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Park (and their lawyers) don’t appear to understand is that when site owner Ann Gloag closed the airport in 2014, she rescinded the CAA licences.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.

Come in, your time is up!

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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.

RSP announces partnership with Securitas

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RiverOak Strategic Partners has announced an exclusive partnership with Securitas to implement and operate a full suite of fire and security services at Manston Airport in Kent.

Securitas, specialists in all aspects of aviation security, will provide fire and safety expertise, manage specialist detection teams, handle general-purpose security dog teams and provide an City and Guilds-accredited onsite security resource, in conjunction with state-of-the-art security technology.

RiverOak 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.  It is currently consulting on these proposals before submitting an application for a Development Consent Order to the Planning Inspectorate.  The consultation runs from Monday 12th June 2017 to Sunday 23th July 2017.

Following the statutory consultation, the DCO application will be submitted later this year.  A decision by the Secretary of State is expected by the end of 2018, with opening of the re-built and refurbished airport planned in 2020.

RiverOak director George Yerrall said:

“We have been working alongside Securitas for some months now and are delighted to be able make this announcement. Securitas looks after security at 220 airports in 53 countries and they have a deserved international reputation, not just for their high security standards, but also for their progressive attitude to pay, conditions and staff training.”

Shaun Kennedy, Director of Specialised Protective Services, Securitas, added:

“Having worked closely with the RiverOak team we understand their vision but we also recognise the future security challenges in this sector. Our vast experience in aviation, security, fire and safety, canine and risk management makes us a perfect fit for RiverOak Strategic Partners. By blending people, technology and knowledge, Securitas is perfectly placed to provide a total security solution at Manston Airport.”

This article is available on the RSP website: http://rsp.co.uk/news/riveroak-announces-partnership-with-securitas/

RSP confirm seven consultation events

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Seven public consultation events will be held between Wednesday 14 June and Saturday 24 June, as part of a six-week consultation period on RiverOak Strategic Partners’ proposals to reopen Manston Airport as an air freight hub, creating thousands of jobs for Thanet and the wider regional economy.

RiverOak has published details of the consultation in a Statement of Community Consultation. The 2017 consultation will include seven consultation events as follows:

  • The King’s Hall, Herne Bay, Wednesday 14 June: 2pm – 8pm
  • The Pavilion, Broadstairs, Thursday 15 June: 2pm – 8pm
  • Cliffsend Village Hall, Friday 16 June: 2pm – 8pm
  • The Sands Hotel, Margate, Saturday 17 June: 10am – 2pm
  • The Guildhall, Sandwich, Tuesday 20 June: 2pm – 8pm
  • Abode Hotel, Canterbury, Thursday 22 June: 2pm – 8pm
  • The Comfort Inn, Ramsgate, Saturday 24 June: 10am – 2pm

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.

George Yerrall, Director of RiverOak Strategic Partners, said: “The consultation is very important to us as it allows the local community to scrutinise our proposals and share their views and thoughts with us. This, in turn, will enable us to refine our proposals further before submitting the Development Consent Order application to the Planning Inspectorate, later this year.

“At the events visitors will be able to view consultation documents, talk to members of our professional team and give their feedback. Feedback forms can also be emailed or sent to us, right up until the closing date of the consultation on Sunday 23 July.”

Copies of consultation documents will be available from 12 June at www.rsp.co.uk and at these 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 full at Deal, Herne Bay and Margate libraries. A non-technical summary will be available at all libraries, at the seven consultation events and on the RSP website, as part of an Overview Report.

In addition to the public events there will be two business-only briefings, at The King’s Hall in Herne Bay, on Wednesday 14 and at the Pavilion in Broadstairs, on Thursday 15 June. Businesses interested in attending should email manston@communityrelations.co.uk for further information and to secure a place.

The full consultation period will run from Monday 12 June 2017 to Sunday 23 July 2017.

RSP plans 30,000 jobs

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The following is an update from RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP):

Even in first year of operation almost 6,000 people will find employment as a result of Manston’s revival.

Under RiverOak Strategic Partners’ plans to reopen Manston Airport, as an air freight hub with passenger services and business aviation, more than 4,200 people would be employed directly at the airport site by its twentieth year of operation, with a further 26,000 jobs created in the wider economy.

The figures have been revealed as the final report in a four volume set, entitled Manston Airport: a regional and national asset, is published, considering the socio-economic impact of reopening the airport.

The four reports were commissioned by RiverOak Strategic Partners, from respected aviation academic Dr Sally Dixon of Azimuth Associates and include detailed business modelling, interviews with airlines, freight forwarders and integrators, together with analysis of the pent-up demand for air freight, which is currently costing the UK economy more than £2 Billion in lost income.

Dr Dixon’s reports show that air freight is increasingly being bumped from busy passenger aircraft, causing delays as goods bound to or from UK businesses and consumers have to be flown into and out of northern European airports and trucked across the Channel. In comparison to its congested neighbours in the South-East, Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, Manston Airport represents an ideal opportunity to deliver runway capacity to meet this pent-up demand – and, in doing so, thousands of jobs will be created for Thanet and the wider Kent region.

