All Party Parliamentary Group asks Secretary of State to ‘call in’ Shoreham planning applications
23rd October 2018:
The All Party Parliamentary Group on General Aviation (APPG-GA) has written a letter1 urging the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, The Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, to ‘call in’ the decision to approve plans for a major new development on the edge of Brighton City Airport (Shoreham).
The New Monks Farm development, which would see over 600 new dwellings and commercial buildings constructed to the west and north east of the main 02/20 runway at Shoreham, was given outline approval by Adur District Council at a meeting held on the 3rd October. This approval was made despite the concerns of many Shoreham users that it would threaten the viability of operations at their airport.
The APPG-GA, consisting of 174 parliamentarians, considers it necessary to call in the planning application for a review because a number of aviation related issues created by its proximity to Shoreham have not been properly investigated and addressed by the Local Planning Authority.
Under the current plan, this significant development would place residential housing in close proximity to low flying fixed and rotary wing aircraft operating from Shoreham. Independent advice obtained by the APPG-GA has suggested that not only will buildings provide an additional landing hazard for these aircraft but the location of the residential houses will also expose local people to persistent helicopter noise on a daily basis. These factors combined have the potential to reduce the viability of this vital hub for general aviation on the south coast.
In contrast, the developer and Adur District Council claim that the new scheme will not affect existing airfield operations. This has not been substantiated by independent evidence. Although discussions may have been held with the Airfield Operator, little if any prior consultation took place with the businesses who actually operate from Shoreham. No attempt was made to procure independent technical reports on safety concerns raised by flight training organisations at the airport.
The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) now recognises the importance of maintaining a national network of general aviation airfields, recognising their contribution to national infrastructure and the UK economy2. This latest decision by Adur District Council seems to directly contradict this guidance.
Commenting on the letter asking the Secretary of State to review the decision, Chair of the APPG-GA, The Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP, said:
“The APPG-GA supports housebuilding and mixed-use aviation developments, however we are most concerned that the decision-making process adopted by the Local Planning Authority, coincidentally also the freehold owners of the two relevant sites, has not given due regard to protecting the continued safe operation of the airfield. This is a view clearly supported by existing users and independent consultants.”
Notes to Editors
- Please find attached a full text of the letter.
- National Planning Policy Framework Sub-paragraph 104(f): https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/740441/National_Planning_Policy_Framework_web_accessible_version.pdf
- For further information, please contact APPG-GA Head of Secretariat James Shipp at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0207 219 8497.