Register to Vote!

For this year’s Annual General Meeting, we are enforcing strict ticketing rules.  As SMAa has over 3,500 members, this should help to avoid delays when checking in.  We apologise in advance for any inconvenience this may cause, but we hope you will understand our position.

  1. All tickets must be booked via the SMAa website.  There is no opportunity to book or reserve places at the AGM via the Facebook group or via email/Messenger.
  2. You must be a registered user of the SMAa website in order to book tickets.
  3. Registered users can book a single ticket.
  4. Every attendee is required to bring a form of identification, preferably photographic.  This can include (but is not limited to): photocard driving licence, current signed passport, bus pass, firearms or shotgun certificate, valid CSCS card, EEA member state ID card, full old-style driving licence or benefits book.

Voting Rights

As with previous years, voting rights will only be extended to those members who have attained registration on the SMAa website for the 28 days prior to the date of the AGM.

If members wish to vote, they must register on the SMAa website at least 28 days prior to the date of the AGM and book their own ticket.

There will be no opportunity for proxy voting at this AGM.

Nearly 900 attend latest RSP consultations


Despite some appalling weather, 870 people attended the two most recent RiverOak consultation events, in Ramsgate and Herne Bay, to review its refined plans for Manston Airport and speak with some of the firm’s environmental and planning experts, as well as the RiverOak team, about a wide range of issues – including a proposed Noise Mitigation plan, fully developed Preliminary Environmental Information Report and amended masterplan for the airport.

Director of RiverOak Strategic Partners, George Yerrall said: “It’s been a fantastic couple of days – both because we have met with some of the airport’s many supporters and been able to show them in more detail our proposals, but also we’ve been able to address some of the questions local people have about our proposals.”

“The consultation remains open until 16 February 2018 so there is still plenty of time for members of the community and local organisations to submit feedback.  Copies of all consultation documents are available online, there are copies of the documents and feedback forms in eleven local libraries (four of which hold complete copies of the 2,000-page Preliminary Environmental Information Report – Margate, Deal, Herne Bay and Ramsgate) and a feedback form online too – all at”

Local Plan Rejected

local plan rejected

Councillors at Thanet District Council have voted against the proposed Local Plan which suggested building at least 2,500 houses on Manston Airport.

Despite a ‘Project Fear’ operated by leader Chris Wells and CEO Madeline Homer, 35 councillors (including 12 UKIP councillors) rejected the plan.  Twenty voted in favour.

The scaremongering threatened the involvement of Sajid Javid MP if the plan was not voted through, which would see “an extra 3,000 homes” needed if MHCLG got involved in Thanet’s local plan.

After the vote, Chris Wells said, “This was the most stupid decision councillors can make if they really want an airport”.  That’s coming from the man who was elected solely on the promise to re-open Manston Airport.

A report commissioned by RiverOak Strategic Partners shows that TDC can meet its housing quote without building on Manston Airport.

RiverOak announce 2018 consultation events


RiverOak has published details of a further public consultation, on proposals to reopen Manston Airport, in a Statement of Community Consultation.  The consultation will be held from Friday 12 January to Friday 16 February 2018 and will include two events, as follows:

  • The Comfort Inn, Ramsgate – Tuesday 23 January (12pm-8pm)
  • The King’s Hall, Herne Bay – Wednesday 24 January (12pm-8pm)

These events are open to any member of the public that would like to attend and further details of the locations, local public transport services and other information can be found in the Statement of Community Consultation which can be downloaded from

Copies of consultation documents will be available from 12 January at and at the following public libraries during their normal opening hours: Birchington, Broadstairs, Cliftonville, Deal, Herne Bay, Margate, Minster-in-Thanet, Newington, Ramsgate, Sandwich and Westgate. As the full Preliminary Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) is a very large document, it will only be available in hard copy at Deal, Ramsgate and Margate libraries, although it will be available in electronic form at all libraries.  A non-technical summary will be available at all libraries, at the two consultation events, and on the RSP website.

You can view the Statement of Statutory Consultation here.

No action to be taken after secret meeting

ray mallon chris wells

Thanet District Council’s Standards Committee has today decided that no action will be taken against council leader Chris Wells, after his secret meeting with Ray Mallon.

