinations so surrounding villages would not only have to contend with the loudest noise from continuous plane movements but also up to 400 articulated lorry movements every day in and out of the airport.
Historically the principal cargo flown into Manston was flowers and vegetables such as aubergines, peppers and courgettes with seasonal spikes between December and Easter.
In terms of the local economy it would seem self-defeating to support the mass importation of such perishables into the Garden of England when locally £135m is being invested into the state of the art, environmentally responsible, Thanet Earth at Birchington.
This incredible high tech greenhouse business is currently the UK’s largest producer of peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers with plans for further expansion.
We believe Sir Roger‘s obsession with the US investment corporation RiverOak has blinded him to the needs and wishes of his electorate.
Stone Hill Park’s plans, drawn up after extensive consultation with local communities, will provide 2,500 new homes, thousands of jobs, community facilities such as school, health, leisure and greenspace. This, along with a multi-million pound windfall to local councils and public services will provide a solution to the continued long term socio-economic decline of East Kent.
Sir Roger/RiverOaks plans for a cargo freight hub have been subject to zero public consultation to date and will:
  • bring noise pollution on a scale never seen before that will destroy the Georgian tranquillity of Ramsgate and surrounding area
  • inflict enormous strain on local roads and villages
  • flatten property prices.
All this without providing any solution to the local demand for jobs, homes and community resources.”
RiverOak’s application for an air cargo hub at Manston can be viewed at: