Thursday, 7 July 2016

Tomorrow Friday 8th July 2016 is the last day to comment on the Stone Hill Park plans for the Manston airport site.

The future of the Manston Airport site is one of the most significant decisions for the future of Thanet as a whole and there are various possibilities as to what may happen to the site, the most likely seems to be the current owners developing the site, which is what this outline application is for.

The first factor in any large development plans is do the developers have any track record and are they likely to carry out roughly what they are asking for planning consent to do.

In this case the owners are also the owners of Discovery Park as Sandwich, which has become the main centre of quality employment in this area, they took over the running of discovery park when the previous owner decided to pull out and have achieved pretty much what they said they would there.

Their plans for Manston are for a mixed use site, quality housing and high speck light industrial unites.

They include, 85,000 square meters of manufacturing space aiming to provide 2,000 skilled jobs, 2500 houses (this needs to be taken within the government remit that TDC has to find land for just under 16,000 homes), land and funding for two primary schools and funding for secondary school pupils, an East Kent Sports Village, wave garden, there is also scope within the application for application for community facilities such as a GP surgery, community centre and local shops.

The bottom line being that a company with a good local track record who already own a local development providing employment for around 2,000 people want to build another development doing something similar. You may wish to look at their plans and comment on them.


Stone Hill Park website

You can comment online, on the council’s website (before midnight tomorrow), if you can get it to work, if you can’t you can email your comments to the council, your email must be sent by midnight tomorrow and must include your name and address, contact phone number also recommended, here is the planning department’s email address

The council’s planning website is a tenuous and unreliable piece of technology, inclined to time out and say the page is unavailable so I would recommend trying to look at other comments there and then typing your own comment out in MS Word or some other word processing program before you start your personal battle with their website.

I did email the council essentially asking them if there was much point in bothering to comment, here is my eamil:-

Re my phone call about comments on using the new planning website; I am writing to request the information that wasn’t immediately at hand to the officer I spoke to, at his request.

With respect to public comments, (these were not previously published in the way they are on the new planning site) meaning that the way they are handled is pertinent to using responding to applications.

1 Comments appear either to have the respondents name and address redacted to the street name, or to have no respondents name or address. Does this mean where comments have no respondents name or address that neither were supplied to the council, and if so are these valid comments?

2 Are the comments weighted to the respondents location, and if so by what method? To expand on this would UK taxpayers opinions be of more significance that those of foreign nationals and TDC council taxpayers and local residents be of the most significance?

3 Does the council have some method of ensuring that multiple comments are not made by one respondent under different aliases? For instance, without one, the applicant could make multiple comments supporting their application and so influence the planning committee.   

As discussed on the phone it is my intention to comment of some live applications, using your new website, and as these have relatively short time windows during which I can comment, your prompt reply would be much appreciated.

And here is the council’s reply:-

"Dear Mr Child

Thank you for your email. We appreciate that the Manston Airport Application is large and that the website might timeout when viewing all the documents. We are working with providers to improve this, and the application is also available to view in hardcopy in the Gateway.

All comments that come through our public access are passed to the planning officer responsible for the application. We do not accept comments without the customer name and address information being provided. The system automatically redacts all of the personal information from the comments available to view online, due to data protection legislation, which means that this information does not show on the website.

The Council is legally obliged to take into account the comments from members of the public and other interested parties when deciding all planning applications. Furthermore, the Council encourages local residents to have their say in planning matters. However, it is important to remember that the Council is responsible for making the final decision on the application and for deciding how much “weight” comments have on its final decision.

Mandie McKenzie
Principal Technical Officer
Thanet District Council"       

1 comment:

  1. I find it significant that the 'consultation' meetings for the 'Stone Hill Park' owners were held at two locations that are almost impossible for Margate and Ramsgate residents to get to without a car or taxi. In contrast, next week's River Oak proposals for Manston are at venues easily accessible by public transport in most of Thanet's main towns. River Oak already demonstrate a more open and businesslike attitude than the other lot.


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