George Yerrall, director of RiverOak Strategic Partners, said: “From the date that the airport reopens, almost 6,000 jobs would be created – around 850 jobs on the airport site itself and a further 5,000 indirect and catalytic jobs in the wider economy, in associated industries or businesses.

“The positive economic impact grows each year along with the airport. We have forecast up until the twentieth year of operation, by which time 30,000 people in Thanet and East Kent would be able to trace their job to the revival of the airport.

“We have a real opportunity to tap into a proven demand for air freight that other South-East airports simply can’t meet. The £2 billion lost to the UK economy each year is set to almost double by 2050, even with an additional runway at Heathrow. Manston Airport is ideally placed to help recapture this traffic, which is being displaced to northern Europe. In meeting this demand, we create huge employment potential for Thanet and provide a powerful economic boost for the nation.

“We are in the process of discussing with local colleges and businesses how best to maximize career and supply chain opportunities in Manston.”

Employment at the airport would be a mix of role types, including:

• Freight services

• Passenger services

• Rescue and Fire Fighting Services

• Airport operations

• Maintenance

• Site and freight security

• Administration

• Air Traffic Services

Dr Dixon is an academic attached to Cranfield University. She is a specialist in stakeholder involvement with major airport infrastructure, lecturing on stakeholder influences on airport master planning to Cranfield MSc students. Dr Dixon holds a PhD from Cranfield and an MBA from Kent University and is a member of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

She adds: “Thanet District Council’s economic development plan is ambitious. The council is starting from a challenging situation, given that local employment, productivity and wages are generally lower than in other parts of Kent. My research evidences that a vibrant air freight hub at Manston will be vitally important in stimulating thousands of high quality jobs at the airport and in the local area, helping the council to deliver an economic output that puts Thanet on a par with rest of Kent.”

RiverOak Strategic Partners is preparing for the next stage of consultation on proposals to reopen Manston Airport. The consultation is now expected to start in June, after the General Election. Full details of how local people across East Kent can participate in the consultation will be published shortly.

This article can be read on the RSP website: http://www.rsp.co.uk/blog/post/riveroak-strategic-partners-plans-for-manston-set-to-create-almost-30-000-jobs-in-thanet

Consultations start 12th June

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RiverOak Strategic Partners has announced that their statutory pre-application consultation will start on Monday 12 June, directly after the General Election.

The consultation will last for six weeks and will close on Sunday 23 July. In order to give as many local people and organisations as possible an opportunity to participate this is two weeks longer than the minimum required for statutory consultation. The consultation will also be publicised widely, via letters to those closest to the site, leaflets to those further away, and local newspapers and other media for those in the rest of Thanet and beyond.

During the consultation copies of the proposed airport masterplan, detailed research reports into the demand for Manston as an airport, the economic and social impact of reviving the airport and the Preliminary Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) will all be available for inspection and comment. RiverOak Strategic Partners will also be holding consultation events across Thanet and East Kent, which anyone is welcome to attend.

The consultation is an opportunity for members of the public to scrutinise their proposals and suggest any changes to them. RiverOak Strategic Partners is also keen to hear any ideas about how to maximise the benefits to the region from reopening Manston Airport.

Full details of consultation events and how to participate in the consultation will be published in due course in local and national newspapers, online and via leaflets delivered to households in communities living around the airport.

Ahead of the consultation, RiverOak Strategic Partners has made several documents available that were previously submitted as part of the consultation on Thanet District Council’s local plan by way of background to the project. These documents are:

1. Azimuth Associates: Manston Airport a national and regional aviation asset – Volume I Demand in the South East of the UK

2. Azimuth Associates: Manston Airport a national and regional aviation asset – Volume II a qualitative study of regional demand

3. Azimuth Associates: Manston Airport a national and regional aviation asset – Volume III the forecast

4. Northpoint Aviation: The Shortcomings of the Avia Solutions Report and an Overview of RSP’s Proposals for Airport Operation at Manston

The Northpoint Aviation Report will not form part of the upcoming consultation, however updated versions of the reports by Azimuth Associates will be included in the consultation.

Statutory Consultations Coming Soon!

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We can announce that RSP plan their statutory consultation events to begin the week after the general election, which equates to the week commencing 12th June.

RiverOak Strategic Partners director Tony Freudmann revealed the news in an interview with John Warnett on BBC Radio Kent this morning.

In the same interview, SHP spokesman Ray Mallon stated that only Sir Roger Gale was suggesting that Manston Airport is a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Asset – this is not the case.  We are all suggesting this.

More details to follow.

RSP Update: Comments by Cllr Wells

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The following is an update from RSP about the comments made by Councillor Chris Wells.

RiverOak Strategic Partners Limited (“RiverOak”) has been engaging with Thanet District Council, in order to pursue a project to revive Manston Airport as a successful and profitable airfreight hub. We believe that the airport will be a huge benefit to the local community, with job creation and increased local industry, as well as complimentary passenger and engineering services.

