Wednesday, 25 January 2012


No, this is not a new type of TV or computer screen. Many of you may have happened upon this abbreviation whilst reading the planning section of the consultants report commissioned by Thanet District Council about night flying proposals at Manston airport. The abbreviation stands for Lawful Development Certificate and is issued by a local authority when an applicant requests such a certificate based on a use which has been  established for at least 10 years and is subsisting on a site. The local authority is obliged to issue such a certificate if the necessary conditions are met.

This goes a long way to explaining the current unsatisfactory planning situation at Kent International Airport. Faced with a declining military use for Manston airport the Ministry of Defence applied for LDCs to support the changeover to civilian use, which had been happening in some parts of the airport in parallel with the military use. Faced with such an influential applicant, I think TDC conceded their position and relied on a loosely drafted 106 agreement in an attempt to control the situation.

Under normal circumstances an established use LDC and a 106 agreement would be sufficient to control any future development proposals. However in the case of night flights this is only an increase in traffic movements, not really a planning matter, as “intensification” can only be controlled if a material change of use can be proved. The 106 agreement does not even require approval of a night flying policy only that one is submitted prior to commencement. It therefore follows that Manston can commence night flying tomorrow, having submitted a policy, hence night flying for the Olympics and maybe after.

Infratil is not advertising this loophole however, because airport expansion inevitably requires new buildings.(see picture above). Any new building on the airfield will require full planning permission, which is best wrapped up in glossy expansion plans with a promise of many jobs to mask the transition from their established use on LDC, to expansion requiring planning permission.

For those of you interested in this subject you may like to read a previous post of mine on the same subject here, it would appear now that I was not in possession of the full facts at the time and the title should have read "Night Flying Consultation UNNECESSARY!"

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