Rochester South and Horsted
Demolition of existing buildings (including control tower, old clubhouse two portacabins housing the airport office and Skytrek office) and construction of a new control tower and hub building, ancillary car park, family viewing area and associated engineering operations.
The Head of Planning outlined the planning application in detail and confirmed that the proposals currently under consideration solely related to the demolition of existing buildings (including the control tower, old clubhouse, two portacabins housing the airport office and Skytrek office) and construction of a new control tower and hub building, ancillary car park, family viewing area and associated engineering operations.
These works would modernise the buildings and serve the needs of existing occupants and users of the airport without changing the key operational elements of the airport, including craft type, numbers, flight lines and operational hours.
He advised that, as a result of this application and planning application MC/18/2509 elsewhere on the agenda, continued use of the cross runway 34/16 would not be possible. Once this runway ceased to operate, not all aircraft would be suited to using the main runway in adverse weather conditions and would therefore be required to land at an alternative airport.
The Head of Planning outlined the main issues for consideration and stressed that there was not a requirement for the Committee to consider the potential impacts of the number of aircraft movements at the airport as these would not increase as a direct result of these proposals.
Tabitha Knowles, Lichfields Planning Consultant advised the Committee that although the application only related to the erection of a new control tower and hub building, Lichfields had produced an independent Aeronautical Review considering the proposals against aeronautical regulations and guidance, and to identify and assess any aeronautical and safeguarding impacts.
She referred to the conclusions of the review and confirmed that there was no potential for significant environmental effects associated with public safety and risk giving rise to a need for an Environmental Impact Assessment.
The Head of Planning advised the Committee that Highways England had raised the issue of whether the proposal could have potential to impact on the safe and efficient operation of the strategic road network, in this case particularly the M2 in the vicinity of junction 3. Highways England had requested that the applicant carry out a Design Manual for Roads and Bridges (DMRB) compliant risk assessment and, as appropriate, put forward proposals to avoid or mitigate any risks to the safe operation of the Strategic Road Network. The applicant had commissioned an assessment and this was currently with Highways England and a response awaited. Taking this into account, if the Committee was minded to approve the application, it was suggested that the Head of Planning be granted delegated authority to approve the application with conditions subject to Highways England removing its holding objection.
The Committee discussed the application and in particular the mechanism by which aircraft might need to divert to an alternative airport in adverse weather conditions following the closure of cross runway 34/16. In response to questions, Tabitha Knowles advised that both the airport and pilots using the airport were governed by strict regulations imposed by the Civil Aviation Authority, including regulations covering safety.
A Member requested that a copy of the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges (DMRB) compliant risk assessment be made available to the Committee.
a) The Head of Planning be granted delegated authority to approve the planning application subject to Highways England removing its holding objection and subject to conditions 1 – 25 as set out in the report for the reasons stated in the report.
b) A copy of the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges (DMRB) compliant risk assessment be circulated to all Members of the Committee for information.