19th October 2018
Please find below also the response from our Press Officer – Nicholas Reed:
Ronald McCartny is quite right! (“A sensible alternative to Heathrow already exists”, October 19) Manston has many advantages to Heathrow. Until Manston Airport was closed, most of its planes flew straight over the English Channel within minutes of taking off, and could arrive at Schiphol Airport, an international ‘hub’ airport almost as big as Heathrow, within 35 minutes! The sooner it comes back, the better.
As MPs have noticed, it is the one airport in the country where 80% of the locals want it to return, and get bigger!
30th August, 2018
Sir Tam Dalyell, Laird and former Labour Member of Parliament for Linlithgow and Father of the House, was renowned in the Commons and in his constituency for his fixation with the sinking Argentine battleship The Belgrano during the Falklands war.
I am aware that in the House and in Kent I have also, though less distinguished, become recognised for another single issue – a determination to secure the re-opening of Manston airfield as a working airport. Unlike Sir Tam`s fruitless campaign, however, I believe that my just cause will, in the National interest, be brought to fruition and that in the fullness of time planes will once again fly from Manston airfield.
That cause recently took a significant step forward with the acceptance for examination, by the National Planning Inspectorate, of an application for a development Consent Order on Manston. The PINS, as it is known, has recognised that, as I have been saying since the airport was peremptorily and unnecessarily closed, Manston is a site of national as well as local significance. That more has already been spent by the RiverOak Strategic Partnership on the preparation of the DCO application than was demanded by the owner of the site as the full and offered asking price gives the lie to those who have sought to suggest that RSP does not have sufficient resources to do the job. That fact that has been recognised by the Leader of Thanet District Council Bob Bayford, and his new Conservative administration of Thanet Council and by TDC`s senior officers, in a submitted Local Plan that has given the breathing space to allow for Manston to be up and flying again in time to meet an urgent national need for post-Brexit runway capacity in the South East.
There is now the opportunity for the submission to be properly and thoroughly scrutinised, for those who have criticised the project to have their say, for the true facts relating to environmental impact, business plan and resources to be aired and examined and for a sound judgement to be reached. I hope and expect that in the local and in the national interest that process will be expedited and that work on the complete and necessary refurbishment of the airfield can commence as swiftly as possible.
In common with the clear majority of local people voting in recent General, County and Local elections I want to see passenger traffic and General Aviation operating from Manston in the shortest order practicably achievable. I recognise, though, that there is a desperate and growing demand for capacity to handle air freight in order to enable the United Kingdom to take advantage of developing markets outside the European Union and that it is that trade that will create the bedrock for a financially successful state-of-the-art Manston Hub and that warrants the many tens of millions of pounds worth in new infrastructure that will be required. That does not, for the record, demand scheduled night flights and although there will always be, as there has been in the past, a need for the flexibility to handle emergency, disaster relief and delayed aircraft I know of nothing in the RSP proposals that will require the `night flying` that remains the stuff of anti-airport fiction.
Traditionally much air freight, particularly into a Heathrow that is now bursting at the seams, has been carried as `belly cargo` in passenger aircraft. As recent interest in sales expressed at the Farnborough Air Show has demonstrated, however, there is now an increasing requirement for dedicated or multi-purpose aircraft designed to carry long-haul perishable and high value materials and products between continents. While air freight represents only a tiny fraction of goods trafficked in terms of volume it represents a very significant and rapidly expanding percentage of goods in terms of value. UK limited, if our post-Brexit economy is to compete, survive and grow as it must, has to secure its fair share of traffic and business that will otherwise be lost to mainland European airports.
With the development of exciting rail as well as road transport links currently under consideration I believe that Manston has the realisable potential to be once again on the front line of service to the United Kingdom and while that may appear, to some, as an obsession I believe that it is a justification of a determination to succeed.
23rd August 2018
This letter, by our Press Officer, Nicholas Reed, was published in the Comments section of the Isle of Thanet News on 28th June, 2018
Re articles by Matthew and Melissa, on Manston Airport,
published on 23rd June 2018
Our group Why Not Manston? are extremely suspicious about the new written debate on Manston published in the Isle of Thanet News on 23rd June. Within less than one day of these articles being published, your newspaper managed to come up with the figure of 36% support for the airport, and 63% against! That information was hidden in the body of the published debate, i.e. after the two articles, and before all the comments sent in by readers. That percentage is totally contrary to every other poll on the subject held in Thanet.
Where did the paper suddenly find 530 people opposed to the airport, within less than 24 hours of the poll being published? One of the most detailed anti-airport comments comes from someone apparently called “Max Sense”. What a highly unusual name. Has he written anywhere else?
This new “poll” is also totally contrary to the genuine democratic vote in the last local elections, where the one party which made clear that its primary policy was to bring back Manston, was given an overwhelming majority to carry out that policy. No-one guessed that they, or rather their leader, would completely change his mind on the matter. So who is the polling organisation which produced this poll in the newspaper? Is it independent? Is the poll overseen by an impartial auditor, as happens with reputable public opinion polls who publish their findings?
