RSP plans 30,000 jobs

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The following is an update from RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP):

Even in first year of operation almost 6,000 people will find employment as a result of Manston’s revival.

Under RiverOak Strategic Partners’ plans to reopen Manston Airport, as an air freight hub with passenger services and business aviation, more than 4,200 people would be employed directly at the airport site by its twentieth year of operation, with a further 26,000 jobs created in the wider economy.

The figures have been revealed as the final report in a four volume set, entitled Manston Airport: a regional and national asset, is published, considering the socio-economic impact of reopening the airport.

The four reports were commissioned by RiverOak Strategic Partners, from respected aviation academic Dr Sally Dixon of Azimuth Associates and include detailed business modelling, interviews with airlines, freight forwarders and integrators, together with analysis of the pent-up demand for air freight, which is currently costing the UK economy more than £2 Billion in lost income.

Dr Dixon’s reports show that air freight is increasingly being bumped from busy passenger aircraft, causing delays as goods bound to or from UK businesses and consumers have to be flown into and out of northern European airports and trucked across the Channel. In comparison to its congested neighbours in the South-East, Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, Manston Airport represents an ideal opportunity to deliver runway capacity to meet this pent-up demand – and, in doing so, thousands of jobs will be created for Thanet and the wider Kent region.

George Yerrall, director of RiverOak Strategic Partners, said: “From the date that the airport reopens, almost 6,000 jobs would be created – around 850 jobs on the airport site itself and a further 5,000 indirect and catalytic jobs in the wider economy, in associated industries or businesses.

“The positive economic impact grows each year along with the airport. We have forecast up until the twentieth year of operation, by which time 30,000 people in Thanet and East Kent would be able to trace their job to the revival of the airport.

“We have a real opportunity to tap into a proven demand for air freight that other South-East airports simply can’t meet. The £2 billion lost to the UK economy each year is set to almost double by 2050, even with an additional runway at Heathrow. Manston Airport is ideally placed to help recapture this traffic, which is being displaced to northern Europe. In meeting this demand, we create huge employment potential for Thanet and provide a powerful economic boost for the nation.

“We are in the process of discussing with local colleges and businesses how best to maximize career and supply chain opportunities in Manston.”

Employment at the airport would be a mix of role types, including:

• Freight services

• Passenger services

• Rescue and Fire Fighting Services

• Airport operations

• Maintenance

• Site and freight security

• Administration

• Air Traffic Services

Dr Dixon is an academic attached to Cranfield University. She is a specialist in stakeholder involvement with major airport infrastructure, lecturing on stakeholder influences on airport master planning to Cranfield MSc students. Dr Dixon holds a PhD from Cranfield and an MBA from Kent University and is a member of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

She adds: “Thanet District Council’s economic development plan is ambitious. The council is starting from a challenging situation, given that local employment, productivity and wages are generally lower than in other parts of Kent. My research evidences that a vibrant air freight hub at Manston will be vitally important in stimulating thousands of high quality jobs at the airport and in the local area, helping the council to deliver an economic output that puts Thanet on a par with rest of Kent.”

RiverOak Strategic Partners is preparing for the next stage of consultation on proposals to reopen Manston Airport. The consultation is now expected to start in June, after the General Election. Full details of how local people across East Kent can participate in the consultation will be published shortly.

This article can be read on the RSP website:


Consultations start 12th June

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RiverOak Strategic Partners has announced that their statutory pre-application consultation will start on Monday 12 June, directly after the General Election.

The consultation will last for six weeks and will close on Sunday 23 July. In order to give as many local people and organisations as possible an opportunity to participate this is two weeks longer than the minimum required for statutory consultation. The consultation will also be publicised widely, via letters to those closest to the site, leaflets to those further away, and local newspapers and other media for those in the rest of Thanet and beyond.

During the consultation copies of the proposed airport masterplan, detailed research reports into the demand for Manston as an airport, the economic and social impact of reviving the airport and the Preliminary Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) will all be available for inspection and comment. RiverOak Strategic Partners will also be holding consultation events across Thanet and East Kent, which anyone is welcome to attend.

