DCO application approved for examination

The DCO (development consent order) application submitted by RiverOak Strategic Partners has been accepted for examination by the Planning Inspectorate, on behalf of the Secretary of State.

Onwards and upwards

Today we heard the exciting and welcome news that the proposal to reopen and develop Manston Airport in Kent has now been accepted for examination by the Government’s Planning Inspectorate (PINS). The UK company behind the bid, RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP), have spent four years and over £7million (by March 2018) in preparing their plans, which have the potential to bring a vast array of high-quality career jobs for local people and others in East Kent as well as hundreds of millions of pounds in new investment to East Kent.

By accepting the application for examination PINS have agreed that the project is a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) AND that RSP have demonstrated that they have sufficient funds available for the eventual Compulsory Purchase of the site.

The planning application process, known as a Development Consent Order (DCO), now enters its third phase, the ‘Pre-examination period’.  A great deal of research, including environmental assessments and extensive public consultation has resulted in a comprehensive DCO application with over 11,000 pages of detailed documentation.  During the next stage of the process interested parties can for the first time submit views and representations directly for consideration by PINS, as opposed to RSP.  There is no fixed timetable for this, it’s up to the developer, but is subject to a minimum of 28 days.  On average this pre-examination phase lasts about 3 months.

Save Manston Airport association are delighted to see RSP’s application moving forward.  There is still further to go in the DCO process but the remaining stages have a legally defined maximum duration – 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.  We look forward to an announcement in 2019 and once we have the necessary information we will be publishing guidance on how to register with PINS in order to have your say.

What YOU can do to help!

In not much more than a fortnight, the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) will be announcing whether or not to accept RiverOak Strategic Partners’ (RSP) DCO application for examination.

If they accept the application – and we are optimistic that they will – we enter a phase of the process known as Pre-Examination, where our supporters can relaly make their views known to PINS, and show their support for the DCO application by registering as an Interested Party and submitting Representations.

  • Once the Planning Inspectorate has accepted an application for Examination, it is RSP’s duty to advertise the Relevant Representation period and provide details about how to register to become an Interested Party.
  • The Relevant Representation period is the time you have to register to become an Interested Party.  The registration period must be at least 28 days and the publicity notice will tell you when the deadline is.
  • Representations submitted during this phased will be used by the appointed Examining Inspector(s) to carry out an initial assessment of the principal issues, so keep your representations concise.  Remember that the Examining Authority may only have a short period of time to read all the Relevant Representations before the Preliminary Meeting.  As such, you should make sure your main points are clearly set out.  PINS recommend the use of bullet points and headings to highlight your main points.
  • A Relevant Representation should relate to the application.  It must include a summary of points which you agree and/or disagree with about the application, highlighting what you consider to be the main issues and impacts.  Focus on the positives of the airport, not the negatives of the proposed “garden village”.  SHP’s plans are not being examined here, and are therefore irrelevant.
  • You will have a further opportunity to expand on your Relevant Representation during Phase 4, the Examination phase.  This can be a written submission – you do not need to appear in person.

There is nothing to stop supporters preparing their own representations, ready to submit when they register.

In fact it would be helpful if representations were prepared beforehand using a word processing programme such as Word or OpenOffice Writer.  If you register online the PINS form includes a section at the end for your representation so it will be much easier if you prepare it beforehand and copy-and-paste it on to the PINS form.

Take your time and do your research – there will be a defined deadline and you will have at least 28 days to put your representation together.  Why do YOU want Manston back?  Why is it special to you?

You can find out about the registration period from any of the following:
•    An applicant’s newspapers advert;
•    An applicant’s site notice;
•    Information on the relevant project page of the National Infrastructure Planning website: http://bit.ly/2r2zkmq
•    Via Twitter or email alert if you have signed up for this service on the relevant project page of the National Infrastructure Planning website. If you wish to sign up here then follow this link: http://bit.ly/2Hviy9Z

Of course, RSP will undoubtedly publicise details on their social media outlets, as well as their website.

Website    http://rsp.co.uk/
Facebook    https://www.facebook.com/RSPManston/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RSPManston

We also strongly advise that supporters take the time to read PINS Advice Note 8.2, which contains much valuable information on this phase of the process. It can be found at: https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Advice-note-8-2v3.pdf

Supporters may also find this short 6-minute video, produced by PINS, to be useful in helping them understand the whole process: https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/application-process/participating-in-the-process/

DCO Application Submitted!

dco application

RiverOak Strategic Partners Ltd (RSP) have today submitted their application for a Development Consent Order (DCO) for Manston Airport to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS).

There are now 28 days for PINS to decide whether or not to accept the application for examination – this is known as the acceptance period.

Save Manston Airport association are pleased that RSP’s application has moved to the second phase of the process.  We don’t anticipate any further information until PINS announce their decision, which we hope will be to accept the application for examination.  Consequently, we do not expect to be making any further statements until the decision is announced.

There is still a long way to go in the process, but most stages from hereon have a legally-defined maximum duration.  We know that once the application has cleared this hurdle, a decision on whether or not to grant a DCO is expected in 2019.

In the Press

The Isle of Thanet News – “Development Consent Order for Manston airport site sent to Planning Inspectorate”

Kent Online – “Manston airport: RiverOak submits planning application to reopen runway”

Planning Resource – “Rival plan submitted to reopen Kent airfield and block 2,500-home scheme” (registration required)

The Planner – “DCO application submitted for Manston Airport” (registration required)

CAPA Centre for Aviation – “RiverOak submits development consent order application to reopen Manston Airport as freight hub” (registration required)

RSP confirm Herne Bay consultation scale

rsp header

Following a request from Canterbury City Council, RiverOak Strategic Partners has set out the full extent of the publicity outreach campaign in Herne Bay surrounding the January 2018 public consultation exercise.

Consultation postcards were delivered by hand to over 50,000 properties, including all those in Herne Bay, Ramsgate and surrounding areas, between 6 and 13 January 2018 (Herne Bay deliveries being between 6 and 8 January), in line with commitments made in the Statement of Community Consultation.

In addition, details about the consultation events were publicised widely on Facebook and Twitter as well as emailed to more than 2,000 people who have registered for updates from RiverOak Strategic Partners.  Press releases were published on the RSP website and sent to local media, with articles appearing both in print and online.  Adverts also appeared in local newspapers publicising both the Herne Bay and Ramsgate events, as is required by the DCO process.

More than 300 people attended the subsequent Herne Bay consultation event, on 24 January 2018, and an analysis, which has been provided to Canterbury Council, shows a spread of attendees from neighbourhoods across Herne Bay and surrounding areas, suggesting the consultation was widely known about and that the postcards and other publicity methods used were successful in communicating the details of the consultation events.  Over 500 people attended the Ramsgate consultation event the previous day and, in total, over 1,300 responses were received to the consultation.

Added to the 2,100 responses received to the 2017 statutory consultation and 800 to the 2016 non-statutory consultation means that 4,200 consultation responses have been considered and analysed in developing the DCO application.

From: http://rsp.co.uk/news/riveroak-strategic-partners-confirms-breadth-of-herne-bay-consultation/

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 www.rsp.co.uk.”

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 www.rsp.co.uk.

Copies of consultation documents will be available from 12 January at www.rsp.co.uk 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.

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:

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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