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Representations published and panel selected for next stage of Manston Development Consent Order bid

October 26, 2018 Kathy Bailes Isle of Thanet News

Manston airport site

Just over 2,000 representations have been made by Thanet residents and by organisations and businesses in response to a Development Consent Order application submitted by the firm hoping to bring aviation back to the Manston airport site.

RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP) resubmitted its application for the DCO on July 16 after withdrawing a previous submission.

The DCO seeks development consent and compulsory acquisition powers over the land. It is the means of obtaining permission for developments categorised as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP). This includes energy, transport, water and waste projects.

The DCO application was originally submitted to the government Planning Inspectorate (PINS) at the beginning of April. It was withdrawn in early May after PINS’ requested further information about parts of the application. These related to funding, to the categorisation of the project as being of national significance, and to aspects of the supporting environmental statements.

The resubmitted application was accepted for the pre-examination stage by the Planning Inspectorate in August.

Among the representations made to the Planning Inspectorate are submissions from the Ministry of Defence, Historic England, Highways England, Dover and Thanet district councils, Kent County Council and a document from law firm Pinsent Masons on behalf of landowner Stone Hill Park.

SHP objection

In the document SHP say the report, by Azimuth Associates, putting forward RSP’s case was ‘deeply flawed.’

Pinsent Masons also question the validity of any backing from Thanet council. Saying: “ TDC has a troubled history of dispute between Members and officers, with Members seeking to overrule evidence led professional advice from its officer team.”

The submission adds: “SHP objects to the inclusion of the SHP Land and its interests within the scope of compulsory acquisition powers in the proposed DCO.

“SHP has a realistic and viable development proposal for much needed housing and mixed use development, whereas RSP’s proposal is, at best , speculative but with no realistic prospect of a long term viable operation.”

Backing from Dover

The submission from Dover District Council supports the DCO application, saying: “DDC welcomes and offers its full support to RiverOak Strategic Partners’ (RSP) proposal to re-open Manston Airport as an operational freight-focused airport and recognises the positive contribution it would make to the regeneration of the East Kent economy, as well as the UK’s aviation economy.”

Mixed messages from Thanet councillors

Thanet council says: “Thanet District Council does not object to this development of the airport for aviation and has made significant efforts to support a functioning aviation use on the site,” adding issues, such as the Draft Local Plan, need to be taken into consideration.

However, a submission from Thanet’s UKIP and Independent Group alliance objects to the proposal, stating: “It is the contention of the UKIP and Independent group on Thanet District Council that the RSP application to PINS for a Development Consent Order for the Manston Airport site lacks the necessary coherence, evidence, and credibility to gain approval and create a genuinely functioning aviation operation which could be tolerated by the local community.”

Wildlife, heritage and public health

Kent Wildlife Trust raises concerns in its submission about the impact on species and habitats, at the site and immediately surrounding area while Historic England submits worries over the “risk of potential harm to heritage assets.”

Public Health England said it welcomed the work already carried out but would like more evidence in areas such as sleep disturbance and noise mitigation.

Parish council support

The revived airport plan has received backing in submissions from Cliffsend Parish Council and Minster Parish Council although the latter adds: “We seek assurance that night flights will be kept to a minimum.”

Representations by the public have also been made and appear to be fairly evenly split between objections and support.

Political responses

South Thanet Labour parliamentary hopeful Rebecca Gordon Nesbitt submitted a representation raising concerns over night flights and noise mitigation.

In regards to the submissions she said: “I’m impressed that over 2,000 submissions were made to PINs as part of the DCO application process. This shows a high level of engagement on the part of our community. I understand that just under 50% of responses were in favour and just over 50% were against the proposal to operate a cargo hub at Manston.

“In the course of my work, I meet many people on both sides of the argument, and I look forward to reading some of the responses. My main objective is to make sure that the people of Thanet are best served by any eventual plan for the Manston site.”

Sir Roger Gale 

North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale’s submission supports the DCO application. In it he says: “At all elections at every level of Government since the announced closure of Manston Airport there has been a clear and overwhelming local mandate for the re-opening of Manston for aviation and related businesses.

“I myself have campaigned on and supported this platform in the strong belief that Manston represents a unique piece of national infrastructure that is needed in the national interest now, will be needed in the future and that, if lost, cannot be recreated. ”

Panel and next steps

An Examining Authority panel has now been selected, consisting of Martin Broderick, Jonathan Hockley, Kelvin MacDonald and Jonathan Manning as panel members with Kelvin MacDonald as the Lead Member of the panel.