The consultation is an opportunity for members of the public to scrutinise their proposals and suggest any changes to them. RiverOak Strategic Partners is also keen to hear any ideas about how to maximise the benefits to the region from reopening Manston Airport.

Full details of consultation events and how to participate in the consultation will be published in due course in local and national newspapers, online and via leaflets delivered to households in communities living around the airport.

Ahead of the consultation, RiverOak Strategic Partners has made several documents available that were previously submitted as part of the consultation on Thanet District Council’s local plan by way of background to the project. These documents are:

1. Azimuth Associates: Manston Airport a national and regional aviation asset – Volume I Demand in the South East of the UK

2. Azimuth Associates: Manston Airport a national and regional aviation asset – Volume II a qualitative study of regional demand

3. Azimuth Associates: Manston Airport a national and regional aviation asset – Volume III the forecast

4. Northpoint Aviation: The Shortcomings of the Avia Solutions Report and an Overview of RSP’s Proposals for Airport Operation at Manston

The Northpoint Aviation Report will not form part of the upcoming consultation, however updated versions of the reports by Azimuth Associates will be included in the consultation.


Statutory Consultations Coming Soon!

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We can announce that RSP plan their statutory consultation events to begin the week after the general election, which equates to the week commencing 12th June.

RiverOak Strategic Partners director Tony Freudmann revealed the news in an interview with John Warnett on BBC Radio Kent this morning.

In the same interview, SHP spokesman Ray Mallon stated that only Sir Roger Gale was suggesting that Manston Airport is a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Asset – this is not the case.  We are all suggesting this.

More details to follow.


RSP threaten legal action

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BBC South East Today yesterday (11th April 2017) revealed that RiverOak Strategic Partners Ltd is threatening Thanet District Council leader Chris Wells with legal action, over potentially libellous comments he made regarding the location of one of their key investors.

A transcript of the report is below.

Rob Smith (Anchor):

Lawyers acting for RiverOak, the company that’s hoping to re-open Manston Airport in East Kent are threatening legal action against the leader of Thanet District Council, Chris Wells.

Juliette Parkin (Anchor):

It follows an email he sent to fellow councillors, claiming that Belize, where one of RiverOak’s key investors is based, is a major money-laundering country, linked to the illegal drugs trade and human trafficking.  Peter Whittlesea has our exclusive story.

Peter Whittlesea (narrating):

It may have closed, but the company RiverOak that plans to reopen Manston Airport is threatening to sue the leader of Thanet District Council following comments he made regarding the company’s financial interests in Central America.  In an email to a local resident and copied to thirty five members of Thanet Council, Chris Wells wrote: “Belize is one of fourteen Caribbean nations named by the US as a ‘major money-laundering country'”, adding, “whose currency transactions involve proceeds from international narcotics trafficking, and Belize is a shipment point for marijuana and cocaine, human trafficking is also a concern.”

Save the airport campaigners say they’re shocked a reputable company, trying to create employment in Thanet, has been written about in this way.

Nicholas Reed (Manston Airport campaigner):

The allegations are something about RiverOak’s, got something to do with some obscure country in South America which is a most extraordinary implication to make about a perfectly respectable organisation which has been trying very hard for several years to get a fair hearing.

Peter Whittlesea (narrating):

RiverOak’s legal team have written to Chris Wells demanding “an unqualified withdrawal of the allegations, and an apology.  Confirmation that you will recuse yourself from the involvement of any decision of Thanet District Council relating to the Manston Airport site.  And payment of a significant sum in damages for the damage caused to RiverOak’s reputation”.

Chris Wells (UKIP Leader, Thanet District Council):

I’m not sure that’s even a relevant statement for anybody to make, so no, no comment at all.

Peter Whittlesea (narrating):

That was Chris Wells’ response today, but when elected as UKIP’s first council leader, he promised to keep Thanet District Council out of the headlines.

