TDC plans “at least” 3000 homes on Manston Airport

In a press release on 4th October 2016, TDC Leader Christopher Wells stated:

“It is with regret that I must accept the solid evidence-based report that tells me what I do not want to hear but must listen to. Manston has a glorious history but a different future”

In a move that backs up his pre-determinate comments, Thanet District Council is planning to remove a Saved Policy from the Local Plan, which is designed to protect Manston Airport for aviation use only.

An extraordinary meeting of the Overview & Scrutiny Panel is planned for Monday 21st November, in which a discussion has been placed on the Agenda for the Local Plan, and these proposals.

In the same Preferred Options Revision document, the Council state that Manston Airport is capable of providing “at least 3,000 dwellings”.  It reads like it was copy-and-pasted from Stone Hill Park’s own planning application, conveniently enough.

The reason?

TDC’s flawed report into the viability of aviation at Manston Airport by Avia Solutions.

Why is is flawed?

In a letter to TDC Chief Executive Madeline Homer, RiverOak’s DCO-leading lawyers, Bircham Dyson Bell, stated that Thanet District Council was acting “in a clandestine manner and on the basis of a report that is not robust, has not been tested or consulted upon, and indeed is wholly inaccurate, inadequate and misleading.”


In addition, and bearing in mind RiverOak is currently writing a fully-evidenced rebuttal:

  • It relies upon interviews with anonymous contributors which prevents an open and fair assessment of their contributions
  • It is authored by an organisation which is heavily involved in advising on Heathrow Airport and gives rise to a serious concern over a conflict of interest
  • It deliberately ignores all the information provided to it by RiverOak
  • It does not divulge the data or modelling on which it heavily relies, instead it asserts its conclusions without setting out its evidence, rendering it impossible for a reader to assess its conclusions
  • On cargo demand it is in direct conflict with the conclusions of (and does not even acknowledge) at least six respected studies showing considerable unmet demand/future forecasts for dedicated air freight, although it does seek to dismiss the findings of York Aviation
  • It assumes that all demand for air freight will be met by existing flights having greater loads until 2050 and that there is therefore no demand for air cargo to or from new destinations for 34 years, which is incorrect
  • It assumes that Manston would reopen in the same configuration as before given the underestimate of the considerable investment RiverOak will make, when in fact its capacity will be expanded considerably
  • Insofar as its passenger analysis is comprehensible it assumes that very little of 5m rising to 44m unallocated demand for passenger services in the south east would use Manston if it reopened
  • It assumes a turnover of 2.2m passengers would be unviable, but at least ten airports within the UK currently operate viably with fewer than 2m passengers and no significant freight component, and passenger flights are only a minor component of RiverOak’s plans

You are encouraged to contact your local councillors and express your concern about these proposals.  A full list of email addresses of TDC councillors can be found here.