Mr Wells was photographed having a private lunch with the spokesman for Stone Hill Park Ltd at a pub in Broadstairs on 2nd November 2017.

The authority’s anti-fraud and corruption policy, which prevents council members from being lobbied by interested parties, states:

“…unless an officer is present, no member will meet a third party to discuss….the securing of planning obligations or other community benefits arising out of or in connection with a planning application under consideration by the council.”

A total of 39 individuals made a complaint to the Standards Committee.  The committee recommended that the informal dispute resolution procedure be adopted, with the reason being:

“The Sub Committee considered that (i) there was no or insufficient evidence to substantiate an alleged breach of the Code of Conduct and (ii) the volume of similar complaints suggests that the complaint is politically motivated”

This is despite photographic evidence being provided which showed the pair meeting without an officer present.

It is wrong of the committee to suggest that the sheer number of complaints makes it “politically motivated”.  There is no political motivation, only the expectation that our elected officials follow the rules to which they sign up on taking office.

“The airport that refuses to die”

thoughtbubble featured

The following is an article from MultiBrief Exclusive, entitled “Manston: The airport that refuses to die”, written by Matt Falcus. The article can be read in full at:

Manston is one of the UK’s most historic airfields. Used for flight training during World War I, it became a base during World War II for pilots engaging in aerial dogfighting in the Battle of Britain, and was one of the country’s closest airfields to the enemy during the conflict.

Life after the war for Manston never quite fulfilled its potential. Years of struggling to attract enough vacation charter traffic to survive were supplemented by cargo flights and a brief dalliance with a scheduled airline during the start of the low-cost boom. A few other scheduled airlines tried to make a go of the newly expanded site, but all eventually left leading ultimately to the airport closing in 2014 and the loss of many jobs.

Emotions have remained high over the future of the site, which has been earmarked for housing and development since closure. Many locals wish to see the airport reopen for flights, and this week it was announced another consultation is to be held by RiverOak Strategic Partners to reopen Manston as a cargo airport.

With a long runway capable of handling aircraft of any size and close proximity to both London and Continental Europe via the ferry and Channel Tunnel transport links, Manston is perfectly sited to benefit from such a development.

To date, planning approvals have been sought to build 2,500 homes on the site, along with commercial buildings and parkland. Yet the idea of returning it to use as an airport has always been held as a possibility, with feasibility studies held by the local council. This was given a boost in May when a new potential investor approached the council to ask it to acquire the site as it had a U.S. cargo airline wishing to base up to 12 aircraft at the airport.

An admission that this use could lead to night flights means noise mitigation plans need to be in place to protect neighbors under the flight path, and 2,200 responses to a consultation held in the summer are currently being worked through.

“We are also taking the opportunity to update our environmental assessment in line with the latest EU Directive in respect of which we will also welcome comments,” said George Yarrell, director of RiverOak.

While the proposals to return flying to Manston are ironed out, the site’s owners — Stone Hill Park — are pressing ahead with plans for building homes. They have also put forward a plan to use part of the 9,000-foot runway for vintage flights, along with new buildings for the two on-site museums which tell the history of the airfield.

However, the campaign group Save Manston Airport Association said: “For Stone Hill Park to offer a small landing strip when the people of Thanet want their long runway back open for commercial flights, and the jobs they bring, is to completely miss the point.”

Decisions on whether RiverOak Strategic Partners, Stone Hill Park and the local Thanet Council will be fruitful in their proposals for the future of Manston are expected in early 2018.

Matt Falcus is a British aviation writer and author, and editor of the Airport Spotting Blog, which delivers daily news on airline and airport operations around the world.

UPDATE: RSP delay DCO application to consult more


RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP), the company planning to return aviation to Manston Airport by means of a development consent order (DCO) have announced they will delay their application to allow for more consultation to take place.

RSP is to give the public a further chance to comment on its proposals to reopen Manston Airport as a cargo-based hub, before making an application to the Secretary of State for Transport for a Development Consent Order in the New Year.

