Two thirds want airport

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“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.

RSP slam inaccurate SHP submission

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A report on Kent Online, which reads as a sponsored editorial, claims that Stone Hill Park’s lawyers have made a submission to the Planning Inspectorate alleging that RSP’s development consent order application is illegal.  RSP state otherwise, and have slammed the submission as inaccurate.

The allegation rests on claims that RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP) has made errors in its calculation of cargo movements, contending that the application fails to meet the required criteria because “it is not able to show an increase in the cargo flight capacity of the site as an airport”.

RSP hope to deliver 17,000 cargo movements per year by its 20th year of operation.  This is in excess of the DCO criteria for 10,000 movements.

Stone Hill Park allege that the airport was closed with a capacity of 21,000 movements, and that as this exceeds the proposal by RSP, “they have got their numbers wrong” by claiming its present capacity is zero.

What Stone Hill Park (and their lawyers) don’t appear to understand is that when site owner Ann Gloag closed the airport in 2014, she rescinded the CAA licences.  Following this, major site assets were sold at auction by Peaker Pattinson, rendering the site useless for cargo-related aviation.  In addition, Trevor Cartner and Chris Musgrave wantonly permitted the destruction of the runway surface when it contracted Balfour Beatty and Mott MacDonald to paint markings on the runway to highlight parking spaces for lorries during Operation Stack.

Therefore, the only reasonable cargo movement capacity at Manston at this time is exactly that – ZERO!

RSP stand by the legality of their application, stating “RiverOak Strategic Partners disagrees with the basis on which Pinsent Mason has arrived at these conclusions.”

“We are confident that all of the detailed work we and our professional advisors have undertaken for the development consent order application will clearly and robustly make the case that our proposals for Manston to meet the threshold for a nationally significant infrastructure project.”

SHP want to build at least 2,500 houses on the site, but at a public inquiry into proposed change of use on the site, the Planning Inspector agreed the site must be protected for aviation use only.

Change of Use plans rejected

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Plans to change the use of four buildings at Manston Airport have been formally thrown out by the Planning Inspectorate.

Stone Hill Park had originally applied to Thanet District Council for permission to change the use of these buildings from aviation to general industrial, but TDC originally rejected permission.  SHP appealed the decision, which went to PINS.

Shortly before the public inquiry earlier this year, TDC announced that they were not going to provide any evidence to uphold their decision, which left the battle between SHP and RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP), and their respective legal teams.

Inspector Matthew Nunn said, “the proposals would conflict with the council’s current approach to the location of new development within the airport, which is consistent with national policy”, adding, “The benefits of the scheme put forward by the appellants do not justify departure from Policy EC4 of the Local Plan.”

The site owners maintain that this will not affect their proposals for 2,500 houses on Manston Airport, and their outline plan for permission is due to be considered by TDC later this year.

Spokesman Ray Mallon was quoted as saying, “We believed the case put forward at the planning inquiry was compelling”, which those who actually attended the inquiry would dispute.

A spokesman from RSP said:

“RiverOak Strategic Partners is delighted that the inspector has dismissed Stone Hill Park’s appeals for the change of use of four airport buildings.”

 

“We presented a compelling case for Manston airport, to the inspector, which emphasised the flawed nature of Stone Hill Park’s assertions that Manston had no prospect of returning to airport use and the equally flawed assumptions behind the Avia Solutions report commissioned by Thanet Council.”

 

“RiverOak remains certain that Manston has a vibrant future as an airport and we intend to make sure it delivers on its full economic and employment potential for the east Kent region, by securing a DCO to reopen it as a vibrant hub for air freight, passenger and general aviation use.”

You can read more on this story at Isle of Thanet News and Kent News

S53 Documents published by PINS

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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

Excuses

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.