Chris Wells (in 2015):

We’ll see whether or not by adopting a very different approach, a very sort of more calm approach in doing things, that we can actually find that Thanet Council becomes less the object of people’s attention, and more the object of admiration because they simply get on with getting the job done.

Peter Whittlesea (narrating):

But critics say when it comes to Manston Airport, that the council has failed to get the job done.

Juliette Parkin (Anchor):

Ok, well er, we can cross live to Peter Whittlesea who’s in Manston for us now.  So Peter, what more have RiverOak had to say today?

Peter Whittlesea (Reporter):

Well RiverOak said they gave Chris Wells a deadline of 5pm this evening to meet their demands or he’d face legal action.  They said that he hasn’t tonight correct his libellous allegations, and, but, he has asked for extra time.  Now the interesting this is what happens next.  If Chris Wells does not defend this, then what his political opponents are saying, he’ll become a lame duck council leader because he won’t be able to make crucial decisions when it comes to Manston Airport.  But if he does defend it, I understand these are claims against him personally, not the council, so the big question is, does he have enough cash to fight a legal, er, er, legal battle against a big company?  Because we all know that legal battles can be expensive.

Juliette Parkin (Anchor):

Okay Peter, thanks very much.


Gale’s View – 29th Mar 2017

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Paul Francis, who writes for this newspaper, is a competent journalist bedevilled by a headline writer with an eye for sensationalism rather than fact!

A couple of weeks ago we were treated to the front page suggestion that ‘Development Plans Kill Off Airport Hope’. Last week we were told that ‘RiverOak has pulled out of Manston’. Neither, as anyone who actually attended the recent Planning Inspectorate hearings in Thanet Council Offices will know, is true.

Thanet’s Draft Local Plan is deeply flawed both in content and in process and will be subjected to rigorous public scrutiny and, I suspect, condemnation when it is considered by a planning inspector. The proposals put forward by Ms Gloag’s Lothian Shelf company are, as was exposed by the planning inquiry, lightweight and lacking in substance.

It is correct that two of RiverOak’s senior main Board Directors, Niall Lawlor and George Yerrall, have left the RiverOak Corporation of America. They have bought out that company’s interests (at a million bucks or so not bad for a company that Mr Wells would like us to believe has no money!) to establish RiverOak UK as a British enterprise with a Head Office in London and to devote their entire energies to the re- opening of Manston Airport. Hardly “pulling out of Manston”!

While this paper’s headline was landing on your doormats, RiverOak was hosting a breakfast briefing at the House of Commons, in the presence of those who intend to finance the acquisition and rebuilding of the airport via a Development Consent Order (DCO), for the Chairman and members of the Transport Select Committee and other MPs. This event detailed in terms the Company’s intentions and the timelines for the process that will lead to literal and economic take- off.

Contrast that approach, if you will, with TDC’s commissioning of a report to get the Council out of the election pledge made by Cllr Wells and the subsequent further ‘study’ allegedly being carried out by The Disruptive Finance company (with whom Craig Mackinlay and I spoke about a year ago) upon which Mr. Wells is now staking his County Council election hopes.

As I told the Planning Inspector recently we shall, post-Brexit, need every inch of airport capacity in the South East if we are to develop new markets in Asia and the Far East and to build the economic success that we seek as a nation. Trying to re- furnish an operational airport would have been a nightmare. With adequate funding, which is now readily available to RiverOak UK, we instead have the exciting prospect of creating, practically from scratch, a brand new, world class, state-of-the-art freight hub and subsequent passenger airport to serve the needs of UK Ltd, and to bring business lost to mainland Europe back to Britain. That surely, is a project that ought to have the full support of Government at every level.

One final comment. I am asked, occasionally, “what’s in it for you?” Apart from the satisfaction of securing the future of a national asset for my Country I have, indeed, made one – and only one- request of RiverOak. I have asked that the first aircraft to land again at Manston, alongside a plane representing Sue Girdler’s TG Aviation (in memory of the founder of the firm, her Father, Ted) shall be a Spitfire. This is a Battle of Britain that we have to win.

