Manston DCO: Planning Inspectorate does not commit to redact airport funder details
WNM Treasurer 07.05.2019
The issue of funding – and funders- as part of the Planning Inspectorate examination of a Development Consent Order application for the Manston airport site will be heard on June 4 .
The DCO bid is being made by firm RiverOak Strategic Partners with the aim of acquiring the site and creating a cargo hub and associated aviation business.
However, the land is owned by Stone Hill Park which has submitted a planning application to create up to 3,700 homes, business and leisure and associated infrastructure.
The Planning Inspectorate hearings opened in January and are due to conclude in July.
One of the major questions posed has been how the project, which RSP say will cost in the region of £300 million, will be funded and by whom.
A letter published on the Planning Inspectorate website on Friday (May 3) now reveals that RSP has requested evidence submitted about backers for the scheme be redacted on publication.
The request was sent on behalf of RSP on April 5 by BDB Pitmans LLP.
The request asked the examining body whether it would agree to receive information on the companies that are interested in investing in the airport, including their names and also correspondence that had been exchanged with them, in unredacted and redacted form on the understanding that only the redacted form would be published.
However, a letter from lead examining panel member Kelvin MacDonald, says redacting that evidence cannot be guaranteed.
The letter says: “The Planning Inspectorate does redact submissions in certain circumstances. This is done, for example, to protect the identity of a minor, to seek to avoid identity fraud and to avoid placing personal contact or other details in the public domain.
“The Planning Inspectorate will apply its practice on redaction to any submission made to it. It will consider the need for and merits of redaction of submissions made on a case by case basis. The redaction of submissions must be seen in the context of the fundamental values of the Planning Inspectorate which are its commitment to openness, transparency and impartiality in the conduct of its business.
“Given this, the Planning Inspectorate cannot commit in advance to redacting specific information as requested by any party. For this reason, the ExA in this case cannot agree to examine evidence sent to it on the basis that the unredacted version of that evidence will not be published.”
The response says procedure means: “Relevant representations, written representations or documents must be made available by the Commission to all interested parties and to anyone who requests an opportunity to inspect and take copies of them.”
RSP has said caution is due because information about funders was previously leaked into the public domain despite being commercially sensitive.
Previous concerns centred on the use of funding vehicle M.I.O Investments Limited, which held 90% of shares in the company but is registered in Belize.
RSP has restructured to ditch the Belize connection with RiverOak Investments (UK) Ltd showing 400 shares in UK ownership. However, 600 shares are registered under HLX Nominees Ltd in the British Virgin Islands.
The funding source questions were due to be answered by deadline one, January 18
The funding statement submitted on behalf of RSP laid out predicted costs of the project as £100 million for the first phase -updated to £186 million -, with the cost of developing the remaining phases of the project over a 15-year period estimated to be an additional £200 million, i.e. a total of circa £300 million.
It says compensation for the compulsory take over of the Manston airport site would be “no more than £7.5 million.”
RSP’s latest submission says the firm has spent £13million on the project to date.
Hearings for the Development Consent Order resume on June 3 at Laurence Suite, Building 500, Discovery Park, Sandwich.
A revised noise mitigation plan has been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP) for the latest deadline in the Development Consent Order examination for the Manston airport site.
The firm is applying for the DCO in order to purchase the land and create an air freight cargo hub and associated businesses. However, the land is owned by Stone Hill Park which has submitted a planning application to create up to 3,700 homes, business and leisure and associated infrastructure.
The Planning Inspectorate hearings opened in January and are due to conclude in July.
Major issues to be examined include noise and night flights.
RSP noise mitigation
In the revised mitigation plan RSP say the airport will be subject to a total annual air transport movement limit of 26,468 with a General Aviation movement limit of 38,000. The proposal is for an annual quota during the Night Time Period (11pm-7am) of 3028 movements.
The site would have an overall operating capability of 83,220 movements per annum.
RSP data predicts 33 Air Transport Movements (ATMs) and approximately 16 non ATMs on a typical busy day in all years. In Year 20 there is predicted to be 72 ATMs during a typical busy day and 7 ATMs on a typical busy night.
Measurements in the RSP report say a significant adverse noise level is measured at 63db (decibels) during the day flying period, 55db at night or 80db for more than 18 nightly events.
Anything 69db and over is labelled as an unacceptable level. Aircraft noise is measured by a quota count of Effective perceived noise in decibels (EPNdB).
Lowest is 84 – 86.9 EPNdB with a 0.25 quota count whilst the top end is 96 – 98.9 EPNdB with a quota count of 4; 99 – 101.9 EPNdB quota 8 and anything greater than 101.9 EPNdB equalling a count of 16.
RSP says it will limit noise impacts by introducing the cap on annual air transport movements at the airport and with the use of a night-time ‘noise quota’, common at other UK airports, where aircraft are given an independently assessed score known as a quota count according to how noisy they are. An annual quota is imposed on aircraft movements. This provides control over the total amount of noise from aircraft.
