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.

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)

Two thirds want airport


“Two thirds” of respondents to RiverOak Strategic Partners’ (RSP) statutory consultation this summer stated that they want RSP’s plans to go ahead, and they want aviation at Manston Airport.

In the latest project note released by the Planning Inspectorate (PINS), some 65% of the responses to Question 1 on the feedback form (‘To what extent to you agree or disagree with our proposals for Manston Airport?’) had selected ‘Strongly Approve’ or ‘Approve’.  With around 1,700 responses received, this is very encouraging news.

The project update teleconference on September 26 was attended by the Planning Inspectorate, RSP and their representatives from Amec Foster Wheeler and BDB Law.

Riveroak Strategic Partners also confirmed that they aim to submit their DCO application in full before Christmas 2017.  In addition they arranged to submit draft versions of application documents to PINS in advance of this.

They confirmed that they are still conduct land surveys under a voluntary agreement Stone Hill Park.  Interestingly, PINS were also planning to meet with Stone Hill Park in Bristol the day after, and a note of this will be published.

S53 Documents published by PINS

riveroak featured header

The Planning Inspectorate have today made public the s53 documents granting RiverOak access to the Manston Airport site for vital surveys, in order that they can make their full application later this year.

These documents can be found below.

Authorisation Annex 2 Plan Identifying the Land

Authorisation Annex 4 Schedule of Surveys

Section 53 Statement of Reasons

S53 Authorisation


Of note are the reasons that Stone Hill Park gave for refusing RiverOak access to the site, which include:

  • Prematurity of the original s.53 application
  • Challenging that entry should not be permitted as RiverOak’s project has not yet been designated a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP)
  • Asking whether RiverOak’s project is of real substance
  • Challenging whether or not RiverOak genuinely require access to the land.

The Secretary of State did not consider that any of these arguments provided grounds to refuse RiverOak access to Manston Airport.

RiverOak continues to be completely transparent in their procedures, as it will do so throughout the Development Consent Order process.

Further details of the DCO can be found on the PINS website.