RiverOak Strategic Partners Limited is the new UK registered company pursuing the DCO.


RSP at Parliamentary Briefing

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From RSP:

Louise Ellman MP, Chair of the Transport Select Committee and Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for International Trade and Investment amongst MPs briefed by RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP) yesterday on their plans for Manston Airport.

Also in attendance at the briefing, which was hosted by Sir Roger Gale MP, was the member for Canterbury and Whitstable – Sir Julian Brazier MP, together with Robert Flello MP – Member of the Transport Select Committee and Sir Gerald Howarth – President of the All Party Parliamentary Group on General Aviation. Also in attendance were Richard Dilks of London First, Heidi Skinner of the Freight Transport Association and Henk van Klaveren of the Airport Operators Association.

George Yerrall, director of RSP said: “Every year the UK economy loses more than £2 billion due to air cargo capacity constraints in the south east airports system. This is set to rise to £3.9 billion by 2050, even with a third runway at Heathrow. Manston can provide the answer and this was a valuable opportunity to brief Ms Ellman, Mr Clifton Brown and the others MPs that attended on why we are confident that, with RSP’s strategy and commitment, and the long term support of our investors, Manston has a promising future as a vibrant hub for international airfreight – one which delivers much needed runway capacity in the south east, boosts economic prosperity and employment across Kent and protects a strategic aviation resource for the nation.”

This article can also be found on the RSP website.


SMAa Responds to Lie-Filled Circular

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Today we became aware that Herne Bay based group ‘No Night Flights’ have arranged for a lie-filled circular to be passed through the doors of houses near Manston Airport.

This document has been seen by SMAa, and it is based upon lies and hearsay.

SMAa have produced a detailed rebuttal to the points in this document, and this can be seen here and as summarised below.

NNF ClaimThe Truth
The Council must identity enough housing to
satisfy the Government. If not the Government
won't approve our Local Plan and developers
will be free to build wherever they like.
Local Authorities decide the levels appropriate
to their areas. The current local plan remains in
force until replaced. Each planning application is
decided on its own merits with or without a
local plan in force.
12,000 to 20,000 flights plannedThe DCO is for 10,000 movements = 5,000
flights. 5000 divided by 360 (allow for 5 days
holidays etc) equals 14 flights per day. With
airport open for business between 0600 and
2300 this equates to less than one aircraft per
Almost half of air freight is shifted at nightRSP are not applying for a license for scheduled
night flights as these are not needed. Airport
staff are human and do also prefer to sleep at
nights. Frankfurt does not permit night flights
(only operating between 0500 and 2300) yet
still handled more than 2 million tonnes of
cargo in 2015.
Nearly all night cargo movements are
integrated, night parcels/ mail. They are
scheduled, short haul and very , very light
weights, operated by modern, quiet aeroplanes,
a lot smaller than we have previously been used
to at Manston. At the moment Manston is not
planned to be a part of these hub and spoke
night services.
The Council proposes that 2500 homes should
go on the old Manston airport site as part of a
mixed use development.
The Council proposes no such thing. SHP have
submitted an application for outline planning
permission for such a development.
The Council has commissioned two independent
expert reports. Both say that a profitable
airport cannot be developed on that site
Neither report says any such thing.

The original Falcon Report in 2015 was only an
initial evaluation, with a limited amount of time
allowed in which to gather evidence. It did
conclude that a profitable airport on the site
would need substantial investment; not the
same thing at all as saying that an airport cannot
be profitable.

The Avia Report of 2016 was prefaced with the
caveat that it should not be should not be used
or taken as business, financial, tax, accounting,
legal or other advice.