M.I.O Investments (“M.I.O Investments”) was registered in Belize in October 2016 by RiverOak investors as a specific funding vehicle for the investment in the Manston Airport project. This is standard practice and all required details of the company were submitted to Companies House. RiverOak remains a UK company and will pay UK corporation tax on its UK profits.

Following the establishment of M.I.O Investments, Councillor Chris Wells sent an email containing entirely false and highly defamatory allegations against RiverOak and M.I.O Investments, openly copying in 35 other members of Thanet District Council.

The allegations in the email were such that we were compelled to take legal recourse, both to defend our reputation and to ensure a fair and unbiased consultation and subsequent decision on the future of Manston Airport. The legal remedies we are seeking are: an unqualified withdrawal of the allegations with an apology and an undertaking not to repeat these or similar allegations; a charitable donation; and the payment of our legal costs. We are also seeking confirmation that Councillor Chris Wells will recuse himself from any involvement or decision by Thanet District Council relating to the Manston Airport site.

Councillor Chris Wells was given until 5pm on 11 April 2017 and, subsequently, an extension to 5pm today, 13 April 2017, to respond to our letter, setting out the legal remedies sought. He has not made a substantive response by this deadline.

We are disappointed that Councillor Wells has defamed RiverOak, and that he has so far failed to correct his libellous allegations when he was given the opportunity. In doing so he has complicated and tarnished a consultation process that should be focussed on the important issue at hand; the potential successful reopening and operation of Manston Airport.

RSP threaten legal action

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BBC South East Today yesterday (11th April 2017) revealed that RiverOak Strategic Partners Ltd is threatening Thanet District Council leader Chris Wells with legal action, over potentially libellous comments he made regarding the location of one of their key investors.

A transcript of the report is below.

Rob Smith (Anchor):

Lawyers acting for RiverOak, the company that’s hoping to re-open Manston Airport in East Kent are threatening legal action against the leader of Thanet District Council, Chris Wells.

Juliette Parkin (Anchor):

It follows an email he sent to fellow councillors, claiming that Belize, where one of RiverOak’s key investors is based, is a major money-laundering country, linked to the illegal drugs trade and human trafficking.  Peter Whittlesea has our exclusive story.

Peter Whittlesea (narrating):

It may have closed, but the company RiverOak that plans to reopen Manston Airport is threatening to sue the leader of Thanet District Council following comments he made regarding the company’s financial interests in Central America.  In an email to a local resident and copied to thirty five members of Thanet Council, Chris Wells wrote: “Belize is one of fourteen Caribbean nations named by the US as a ‘major money-laundering country'”, adding, “whose currency transactions involve proceeds from international narcotics trafficking, and Belize is a shipment point for marijuana and cocaine, human trafficking is also a concern.”

Save the airport campaigners say they’re shocked a reputable company, trying to create employment in Thanet, has been written about in this way.

Nicholas Reed (Manston Airport campaigner):

The allegations are something about RiverOak’s, got something to do with some obscure country in South America which is a most extraordinary implication to make about a perfectly respectable organisation which has been trying very hard for several years to get a fair hearing.

Peter Whittlesea (narrating):

RiverOak’s legal team have written to Chris Wells demanding “an unqualified withdrawal of the allegations, and an apology.  Confirmation that you will recuse yourself from the involvement of any decision of Thanet District Council relating to the Manston Airport site.  And payment of a significant sum in damages for the damage caused to RiverOak’s reputation”.

Chris Wells (UKIP Leader, Thanet District Council):

I’m not sure that’s even a relevant statement for anybody to make, so no, no comment at all.

Peter Whittlesea (narrating):

That was Chris Wells’ response today, but when elected as UKIP’s first council leader, he promised to keep Thanet District Council out of the headlines.

Chris Wells (in 2015):

We’ll see whether or not by adopting a very different approach, a very sort of more calm approach in doing things, that we can actually find that Thanet Council becomes less the object of people’s attention, and more the object of admiration because they simply get on with getting the job done.

Peter Whittlesea (narrating):

But critics say when it comes to Manston Airport, that the council has failed to get the job done.

Juliette Parkin (Anchor):

Ok, well er, we can cross live to Peter Whittlesea who’s in Manston for us now.  So Peter, what more have RiverOak had to say today?

Peter Whittlesea (Reporter):

Well RiverOak said they gave Chris Wells a deadline of 5pm this evening to meet their demands or he’d face legal action.  They said that he hasn’t tonight correct his libellous allegations, and, but, he has asked for extra time.  Now the interesting this is what happens next.  If Chris Wells does not defend this, then what his political opponents are saying, he’ll become a lame duck council leader because he won’t be able to make crucial decisions when it comes to Manston Airport.  But if he does defend it, I understand these are claims against him personally, not the council, so the big question is, does he have enough cash to fight a legal, er, er, legal battle against a big company?  Because we all know that legal battles can be expensive.

Juliette Parkin (Anchor):

Okay Peter, thanks very much.

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