Other measures will be:
- A scheduled night flight ban between the hours of 2300 and 0600
- A ban on the noisiest aircraft (with quota count 8 or 16) at night
- A noise insulation scheme for residential properties
- A noise insulation scheme for sensitive non-residential buildings
- A commitment to regular and ongoing consultation with schools
- A purchase and relocation assistance scheme for residential properties
- A clear and transparent process for identifying eligibility for noise insulation, purchase or relocation
- Annual reporting on matters relating to noise
- The establishment of a Community Consultative Committee and a Community Trust Fund (which will receive funding from the airport operator under the plan;
- A ban on routine training flights other than for General Aviation
- A ban on open field testing of jet engines at night
- Reverse thrust limitation procedures
- Low power / Low drag approach procedures
- Monitoring of noise levels from aircraft and fines for noisy aircraft
- Fines for aircraft that stray from approved flightpaths without good reason
Emergency flights and flights operated by relief organisations for humanitarian reasons will not count towards the quota.
The report says the airport operator will seek to operate take-offs from Runway 28 and landings on Runway 10 as a method of reducing noise over built up areas.
The document lays out plans for payments due to noise mitigation estimated at insulation policy and Part I claims: £4m for up to 1000 properties at £4000 each and relocation costs of £1.6m for up to eight properties.
Measures will include secondary glazing, high performance double glazing, roof insulation, sound insulated doors; and mechanical ventilation.
The document says the airport operator will provide reasonable levels of noise insulation and ventilation for schools and community buildings within the 60 dB LAeq (16 hour) day time contour.
A purchase and relocation assistance scheme will mean the airport operator buying the property for its market value and giving relocation assistance payments of £5,000; and 2.5% of the purchase price for the property up to a maximum of £15,000.
In its document RSP says: “RiverOak Strategic Partners Limited (‘RiverOak’) has always been aware that the issue of noise created by the operation of a redeveloped Manston Airport would be one of the issues of principal concern for the residents of the districts of Thanet and Canterbury.
“RiverOak understands those concerns and wishes to offer a range of commitments on future noise related activities at the airport in the form of a Noise Mitigation Plan. The commitments are designed to provide clarity to residents and reduce their concerns to the extent possible.”
No Night Flights: ‘Sound levels’
Campaign group No Night Flights says noise from night time crafts could reach more than 85db, saying: “RSP are proposing allowing 747-400 aircraft to operate at night and we know from authenticated historical data that these will produce a noise footprint of over 85 dB (max) affecting most Ramsgate residents, plus many living in the St Nicholas conservation area and in the Reculver/Beltinge areas.
“The evidence shows that the applicant will be subjecting over 30,000 people to sound levels much greater than the threshold for “onset of potential sleep disturbance”. Yet the applicant appears to want permission not to count the first 17 times he does this each night. Nor has he provided the contours which the professional bodies say would be most revealing of the extent of the disturbance at night caused by his proposed development.”
The No Night Flight submission adds: “According to RSP’s business plan, and the metrics they have chosen, nobody will be woken by aircraft noise in the first 20 years of Manston operating as a 24/7 freight hub. Of course, reality is different, as the complaints made to KIACC (Kent International Airport Consultative Committee) when the airport was open attest. Just one 747-400 night flight in a night caused awakenings and resulted in complaints.”
No Night Flights say historically airport operators have sought permission for scheduled night flights despite there being available day time capacity, saying that they could not attract cargo business without them.
The group say they fear quota count 4 aircraft will be used at night and any air movement caps could be overturned.
They add: “The absence of an explicit ban on planned night flights in the application and the proposal for a negotiable quota tend to suggest the applicant’s intention to prop up an airport operation at Manston by capturing the bottom end of the freight market – noisy QC4 night flights banned at the majority of other UK airports.”
Application by RiverOak Strategic Partners Ltd for an Order Granting
Development Consent for the upgrade and reopening of Manston Airport
The Infrastructure Planning (Examination Procedure)
Kelvin MacDonald has been appointed by the Secretary of State as the lead member of a panel who will be the Examining Authority tasked to examine the DCO application from RiverOak.
Why Not Manston? submitted representations and have been invited to the Preliminary meeting to discuss the examination.
We are pleased to say that our Chairman Angela Sutton, and other members of the committee, will be attending this meeting on: Wednesday 9 January 2019 at Margate Winter Gardens.
We shall keep you informed of further developments.
Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Why Not Manston Committee”
Representations published and panel selected for next stage of Manston Development Consent Order bid
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.
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.
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’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
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
(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.
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.
“MORE DETAILS IN THE REASONS BEHIND THE DCO WITHDRAWAL:
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.
Why Not Manston?“
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”.