● The work was again completed in an
unnecessarily short space of time,
having been subcontracted to an
independent consultant.
● The report made no mention of possible
links with the Port of Dover (historically
a lucrative business), and completely
ignored the impact of Brexit.
● No mention was made of either the
impact of the Paramount or Ebbsfleet
Garden City developments.
● Data used was largely out of date.
● Conclusions were based on the premise
that the third runway at Heathrow and
or second runway at Gatwick would be
open by 2025. The Transport Secretary
has told Parliament that the legal and
planning parts of this project will take at
least 10 years (until at least 2026) and
that will be followed by a period of
construction that has not been
quantified but could be as much as ten
further years.
The only way an airport could be developed at
Manston is if an American company persuades
the Government that it should be given the land
1. RiverOak Strategic Planning (RSP) is a UK
registered company. It is RSP that is
pursuing the DCO and it will be RSP that
is involved with its operation
2. The Government does not give RSP the
land. It may agree that the proposal is a
National Strategically Important Site
(NSIP) in which case the Secretary of
State will initiate a Compulsory
Purchase Order. RSP will in effect be
Indemnity Partners here, the DCO
process includes verification that they can provide the necessary funding,
If you don’t want a noisy dirty airport with 14 to
23 flights a night
Modern aircraft are neither noisy nor dirty.
Such aircraft are prohibited within the EU and
Brexit is unlikely to change this.
There will not be 14 to 23 flights a night; RSP
have said that they will not be applying for a
night flying licence and their business plan
shows that such flights are not necessary.
If 2500 houses do not go on the airport site then
new sites will have to be found for them
elsewhere in Thanet
As pointed out above, the draft Local Plan
housing allocation is not cast in stone. Using
ONS figures the new housing requirement has
been recalculated at 11,000 not 17,000, and
presently identified brownfield sites are more
than sufficient for this demand.

The original leaflet appears to have been issued by the No Night Flights group, based in Herne Bay.  One of their leading members is Ms Ros Mcintyre. It is worth remembering that on 2nd February 2015, she told the Transport Select Committee that “noise levels in excess of 1,000 decibels are recorded on Ramsgate premises.”  1000dB is probably louder than the original Big Bang that started the universe – how much reliance can you put on a leaflet produced by people who will tell a Parliamentary committee such nonsense?



Time is running out!


local plan header time is running out

Time is running out!

As we speak, Thanet District Council has an open consultation on a proposed Local Plan which seeks to remove the aviation protection on Manston Airport.  In the same breath, the Plan proposed the building of at least 2,500 houses on our Airport site.

Don’t rest on your laurels.

In order to overturn this plan, and keep our aviation protection, we need to submit good quality and well-reasoned personal objections to the proposals.  Whilst having thousands of objections doesn’t necessarily mean TDC will immediately abandon their proposals, they must read and take into account each individual submission.  This is a brilliant way to let TDC gauge public feeling toward Manston Airport.

Get involved.  We have produced guidance on how to object, as well as a link to the consultation website here.

Please don’t think that someone else will object for you.  If you want it, you need to fight for it!


Annual General Meeting 2017

tony freudmann at agm

Today’s Annual General Meeting of the Save Manston Airport association was a resounding success, attended by well over 100 supporters.

Manston is Coming Back!

By Bryan Girdler (edited for clarity):

Riveroak believe KLM will return.  They are also talking to Ryanair who they believe will also come to Manston if they can create the right upgraded terminal.

Riveroak are aiming to submit the Development Consent Order by end of July for a £300M Manston Airport.

Speaking today at a meeting of the Save Manston Airport association, Riveroak said: “We are there on Manston, ‘as long as it takes'”.  Working on the detail for instance of how to move earth around to build a hugely upgraded Manston, with many more aprons to turn around planes fast, new buildings for freight forwarders, with many new office jobs. They are aiming for 1 plane an hour, every plane brings money into Thanet, money brings jobs.

New directors have joined RiverOak bringing with them access to significant new funding.  Environmental studies underway this week will create a PEIR – Preliminary Environmental Impact Report which will detail, flights, drainage, truck movements etc for the next 20 years.

Lack of London freight slots is causing freight to go via Tunnel to Frankfurt and Amsterdam – this can switch to Manston. Freight is full in the UK, except Stansted which wants to use it’s room to it’s limit to increase passengers not cargo.