George Yerrall said:

“We have been busy considering the 2,200 responses received to the consultation that took place in June and July 2017, which followed the non-statutory consultation in June 2016, and at the same time our plans have undergone further development. We are also taking the opportunity to update our environmental assessment in line with the latest EU Directive, in respect of which we will also welcome comments.”

The consultation document will set out:

  • a proposed noise mitigation plan – namely the specific commitments they propose to make to minimise aircraft noise impacts;
  • the new areas of environmental assessment and where these can be found in the updated preliminary environmental information; and
  • the details of where the plans have become more developed since the consultation in June/July 2017.

Responses will be particularly sought on all these matters, but all previous responses will continue to be considered and new responses can be made on any aspect of the project.

RSP plan to hold another round of consultation events in Ramsgate and Herne Bay during January 2018, but anyone is welcome to respond to the consultation whether they attend an event or not.  Further consultation events will be held later in 2018 as part of the air space change proposal that RSP will be submitting to the CAA.

The MP for Thanet North, Sir Roger Gale, said:

“It is important, I think, that those opposed to the re-opening of Manston Airport are given every opportunity to appreciate the difference between the environmental impact assessments carried out by RiverOak and what I believe to be the cavalier attitude towards the environmental damage that would be caused by a massive housing and industrial estate proposed by others.


More haste can sometimes lead to less speed and it is essential that genuine, if misplaced, concerns are, insofar as is possible, allayed.”

UPDATE (07/12/17):

Following the recent announcement that RiverOak Strategic Partners will be offering the public an opportunity to comment on its now fully-developed proposals for Manston Airport, prior to submitting the Development Consent Order application, RSP can now confirm the dates and venues for consultation events will be as follows:

23 January: Comfort Inn, Ramsgate 14:00-20:00

24 January: The Kings Hall, Herne Bay 14:00-20:00

In the press:

Tell Stone Hill Park what you think!

stone hill park planning application

Stone Hill Park Ltd are accepting comments on their all new enhanced masterplan framework, which is currently being consulted at the grand total of two events in Thanet.

You can visit the website here.  The feedback form is at the bottom of the page.

As ever, the questions are heavily weighted in favour of their proposals, so be sure to make your thoughts known in the accompanying comments boxes.

Remember:  Manston Airport is designated for aviation only.  Please take this opportunity to let SHP know that their plans are not wanted nor needed.

RSP to present to Kent County Council

kcc county hall

RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP) are set to finally get the chance to present their proposals to Kent councillors at County Hall in Maidstone this month.

The news comes nearly two months after RSP were due to present to Kent County Council, but were cancelled when representatives from Stone Hill Park pulled out of their presentation at the same meeting.

The decision at the time angered Thanet North MP Sir Roger Gale, who said KCC lacked “courage”, adding that Dover District Council had received a presentation from RSP back in July, without an accompanying exhibition by the SHP team.

The presentations will take place on Tuesday 21st November, where Stone Hill Park will also present their plans.

In other news:

A lawyer for SHP has sent a 41-page letter to PINS, decrying why RSP’s planned application should not be accepted, and demanding compensation for having to fight the proposals.  In it, their plan for 2,500 houses on Manston Airport increases to a capacity of around 4,000.

RSP lawyers Bircham Dyson Bell responded to PINS in kind, stating that SHP’s comments were moot point, as their application has not yet been submitted, and it is for Secretary of State to decide the application, and not the premature claims of the landowner that an interested party is being unreasonable.

They finished the letter with a point that all parties need to remember:

“When Stone Hill Park Ltd’s plans for the site are described, they appear to be in a significant state of flux.  Various elements from the dormant planning application made in May 2016 seem to have removed in favour of the potential for additional housing, for which they rely heavily on the emerging local plan.  As you will be aware, as recently as July this year a planning inspector ruled that ‘little weight’ should be given to it, when dismissing an appeal made by Stone Hill Park Ltd, and the existing local plan policy is consistent with national aviation policy.  The emerging local plan is not scheduled to be adopted until the end of 2019, and may well be delayed beyond then.  Stone Hill Park Ltd, and RiverOak Strategic Partners Ltd, would therefore be wrong to rely on it.”

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