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.

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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/

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RSP confirm Herne Bay consultation scale

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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/

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Nearly 900 attend latest RSP consultations

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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.”

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RiverOak announce 2018 consultation events

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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.

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“The airport that refuses to die”

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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: http://exclusive.multibriefs.com/content/manston-the-airport-that-refuses-to-die/distribution-warehousing

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.

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UPDATE: RSP delay DCO application to consult more

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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:

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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.

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Come in, your time is up!

consultation

Well that’s it.  RiverOak’s statutory consultation period has come to an end.  Six weeks (longer than required by statute) have passed quickly, and now RSP will be busy beavering away to collate all the responses received, in order to include as part of their application to the Planning Inspectorate.

RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP) is proposing to reopen Manston Airport as a vibrant air freight hub with associated business aviation and passenger services, creating almost 30,000 jobs by the airport’s 20th year of operation.  Since Monday 12 June they have been consulting on their proposals before submitting an application for a Development Consent Order to the Planning Inspectorate.  This consultation will fulfil a number of requirements set out in the Planning Act 2008, allowing them to refine their proposals before submitting the application.

The consultation closed at 23:59 on Sunday 23rd July.  Whilst final figures are waiting to be released, last week RSP revealed that they had received more than 1,200 feedback forms, whilst 1,900 people attended their face-to-face consultation events across Thanet in June and early July.

There will inevitably be a lull over the summer period, whilst RSP finalises the application and Parliament is in recess, but we must not rest on our laurels.

There is still a lot of false information being peddled by those that would rather see our Airport covered in houses, and you can help educate others who are not fully aware of our campaign.

Please encourage your friends and neighbours to join us.  They don’t have to join our Facebook group, and we have a mailing list option too (over on the right).

We also rely on your donations to keep us campaigning – if you want to help, you can donate here.

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