Stone Hill Park submit updated plans for Manston development and RSP due to meet Planning Inspectorate

SHP has now submitted updated plans - this image is from the October submission

An updated plan for proposals at the Manston airport site has been submitted by developers Stone Hill Park.

The document lays out a number of changes following consultation events in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

SHP plan to develop the 303ha space for  2,500 homes; an advanced manufacturing focused business park; sports and recreational facilities, with the former runway becoming the focal point for a network of parkland, trails and outdoor space, and a ‘heritage hub’ at the site.

Changes to the original masterplan, which was submitted in 2015, include relocating the ‘wavegarden,- a n inland surf lagoon -sports hall and courts, adding more residential areas to the eastern edge of the site, adding a village green and extra, smaller park areas and explanations for road layouts and ‘wavegarden’ facilities.

Housing has also been removed from the western end of the site, with the employment area extended.


An overview of the development states: “The rich history of the site will be respected through retention of selected airfield features, supporting the heritage work of the museums and incorporating the ‘memory’ of the place within the development.

“The new ‘place’ should be fully integrated into the network of roads, open fields and villages that define the distinctive landscape of Thanet, while also acknowledging the different qualities and character of this former airfield and its open, elevated position within the landscape.

“The site is already well connected to the surrounding movement network. The development will help deliver the wider Kent transport strategy while also reinstating the ‘lost links’ at a local level.

“There will be a series of major new public parks for Thanet at the heart of the development. These will provide a range of new green space experiences and links across the site, and connect to a network of smaller recreational pocket parks, greens and green streets within the built environment.

“The plan includes sufficient space within it to provide a range of new community facilities such as primary schools, shops, GPs and community halls.”

Schools, heritage and work

Two primary schools. A supermarket and a new ‘high street’ are included in the plans, as well as  retaining the main runway as a public park – Runway Park, “preserving its ‘memory‘ for residents in the surrounding community.”

The Heritage Centre, fire station, Spitfire Museum and the Old Control Tower will also be retained for a ‘Heritage Hub’ on the Northern Grass area.

The Delta Park industrial area will be in small clusters next to green space and retained hangar buildings. There will also be a Spitfire Way area, Meadow Edge area and street will be named after airfields.

A sports village will include a 50m swimming pool building, up-to six new full sized football pitches, indoor facilities such as gyms and classroom space and sports/ play sites such as skate parks, cycle skills areas and training grids/ running tracks. There will also be forest areas and walking/cycling trails.

Jobs and income

SHP say key benefits of the scheme include around 2,000 new direct jobs including construction phased employment over the next 10-15 years, new training and apprenticeships for young people and the long-term unemployed plus the realisation of £28 million New Homes Bonus and £4.7 million of council tax receipts annually.

The updated hybrid application (part outline and part detailed) was submitted on October 30.

Find the latest revisions by searching OL/TH/16/0550 on Thanet’s planning portal.

Rival plan from RSP

RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP)  hopes to reopen the airport site in a £300m project to create an air freight hub with passenger services and business aviation.

The company aims to submit an application for a Development Consent Order to the Planning Inspectorate to allow a compulsory purchase of the site. It bought out the DCO rights from the original proposing company RiverOak corporation last December.

In one volume of its reports compiled as part of the DCO process it states: “Direct on-site jobs are predicted to be 2,150 by year 5, of which 697 posts are forecast to be created by the airport operator. The direct employment figure will rise with increasing freight tonnage and passenger numbers.

“By the end of year 5, the indirect and catalytic jobs forecast to result from the operation at Manston Airport are 4,515 and 8,601 respectively, and 8,970 and 17,085 by the end of year 20.

“The total figure for jobs created by the operations of Manston Airport is forecast at around 30,000.”

Construction and education

RSP plans for construction will be phased over 15 years and will include a total of 19 freight stands and four passenger stands for aircraft as well as warehousing and fuel storage to meet the forecast demand.

There are also plans for education and training, flight training school, business aviation and passenger services. Earlier this month RSP announced a partnership with Securitas to implement and operate a full suite of fire and security services at the site.

RSP aims to handle some 10,000 air cargo movements a year by its sixth year of operation equating to 14 arrivals and 14 departures a day, around two flights an hour “during normal operating hours.”

Draft documents including the Development Consent Order (DCO), Explanatory Memorandum, Statement of Reasons, Book of Reference, Consultation Report and Funding Statement were submitted to government in September.


A face to face meeting to discuss the Inspectorate’s review of RSP’s draft documents= is due to take place tomorrow (November 2).

A decision by the Secretary of State on the DCO is expected by the end of 2018. If RSP gets the green light for its plans it says the opening of the re-built and refurbished airport will be in 2020.

Local Plan

Thanet Cabinet members have agreed proposals to move forward with the publication of the isle’s Draft Local Plan, including amendments that mean Manston airport will no longer be designated for aviation use only.

The Local Plan is a blueprint for housing, business and infrastructure for the isle up until 2031.

It sets out how much development is needed to support the future population and economy. Allocating land through the plan is designed to give the council greater control over where and what type of developments can take place.

The draft plan still has to be debated at Overview and Scrutiny on November 21, again by Cabinet on December 14 and at full council in January before it is agreed for submission and further consultation.

An appeal to allow change of use of four hangars at Manston airport from aviation-only was rejected in July.