A Preliminary Meeting, run and chaired by the Examining Authority, will now be arranged.

Once the application moves on to Phase 4 (Examination) there is a maximum of 12 months for the Secretary of State to make a decision on whether to approve the DCO to reopen Manston airport.

RSP proposal

RSP’s plan for Manston includes an international cargo hub, as well as offering passenger flights.

RSP has a four phase plan across 15 years to create 19 new air cargo stands, update the runway, four new passenger aircraft stands and updated passenger terminal, refurbished fire station and new fire training area, aircraft recycling facility, flight training school, hangars for aircraft related business, highway improvements and the creation of a museum quarter.

Stone Hill Park plans

The site is owned by Stone Hill Park (SHP) which has submitted an enhanced application to Thanet council for homes, business and leisure to be developed at the airport site.

The documents, published on the Thanet council website, outline plans for up to 4,000 homes,  46,000 sq m of advanced/hi-tech employment space which SHP say will provide up to 2,000 direct jobs with 9,000 further jobs created over the course of the project, including construction and jobs in the supply chain for the wider area.

Plans include a heritage airport with an operational runway; public parks an East Kent Sports Village with facilities including Kent’s first 50m Olympic sized swimming pool and a WaveGarden surf lake; schools, a food store, cafes/restaurants, a 120-bed hotel and a health centre.

A decision on the application is yet to be made.

NB A submission was made by WNM

RiverOak Strategic Partners completes Jentex acquisition

Published on September 18th, 2018

RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP) completed the acquisition of the Jentex site on Canterbury Road West in Ramsgate, which is designated in our proposals as the location of the airport fuel facility.

The Jenkins family, which has operated the site for many years as a fuel oil business, will continue to do so until the conclusion of the DCO – after which they will become the operators of the new fuel facility

As a condition of the sale of the land to RSP, the Jenkins family required us to help them ensure the planning permission for an extra-care sheltered housing scheme on the land remained current, which RSP is happy to do and has worked with them to submit a new planning application to replace the previous consent. This condition will fall away when the DCO is granted.

George Yerrall, Director of RSP, said: “The Jenkins family is a pleasure to deal with and I am delighted we are building a long term relationship with them. We have always been clear that we want local businesses to share in the success of reopening Manston and I hope this is the first of many such relationships we will forge with businesses across Thanet and East Kent.”

Added Tony Jenkins: “We have always been huge supporters of Manston and look forward to seeing it reopen. I take real pride in the knowledge that our family will be able to apply our 55 years of experience, in running Jentex, to the challenges of building and operating the new airport fuel facility – and I look forward to the next steps in the DCO.”

Thanet District Council vote Local Plan to be published for comment then submission

 July 19, 2018 (Source SuMA)

At the Extraordinary Thanet District Council meeting this evening, after a heated and passionate debate from all sides, the Local Plan, including Option 2 for Manston, was voted through by 31 votes to 21.

Option 2 once, and if, adopted will see the airport reserved for aviation use only for two years to allow for a DCO or CPO to be progressed to a definitive conclusion.

Option 2 will not however, continue the existing Policy EC4 which protects the aviation only use of the airport.

Option 2 diverts the housing allocation of 2,500 previously earmarked for Manston to Birchington, Westgate, Westwood, Hartsdown and Minster.

If after two years there is still no aviation solution, the Local Plan will be revised and the airport will likely be allocated as mixed use.


Watch this space for developing news…

Thanet District Council Cabinet votes for option to relocate 2,500 home allocation and to drop policies protecting Manston Airport

 July 2, 2018 

(Source:Support Manston Airport Association (SuMA) website


At Thanet District Council’s extraordinary Cabinet meeting tonight, the three Conservative Cabinet members present went against the officer’s recommendation and voted for option 2; an option to take forward the draft Local Plan that had previously stalled back in January.

Option 2 was detailed in the meeting agenda:

If Members are not minded to follow that recommendation (Option 1, the option to allocate Manston Airport for mixed-use), to proceed to Publication/Submission with a draft Plan that does not allocate the Airport for mixed-use development and meets the housing requirement for the period to 2031 on other sites.