RiverOak spoke on the plans to build housing and about the planning application for change of use by the current owners, this has been referred to a public enquiry (in March).  This will be run by the Planning Inspectorate which have just authorised the section 53 order to allow RiverOak to start work on Manston.

RiverOak explained that the DCO gives them the right to object to the planning application and they will defend Manston Airport at the public inquiry.  They spoke on night flights and they confirm they do not need night flights to make their plan work and they do not plan to have night flights.

Sir Roger Gale spoke after RiverOak and he said the fact that the minister for local government was able to grant RiverOak access to Manston is very important indeed, the Government recognises this is a project of national importance.  It’s not about Kent, or local employment, though those are important, it’s now important for the whole country.


We Support Team Kent!

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Please use our numbers to help strengthen the case that We Support Team Kent!

Gale’s View – 25th January 2017

A clutch of Kent’s Members of Parliament met, at the end of last week, with an assembly of the County’s business and political leaders. Faced with the challenge of ‘ The Northern powerhouse’ and ‘ The Midlands engine’ ‘ Team Kent’ as we are now known gathered together to determine how we might best put this corner of the South East back not just on the map but at the top of the political agenda.

There is a popular belief in Whitehall that ‘ The South’ is prosperous and can be left to its’ own devices while ‘ The North’ , which means everything above the Tropic of Watford, is poverty- stricken and needs all of the pit- props of Government to prevent it from collapsing.

In fact, as our gathering demonstrated and determined very clearly, if the Nation is to prosper then Kent, as the gateway to the United Kingdom, needs considerable investment in infrastructure. Not just the County but the country will benefit from a Lower Thames crossing and the sooner that that is recognised and built the better. In tandem with that the road system around the Medway towns, as Kelly Tolhurst reminded us, will have to be addressed if we are not to simply move one gridlock from A to B and exacerbate it with the traffic that will be generated by the City of Ebbsfleet. Downstream, or upstream, depending upon whether you are arriving from or travelling to mainland Europe, Brenley Corner and the arterial cart track between Lydden and the Port of Dover have to be sorted together with the construction of the Operation Stack relief lorry park off the M20 for which money has been allocated but has, for the moment, stalked. There is also the small matter of the need to create other, smaller, parking spaces to obviate the need for freight vehicles to clog up the lay- bys on the A 2 with overnighting truck- drivers and their attendant personal needs.

Inner Kent would like to have its rail services taken over by Transport for London while Outer Kent recognises that this would be at the expense of long- haul commuter services carrying passengers to work from East and South Kent but all are agreed that we need vastly improved rail services if the County is going to, whether we like it or not, accommodate still more people over -spilling from London. Those improvements, of course, include the construction of Manston Parkway station and the creation of a sub- one hour journey time from London to East Kent.

Air freight grew by 6.8% last year. If the UK is going to be able to create new markets post- Brexit outside Europe then goods inward and outbound are going to have to travel a great deal further and largely by air. Without Manston Airport Britain, and particularly the South East, will be unable to handle the traffic. It will be fifteen years at least before there are aircraft wheels on new Tarmac at Heathrow or Gatwick. That is why the Government, in a recent decision to allow RiverOak access to Manston to conduct a necessary Environmental Impact Study, has recognised the strategic importance of Manston. That is also is why it is high time that Thanet Council and Kent County Council’s Leader, Paul Carter, woke up to reality, stopped chasing pie- in-the Sky alternative development plans and, in the national interest, threw their weight behind the application for the Development Consent Order and helped to facilitate the re- opening of Manston Airport. What passes for ” Leadership” in Thanet and at KCC needs to get in step with public opinion and the needs of UK Limited.

That said, this was a useful first meeting of “Team Kent”. If we pull together to press the case for the road, rail, air and sea port infrastructure then we shall be on a level playing field with the Midlands and the North. If we fail to do so then the County will be left behind in the new order that faces us all.

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