Read here: Manston airport: A timeline from that £1 buy-out to a £100 million proposal


  1. Nicely balanced , showing the much more realistic plans of the RiverOak scheme, all properly researched and planned , as opposed to the Fairy Tale Dreams of Stonehill Park.,
    They SHP, May have amended their plans, but as yet have NOT addressed the outstanding objections from the previous application…

  2. So the industrial plans that SHP had proposed have been replaced (erased) with further housing, making these proposals as a mass urban sprawl, to be inhabited by the good folk of London, also its KCC who has overall responsibility for the building of educational facilities not a developer. no prospect of any long term jobs offered by SHP, just building contractors coming in to Thanet to build this eyesore. I am grateful that RiverOak (RSP)are still in the game, their proposals, offer guaranteed jobs and facilities to get Thanet’s youth a chance to get the experience of highly skilled paying Jobs, which will be good for the overall future of Thanet.

  3. If SHP are true to form following their other proposals in other parts of the country the amount of land put aside for manufacturing will disappear only to be taken over by housing. The latest estimate by people working for or representing SHP is that 4,000 dwellings are envisaged for the site. If this is the case then industrial land will be used to accommodate these dwellings. We also have to remember that Rose Farm Estates original proposals was meant to be industrial. These plans have been amended and approved to provide dwellings.

  4. Still can’t believe there are still a few people left that walk blindfolded into the hands of RSP and their ridiculous forecasts for Manston. They must be new to the area and have not heard about all the professional reports made stating this airfield is not a viable project in the current market. Whereas SHP has the ability, finance and backing to bring their plans to life almost immediately given the go-ahead. They have no plans to build more houses than planned but to alter the plans to move things about. We still have the scaremongers of SMA flouting their rubbish. They don’t care about Thanet or it’s residents, they just want their own way at any cost.

  5. SHP are the legitimate owners of the site and have been hindered every step of the way in developing the site and now they have a solid plan they should get the full support to bring such economic benefits to Thanet in terms of housing needs business development opportunities ( jobs) . RSP have only given low budget public engagement and spin and economical on facts and exaggerated expectations for the land grab that they plan

    • Hindered by the fact they bought an airport on land designated for aviation. If they wanted to build houses they should have bought another site.

  6. What an ugly sprawl! Good luck getting doctors, dentists or emergency appointments if this horror ever reaches fruition. There will be no “affordable housing” in amongst this lot, so don’t kid yourself that SHP have Thanet’s housing needs in mind – it’s all about profiteering from the DFLs, whilst London is plundered by developers, in hand with whoever they can bribe. I fear for the future of our young people. No jobs, no hope.

  7. Good to see that SHP has listened to people following its extensive consultation process. The altered plans are very exciting and bear no resemblance to the cartoon version being hawked around by pro-airport fanatics. The extensive provision for leisure and commercial activities contrasts markedly with RSP’s plans, which include no such provision. I, for one, am looking forward to walking out on land which has been closed to the public for far too long.

  8. I have yet to meet a Ramsgate resident who want this sprawling housing estate with all the congestion, pollution and lack of jobs it brings. We already have housing estates (with empty houses) and industrial estates( with empty industrial units).You can’t see professional people wanting to move here with the lack of jobs.

  9. 4000 houses equals 8000 jobs extra required in Thanet. 8000 children looking for schools hospitals etc. Probably 6000 cars trying to get to non existent jobs and shopping to spend their benefits in. TDC need to wake up and smell the coffee. Get the existing unemployed into work first before creating yet more out of work claims from those in the London areas that have no jobs.

  10. The criticism of SHP’s plans becomes more and more bizarre. 2500 houses are planned. This development is accompanied by parallel development of commercial units for high tech manufacturing, leisure facilities, school and a medical centre. Yet all we hear from the antis is rubbish about houses for people who have been cast out of London. The houses will be for sale. Anyone who stumps up the money can buy one. I imagine many local people who are currently living in sub-standards conditions may look at buying in the new development. Let’s be honest. The anti-housing campaign is being driven by old f*rts who own their own properties and don’t want youngsters to have the same opportunities in life that they had. They are prepared to say anything to prevent houses being built, even if there is not a shred of truth in what they are saying. Why is so much air-time being given to liars?

  11. I strongly suspect that a lot of the pro SHP comments are fake. Rather like the plans presented. The only saving grace as far as I can see it is that as SHP are too mean to remove the pipe bombs under the entire length of the runway this entire debacle of an estate is to be built on the edge of a gigantic bomb!

  12. Ha ha, even more rubbish statements from another fake pro RSP, or is this just one SMA protestor with aliases getting desperate to think of another reason not to have a better Thanet for all I wonder? What a ridiculous statement to come out with about pipe bombs and houses being built on the edge a gigantic bomb ! If this were the case then it would have been very dangerous having aircraft landing there during and after the war.
    And why only mention the houses to be built in their anti SHP clap-trap, they know perfectly well this is not all to be built there. But we do need houses in Thanet, that is a fact. There are hardly any empty houses available in the housing estates as described further above. There will be a proportion of affordable housing as must happen in any large build but it is just more rubbish that it will be made available for unemployed Londoners. Fear-factors and miscalculations are all the tactics of a few protesters trying to scare us away from what we believe is best for Thanet. It won’t work !

  13. The confidence shown for Tony Freudman’s plans is based on quick-sand, as he has initiated all the aviation failures on that site to date. RSP is not even the original RiverOak, but some company he has registered in Belize, with no relationship to RiverOak. Does not that raise questions in itself? Over £100 million of public money has already been wasted on aviation on this site. Whereas the current owners have a track record of regeneration in this country, and they will help Thanet to become more successful and properous. This is a deprived area, and yet we are situated in the “prosperous” south-est. Is it not time we joined in this prosperity?

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