Draft Policy SP05 would be deleted and replaced with text that recognises the existing use of the Airport and acknowledges the current Development Consent Order (DCO) process for the site. This also provides the opportunity for any other interested parties to pursue the operational use of the airport through agreement with the landowners or through becoming an indemnity partner as part of a potential CPO process with the Council. The statement regarding existing use is not a policy statement; it is simply a recognition of the current planning status of the site. This also means that current Policy EC4 (and other Airport-related policies) would not be continued or replaced with equivalent policies in the new Local Plan.

In the event that a DCO or CPO is not accepted or granted, or does not proceed, the Council will need to consider the best use for this site (including housing), in the next Local Plan review.

Next Steps

The next stage will be for the decision to go before the Executive, Policy & Community Safety Scrutiny Panel (formerly the Overview and Scrutiny Panel) on Wednesday 11th July where councillors will have a further opportunity to speak.

The Panel will either accept the decision, in which case it will go straight to a Full Council vote on 19th July or reject it, in which case it will go back to Cabinet again before going to full Council on the same day. After the plan is voted through there will be a six-week consultation before it is submitted to the Planning Inspector for public examination.




The Planning Inspectorate called the Applicant’s legal representatives (BDB Law) on 1 May 2018, setting out its principal concerns in respect of the application documents. Those concerns included: 

• An absence of sufficient information within the application documents upon which to the Planning Inspectorate could base a decision about whether the Proposed Development constitutes a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) within the meaning in s23 of the Planning Act 2008. 


• Gaps in the ecological, archaeological and ground investigation survey data presented within the Environmental Statement (ES) accompanying the application, which create uncertainty in the assessment of likely significant effects. 

• Inconsistencies/ omissions in the noise and vibration assessment. 

• The adequacy of the Transport Assessment accompanying the ES. 

• The adequacy of the Funding Statement. 

On 3 May 2018 a teleconference was held between the Planning Inspectorate, BDB Law and RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP). During this teleconference the Planning Inspectorate repeated its principal concerns (above) in the presence of RSP, who confirmed their intention to withdraw the application. Subsequently the application was formally withdrawn by letter dated 4 May 2018.

Jan Revell
Hon. Treasurer
Why Not Manston?

Thanet Extra
15th January 2015


Isle of Thanet Gazette

Gale`s View – 16 July, 2014.


Ms Gloag has one very considerable achievement to her name. In the desire to see Manston re-open as an operational airport and in opposition to her plans to build a housing estate on the site she has united Thanet in a way that few would f have thought possible. There are, of course, a few people who are opposed to Manston airport and there are still a few local politicians who remain determinedly out of step with public opinion for reasons about which we can only speculate but for the overwhelming majority there is now a desire and a determination to see planes using the runway once again.


One skirmish does not, of course, win a war. Nevertheless, the cross-party support given last week to the proposition that Thanet`s Cabinet should be given the power to seek a Compulsory Purchase Order is significant. Friday`s march and next Saturday`s meeting underscore popular support for that action and in a week`s time a petition will be presented to Downing Street also calling for government`s continued support for what we all regard as a national asset that cannot and should not be allowed to be destroyed in the interests of corporate greed.


There will be further developments this week as Thanet`s Cabinet continue their deliberations. They need our support and, so far as Laura and I are concerned they know that they have it, and they will need the financial backing of the identified business partner to provide and under-write the resources that the Council simply does not have. The political will, though, is there, and although it will take more time than most of us would have wished – realistically probably the best part of a year – I hold to the view that if we remain united then we can and will succeed in rescuing Manston in the national and in the local interest.




Manston Airport – Minister pledges help with licensing issues


The Aviation Minister, Robert Goodwill, has told the House of Commons that the department of Transport is “more than happy to help with any Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) licensing issues” relating to the future of Manston Airport.


Commenting on remarks made by North Thanet`s MP, Sir Roger Gale, during a debate on Regional Airports the Minister said that “the tale of Manston is, I am afraid, rather an unhappy one so far although I am heartened by the fact that the local authority (TDC) is looking into what it can do and I spoke to the Leader of the Council last week”.


During the debate Sir Roger had reminded the House of Manston`s history saying that: “It (Manston) was acquired by Ann Gloag of Stagecoach on 30thNovember last year. Mrs. Gloag told me on that date that she intended to invest heavily and give the airport two years. On budget Day, less than four months after the acquisition, she announced that it would close. That was in my view an act of vandalism. Manston shut in May in spite of the fact that RiverOak had put on the table an offer of the asking price of £7 million. Since that time the airport has been asset-stripped.”