The opponents of Manston keep on making nasty remarks about RSP being a new company only a year old. In fact, under the rules of a DCO, the reason the new company exists is that a DCO cannot be applied for, by a company based outside Great Britain. Since Riveroak is in the USA, they have set up a separate British company, called RSP, which can legitimately apply for the DCO. But of course RSP it is still backed by money from outside, which is perfectly legitimate as long as that is declared in public.
We are also worried about procedures for discussion of the request for the Development Consent Order. We originally understood that they would be held like a public enquiry, where everything could be discussed and explained, with evidence published, and with prominent supporters on both sides giving oral evidence. That is exactly what happened when the House of Commons Transport Committee asked for evidence about Manston some five years ago, and every side had its say in a Committee Room of the House of Commons. We have since got the impression that the panel of judges appointed by the DOE will not meet in public! It would be good to have a reassurance that their proceedings will be held in public, as they should.
Nicholas Reed – Press Officer – Why Not Manston?
28th June 2018
Isle of Thanet Gazette
11th May 2018
Isle of Thanet Gazette
9th March 2018
Isle of Thanet Gazette
Council Cabinet Treachery
– how can they dare to look their electorate in the face again?
The answer is they cannot . Having reneged on the promises to support the regeneration of Manston Airport they and their arch renegade Chris Wells ought to be booted out of office for defying their electorate at the next election.
The following nonsense appeared in the article by Joyeeta Basu in the Gazette Oct 27 p14…the council said yesterday that building an airport was not viable – pointing to the fact that several attempts at operating a commercial airport had previously failed.
That failure lay with the small scale and half baked business plans of operators who were attempting to run uneconomic passenger airlines there on a shoestring with unsuitable aircraft. Feeble support from the New Zealand based airport owner Infratil ran down Manston, just as Infratil had also run down Glasgow/Prestwick while they owned it. Having achieved the status of “loss making”, Infratil sold both airports for £1 within a few weeks of each other. It is interesting that the founders of Stagecoach – Ann Gloag (buyer of Manston) and her brother – Sir Brian Souter (prominent financier of the SNP in control of the Scottish Government – which instantly purchased Glasgow/Prestwick) are involved in the buying of these airports. Why? Well, Glasgow airport was sold to Infratil in January 2001 for £33.4 million by guess who?….Yes, Stagecoach. Stagecoach meanwhile have built up considerable coaching assets in New Zealand, no doubt using similar ‘tactics’ as in the UK, until in November 2005 when Stagecoach agreed a sale for NZ$250.5m to guess who?…..Yes, Infratil. One wonders if there is some rather special relationship between these enterprises.
According to Joyeeta Basu…the Council further noted that: jobs and homes were needed and therefore the proposal (..2500 homes, business park, sport recreational facilities parkland and outdoor space) was making the best of a redundant facility.
The airport is not redundant but has been deliberately closed by Ann Gloag and her consortium who aim to make maximum financial gain from housing. The leader of the last administration of Thanet District Council, Iris Johnston, made entirely clear that there is already enough brownfield and other sites within Thanet District to provide for the Government’s extra house building requirements without sacrificing Manston with its unique and priceless EXISTING runway. It is indeed the most perfect target for the housebuilders because of clear open space, but housing will do nothing for the creation of jobs and wealth, with a multitude of spin offs and secondary businesses that will come. It seems utterly absurd that Blackpool Council is spending £4.25 million buying back Blackpool Airport to secure the airport as an important hub for the benefit of the whole region and millions are being spent to secure the future of Leeds Bradford whilst our own Council appears complicit in doing its best to thwart Manston’s easily achievable success. It will not cost Thanet Council a brass farthing – RiverOak Strategic Partners stand ready to invest hundreds of millions in the expansion of the airport hardstanding and related servicing buildings to make it an entirely viable operation. At a time when Brexit will create overwhelming expansion of our import and export operations….all Thanet Council has to do it has to do is stop its treacherous efforts to stifle the rebirth of our airport.
Geoffrey Illsley – Vice Chairman, Why Not Manston?
Isle of Thanet Gazette
All the latest on the airport’s future….
I’m sure I’m not the only resident of Thanet to be confused by the Leader of the Council’s recent comments concerning Manston airport.
At the end of last year, the Thanet Cabinet decided to make a drastic change to its draft Local Plan by designating the Manston airport site as an area for “mixed use development”. This changed the site’s previous designation as an airport. There can be no doubting the Council’s intentions when this was done because Cllr Wells made it very clear that the site had no future as an airport
The draft Local Plan is now out for consultation and I have not seen anything which suggests that the Council is intending to change its position regarding the re-zoning of the airport site. This means that, if the Local Plan is finally adopted in its current draft form, the Council’s wishes will become part of the planning framework and Manston will no longer be zoned as an airport.
How does Cllr Wells reconcile this with his statement as recently as that published in the Gazette two weeks ago that, “we are working hard to bring back the airport.” How can this be a correct statement if steps have already been taken to re-zone it for mixed use?
