Airport claims expert’s evidence ‘misguided’

LYDD airport bosses claimed this week that evidence given against their expansion plans by a planning expert was “misguided”

Last week former planning inspector Anthony Bingham gave evidence at the public inquiry into the proposals to build a new pasenger terminal and extend the runway at Lydd Airport.

Mr Bingham told the inquiry that refusal should be recommended to the Secretary of State, claiming the plans for a runway extension and a new terminal building at Lydd were contrary to Shepway District Council’s own planning policies.

He also raised the issue of development at Manston airport and suggested that additional airport capacity should be focused there instead of Lydd.

A Lydd Airport spokesman said: As a self-proclaimed ‘expert witness’, Mr Bingham’s criticisms of the airport’s modernisation plans have been widely reported by the media.

“Lydd Airport would like to set the record straight about the misguided evidence put forward by Mr Bingham.

“Since barristers representing Lydd Airport and Shepway District Council had not had advance sight of the seven pages of evidence produced by Mr Bingham – and therefore had no chance of providing a response – he was invited to return to the inquiry on Friday July 8 to make himself available for cross-examination.

“As a result of this questioning, it became apparent that Mr Bingham had based his objections on erroneous information and incomplete evidence, which resulted in an unbalanced view of the applications.

“Critically, he was under the impression that the planning application was for a terminal capable of handling up to two million passengers a year. This is wrong – our application is for a terminal capable of handling up to 500,000 passengers a year. As a result, all of his objections were based on this incorrect interpretation of the applications.

“His claims that Shepway councillors voted in favour of the applications despite this being contrary to the local authority’s own planning policy is also wrong and it was clear that Mr Bingham had not considered all of the relevant policies himself.

“The basis for Mr Bingham’s claims about development at Manston taking priority over Lydd was also proved to be incorrect during the cross-examination – it is clear that national policy supports them both.

“Unfortunately Mr Bingham rushed to judgement on Lydd Airport when he was not in possession of all the facts, had not considered any of the evidence from Lydd Airport and therefore his claim to be an ‘expert witness’ due to his previous occupation cannot be substantiated.”