Read the latest press released from Chocks - Go Away
Everything you need to know
to help fight the appeal
June 2023 appeal update!
The airfield appeal hearing is fast approaching and we are making plans for some of our expert team to attend. Unfortunately, due to the costs of the written phase of work we will need to raise some additional funds to cover the costs of both preparations for the hearing and also attendance for the full day (plus travel time). As a result we have reluctantly raised our GoFundMe target to ensure we have the best possible representation at the hearing on the day. This is the last push, after the hearing the appeal will be decided by the Inspector with a decision letter expected in July. The community has been incredible in its support and shown immense resolve in opposing this proposal, we are almost there now.
The community's donations allowed our experts to make detailed representations to the Inspector during the written phase of the appeal. This phase has now closed and Le Vaillant Owen submitted a comprehensive assessment of the planning issues which extended to 28 pages and covered all the issues in depth. Our acoustic consultantancy, Hayes McKenzie Partnership, also submitted a detailed examination of the technical issues with the appellant's case in respect of noise. Both of these documents were also supported by advice and input from our fantastic senior planning solictor at leading law firm Leigh Day. He has been a fantastic support and his expertise on complex planning law and procedures has been instrumental throughout the process. This written phase came at consierable cost with many hours of work from our team.
The hearing will take place at 10am on the 20th of June at DDC's offices. The hearing is a public event and residents can register to attend and are encouraged to do so. Registering for attendance allows DDC to ensure adequate space and seating (attendance requests should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org)
The hearing follows a format where any representatives of the appellant, DDC and other interested parties or members of the public may speak to address the hearing. The Inspector will then lead discussion and ask questions on any key issues or topics where he/she requires more information or clarification. We are aiming to bring some of our team to the hearing to ensure that our experts can make statements to hearing on behalf of the community and address any questions from the Inspector on the evidence they have submitted on our behalf. The hearing then closes and the Inspector will write up a decision notice either allowing the appeal (granting planning permission) or dismissing it (refusing planning permission). The decision will also include a detailed disussion of the issues and reasons behind the decision
This final fund raise aims to ensure we have the best representation on the day and give us the best chance of the appeal being dismissed. The community has put up an incredible fight and this is the last push to ensure our villages stayquiet and peaceful.
Why do we need to raise more money
and how is the money managed?
We are raising our fundraising target to ensure we can contest the appeal on behalf of the community. The raised GoFundMe target reflects the expected further costs of engaging our expert advisors to challenge the appeal.
We recognise that the campaign has already raised a very significant amount of money when we contested the prior planning application, the new target aims to fund work related to the appeal but we wanted take a moment to remind our donors how the community’s campaign funds are managed.
Accounting - We have an appointed group treasurer who accounts for every penny donated. No spend is made without approval by the nine members of the committee.
All invoices are kept and, when the campaign ends, we will be arranging an independent inspection to show that all monies are accounted for. The committee recognises that they are entrusted with funds donated by the community and the money is managed with great care and diligence.
Professional Fees - During the planning application consultation we engaged a team of professional advisors and consultants who provided qualified assessments planning issues. Such expert representations are given far greater weight by planning officers and inspectors. Our consultants recognise that they are employed by a community group and they seek to ensure we get the best value and favourable fee terms. Nevertheless, professional fees are not cheap and require considerable funds which reflect the very significant amounts of time required from our advisors to address the complex and technical planning issues in this application and appeal. It also remains the case that the CGA committee members and a significant number of other local volunteers all give their time freely, money is only spent on professional fees and campaign materials.
A recap on just some of the work done to-date,
all funded by your donations:
Planning consultancy from Le Vaillant Owen – many hours of research on planning policy and material considerations to inform multiple letters of representation on planning policy, habitats, groundwater, landscape character, heritage, highways, public rights of way, along with liaison with other consultants acting for us and tracking the progress of the planning consultation with DDC. Le Vaillant Owen also prepared and delivered a representation at the planning committee meeting in October 2022.
Noise consultancy from Hayes McKenzie - our consultant has written multiple in-depth technical assessments on noise issues, and also carried out a full week long on site noise survey which was crucial to allow a proper baseline. This work has taken many hours and resulted in detailed expert noise representations.
Planning law advice from Leigh Day – we have engaged an experienced and highly regarded planning solicitor who has in-depth knowledge of habitats regulations (relevant to the impact of the airfield on the nearby bird reserves), planning policy and law. Our solicitor made some crucial representations on complex points of planning law at several points in the determination of the application.
Press and Promotional Material – we had many requests from residents for garden signs to indicate support for the campaign during the planning consultation. We also ran leaflet campaigns and took out adverts in the local press, these ensured awareness was raised and that the strength of the campaign was clear. These elements added a modest but not insignificant amount on top of the professional fees
What happens during the appeal
and how does the process work?
Applicants have the right to appeal against a refusal of planning consent. Appeals are not decided by local authorities, they are handled by a central government body, the Planning Inspectorate.
The applicant lodged an appeal against Dover District Council’s decision to refuse consent for the proposed airfield at Manor Farm with the Planning Inspectorate in January. The Inspectorate assessed the applicant’s appeal and the refused application to decide which appeal procedure would be followed. In this case, the Inspector has selected the Informal Hearing procedure and the appeal has now been formally started.
Following the appeal start, DDC published the applicant’s appeal statement of case and other initial correspondence. DDC also wrote to all parties who made comments on the application to advise them that an appeal had started, many of you have received this letter. Documents associated with the appeal have been published by DDC in the same location as those for the planning application.
When deciding an appeal, the assigned Planning Inspector will re-determine the whole application considering the applicant's statement of case, DDC's reasons for refusal,
and all other material considerations. All comments and documents previously
submitted to the application are reviewed.
There are two elements to the Informal Hearing procedure with associated dates:
The deadline for any written representations to the Inspector is the 28th of March 2023. CGA is reviewing the applicant's statement of case and will submit written representations. Note the Inspector will also see and take account of all comments made on the prior application.
The Hearing will take place at Dover District Council’s offices at 10:00 am on the 20th of June. The public can register to attend (see your letter from DDC). Any interested person can ask to make a statement at the Hearing. The Inspector has discretion in deciding who can speak but the process is intended to be open and it is expected that any party would be able to put forward a view and address the hearing.
The Hearing will allow the Inspector to hear statements from the applicant, DDC, the public and any other interested parties. The Inspector may then ask questions, seek clarification or initiate discussion on any key points he/she notes. Once the Hearing closes the Inspector will then carry out a final review and a written decision will follow on or before the 8th of July.