Press Release: May 16  2011

Ex Principle planning Inspector tells Public Inquiry that application for Lydd Airport’s expansion should be refused

The UK’s former Principal Planning Inspector Anthony Bingham TD Dipl Arch ARIBA MRTPI told a shocked meeting of the public inquiry today:
 “In the whole of my career I have never encountered proposals that are so contrary to so many planning policies”. I urge the Inspector to come to the same conclusion and to recommend refusal of the application to the Secretary of State”

Mr Bingham, now retired, had earlier told the meeting that he has over 50 years of experience in the planning and development industry and had worked with various planning authorities, Including Shepway District council. He explained that he had worked in the Planning Inspectorate, the body which is responsible for conducting planning inquiries, for over 35 years, and had held the position of Principal Inspector for over ten years. 

He supported his highly critical statement with a very detailed review of the provisions included in Shepway District Council’s Local plans which had been cited by the Council’s planning witness Terry Ellames earlier on in the inquiry. 

 Mr Bingham took time to review the proposals against over twenty specific policies and demonstrated in a calm authoritative way how the plans which Shepway have approved, fail to satisfy the planning policies which they themselves wrote and adopted. 

In his summing up he also asked the Inspector to look at nearby Manston Airport , which already has a long runway, large modern passenger handling facilities, is served by better road and rail connections than Lydd  yet remains under utilised.  In his view, which was shared by many of the people attending the meeting, Manston could provide any additional capacity which may be required in Kent without harming sites of nature conservation or contradicting so many planning directives or policies.

 Peter Morris/ Lydd Airport Action Group/ 07766 680 990/  

Notes to Editors:

Lydd Airport (which is owned by Sheikh Fahad al-Athel, a Saudi businessman) received planning permission from Shepway District Council on March 3, 2010 (a) to extend the runway at Lydd by 444metres to accommodate passenger jets (b) to build a new terminal to accommodate up to 500,000 passengers per annum (p.p.a.). In 2010 Lydd Airport carried less than 500 passenger. 

Following over 14,000 letters in protest, the Secretary of State called in the decision for review by a Public Inquiry which started in Folkestone on February 15th, 2011, and is scheduled to be completed in September 2011. 

Lydd airport is located on an ecologically sensitive site near Dungeness on Romney Marsh, Kent. It is located less than 3 miles from the Dungeness nuclear complex and lies between two active MOD gunnery ranges at Hythe and Lydd 

English Nature, RSPB, CPRE Kent & Kent Wildlife Trust, are all opposed to the development, and are presenting evidence at the inquiry. 

LAAG is an action group formed in 2004 to oppose the large scale development of Lydd airport. LAAG has ~3000 active members.