I was even more confused when reading Cllr Wells letter in the Gazette in which he comments that, if RiverOak succeed with their plans for the airport, “a third of all planned flights could be at night.” I’d love to know where Cllr Wells gets his one third figure from as firstly, I have never heard or read this anywhere in RiverOak’s plans and secondly, according to the current section 106 agreement there are restrictions on night flights which would clearly prohibit this.
So I have two questions for Cllr Wells –
Do you support the council’s draft Local Plan or do you want an operational airport?
Why do you not put forward proposals for a revised section 106 which clearly stipulates precisely what would and would not be acceptable and which could even include stricter controls on night flights.
Night flights are not dependent on what RiverOak wants – they are dependent on the terms of a new section 106 agreement which has to be agreed by the Planning Inspectorate. So please, Cllr Wells, as a TDC resident, I would like some honesty and clarity from you – as I am sure many others would too.
MANSTON AIRPORT – SECTION 106
We have all been reading about Section 106 in the press recently but most people have absolutely no idea of the details.
We have been looking into this for our own information and would now like to share our understanding of it with local residents.
Section 106 is actually the Agreement under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 between TDC and Kent International Airport and is dated 26th September 2000 and contains conditions and guidelines set out by TDC which govern flights in to and out of Manston Airport. That Agreement has never been terminated and therefore currently remains in place.
The S106 Agreement covers many points, but as it is often being quoted with respect to night flights, we are highlighting those clauses relating to that aspect of airport operations:
Flights can only take off and land between the hours of 07.00 and 23.00.
Only exceptions are for:
a. PASSENGER flights departing to Europe or arriving from North America with a noise level of Quota Count 4 or less are permitted to take off / land between 06.00 and 07.00
b. Humanitarian, mercy or emergency flights by relief organisations on not more than 12 occasions during any calendar year
Furthermore there are significant financial penalties if the airport permits any night flight for an aircraft exceeding the Quota Count 4 noise level.
Virtually every airport in the world has night time flying restrictions and there is no reason for Manston to be an exception to that.
As part of the public consultations which RiverOak Strategic Partners are currently holding, they are asking for feed-back from local residents on the RSP plans and will collate that information and take it into account when they finalise their operation plans for Manston in their DCO Application later this year.
If RSP are successful in having the application accepted for examination by an Inspector there will then follow a period of six months next year during which time the Inspector will consider all the conditions to be imposed on airport operations. This will include the conditions for a future section 106 Agreement.
To be clear, the DCO Inspector and then the Secretary of State for Transport will have the final say on what goes into a new S106 Agreement. However they will pay serious regard to the views of TDC as the local planning authority and they will expect there to be a constructive dialogue between TDC and RSP leading to a
“Statement of Common Ground” if possible. Ideally, at the end of that process there would be a revised S106 which could amend the timings, set the restrictions on aircraft types and noise levels for any night flights etc.
Finally, part of the DCO process involves many studies, one of which is the noise impact of night flights for local residents. For the purpose of this study, RSP have made an assumption of 8 night flights but this is purely for the study – it is not part of their operations plans and this is the basis of much confusion.
Signed by: Why Not Manston?”
Isle of Thanet Gazette
20th January 2017
Isle of Thanet Gazette
13th January 2017
“DRAMATIC and urgent action has been taken by Stratford-on-Avon District Council to prevent the demolition of buildings at Wellesbourne Airfield.
31/8/16 Meeting Notes published for meeting on 19th July between RiverOak and Planning Inspectorate see HERE
2/9/16 Public Enquiry for change of use appeals to be held 1st November 2016 see HERE
Isle of Thanet Gazette
THANET council cabinet members have voted not to pursue a compulsory purchase of the Manston airport site, but the move is unlikely to mark the end of the saga.
Cabinet unanimously agreed to officers’ recommendations published last week, which concluded potential partners RiverOak did not have “appropriate financial status” to operate an airport.
However, an additional motion was passed, meaning the council will write to RiverOak requesting the American firm sends confidential financial information to Transport Minister John Hayes for further inspection.
The move comes after council leader Iris Johnston held talks over the airport with the minister in London today (Thursday). Speaking at the cabinet meeting, Cllr Johnston said: “The council cannot be expected to take a leap of faith- we have to be mindful. “We cannot risk council tax payers’ funds and we have to have an indemnity partner that covers all the costs.”
Around 100 airport campaigners stood outside the local authority’s offices in Cecil Square, Margate before and during the meeting.
Conservative group leader Bob Bayford said: “People cannot seem to understand why the only people who are not in favour of a CPO is us [Thanet council]
“The people are looking to you [Cllr Johnston] to go for this- they’re looking for leadership and I do not think up until now that has really happened.”
All councillors will now debate the wider issues surrounding the Manston airport site at an extraordinary meeting scheduled to take place on December 16.
Isle of Thanet Gazette
8th August 2014
Isle of Thanet Gazette
1st August 2014
31st July 2014
25th July 2014
18th July 2014
18th July 2014
11th July 2014
3rd July 2014
20th June 2014
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