Sir Roger continued:


“My Hon. Friend the Member for Thanet South (Laura Sandys) and I met with Sir Howard Davies (who is conducting a review of runway capacity in the South East) recently. He rightly said that while Manston was not under consideration as a hub airport he thought that the south-east would need all the runway capacity on offer and then some. In that context, again, we cannot afford to lose Manston.


Thanet`s controlling Labour Group proposed to give to the Cabinet powers to seek a compulsory purchase order last week. That proposition was seconded by the leader of the Conservative Opposition and it has the full support of Laura Sandys and me. I hope that it will, if necessary, have the support of Government. We expect that a CPO decision will be taken by Thanet`s cabinet by the end of the month. We think, with Thanet and, I believe, the nation that airfield has the potential to serve the Country as a freight hub and we want it to be re-opened for that purpose”


And the MP added: “ The Select Committee on Transport has, I understand, agreed to undertake an inquiry into the whole business of regional airports and I hope that as part of that process evidence will be taken from Manston and also, perhaps, from Mrs. Gloag in person who would, I am sure, be delighted to appear before the Select Committee and to explain her actions”.


 Iris Johnson (Thanet District Council Labour Leader)…
It is with great anger that we have heard this afternoon that Ann Gloag has today rejected an improved renewed bid from RiverOak.  And the incredulous reason given is that most of the staff have already found new jobs.  Apart from believing that to be untrue, what reason is that for not selling?     Just another excuse and one that really highlights she has no intention of selling but wants to develop and asset strip.  
Congratulations to Iris Johnston for her comment on Meridien this evening that ”there will be no housing on the site”.  Let’s hope Ann Gloag hears that!
(For those who may not have heard – Iris became the new Labour leader of TDC yesterday following Clive Hart’s recent resignation.  A vote is due to be held tomorrow to decide if Ms Johnson will become the next Thanet District Council leader, which is minority Labour-led).
Back to the point of Ann Gloag’s claim that most of the staff leaving tomorrow have already found new jobs……..  Suzy Gale has sent the following:
Suzy Gale…
Meridian TV here in the South East have been putting out a story, perhaps passed to them by the Airport owners (?) saying that most of the current staff at Manston have already got new jobs.
If you work at Manston, know of anyone working at Manston or own or are involved in a company based at Manston and you wish to rectify a story that appears to be untrue, then please go on Facebook, Twitter etc. to give your position and to stress that we want to keep Manston open and viable.
You may also wish to contact Meridian at:
Please do feel free, if you wish, to pass on this information and email address.
Save Manston Group…
And the Save Manston group are doing a survey on their Facebook page asking staff if they have or have not found jobs, so if you work or know someone who works at the airport, please participate in this survey.
You may see that a new petition has been launched to keep open the operating licence of Manston.  At this time I don’t have full details on what is involved and have heard that Sir Roger has spoken to the relevant Minister and been told a licence would be granted, but it won’t do any harm in signing, so if you wish to do so, please go to:
Sir Roger Gale (at PMQs)…
Today, to a packed House, Sir Roger Gale raised the question of Manston at Prime Minister’s Question Time.  Here is the transcript and the PM’s response:
Sir Roger Gale:  “Mr Speaker, at the end of November, Mrs Ann Gloag, a director the stage coach company acquired Manston airport in my constituency for £1. On budget day this year Mrs Gloag announced that she was going into consultation with a view to closing an airport that is worth hundreds of jobs, is a major diversion field, and a search and rescue base. Mr Speaker, since then my Hon friend the member for south Thanet and I have sought to find a buyer. Last night the RiverOak company of Connecticut who already have airport interest put in an enhanced and realistic offer to keep Manston open save the jobs and develop the business. At present the owners are reluctant to negotiate.  Mr Speaker, I don’t expect my right honourable friend to engage in commercial negotiations, but will he seek to ensure the CAA Operating license remains open, that Manston remains open,  and that further discussion are held and will he encourage those discussions to take place”.
PM’s response: “I know that my honourable friend has been fighting very hard with the honourable member for Thanet South about the future of Manston airport. And recognises that it has played an important role in the local economy and employed local people. Ultimately the future of Manston remains the responsibility of the of the airport owner…but… I do think its important that the government is engaged and I know my right honourable friend the Transport Secretary IS engaged.  He will be speaking to Mrs Gloag about this issue and, also contacting RiverOak, the potential purchasers.  In the end they have to make a commercial decision but the government will do everything it can to help.”
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