RiverOak’s suggestion that their failure to access the Manston site is the reason for scrapping any formal consultation this year can be taken with a pinch of salt. It appears, the decision was only taken last week.
When a local resident wrote to the Manston Airport Consultation Scheme to express concern that his critical feedback had disappeared, the reply, dated September 16 2016, stated:
“Please also be assured that this was only the informal part of our consultation programme, and that a formal consultation will take place later in the year.”
No mention of any delay due to problems accessing the site.
Just five days later when RiverOak came clean on their failure to meet their own statutory consultation deadline, George Yerrall, of RiverOak Investments, told the press: “statutory consultation will now take place early in the new year.”
Formal/statutory consultation takes a lot of planning. You have to engage professionals rather than biased volunteers from a local lobby group, hire venues and advertise. You also have to ensure all feedback is included.
RiverOak and their associates should have realised months ago that formal consultation was not going to take place during the third quarter of 2016.
Yet, even in mid-September local residents were misled with re-assurances that RiverOak would keep their word on formal consultation this Autumn. Only as the clock struck 12 did RiverOak admit to the truth.
If an organisation can’t get their own timetable right and misleads the public in this way, how can they run an airport?