Stone Hill Park’s latest plan for the Manston airport site to include ‘heritage aviation’

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

Stone Hill Park has announced proposals to re-open part of the main runway at the Manston airport site for heritage aviation as part of significant changes to its masterplan, which is being unveiled next week.

The proposals will be included in a separate planning application to Thanet District Council in the New Year.

SHP say a 1,199 metre section of the runway will be used for vintage and heritage flights.

The plan changes also include moving Manston’s two museums – subject to their agreement – to a new ‘Spitfire Quarter’ next to the runway.

The re-siting of the museums would leave the areas they are currently based on open for development – meaning SHP would propose to eventually build 4,000 homes across the 303ha space, an increase of 1,500 from original plans.

SHP has also revealed that Match Day Centres has signed up to run a football centre at the site.

New plan

Residents will be consulted about the changed scheme at public consultation events taking place at the Holiday Inn Express, Minster on Monday, November 20 and Pegwell Bay Hotel, Ramsgate the following day.

Those attending will be brought up to date on the existing live application as well as viewing and giving feedback on the main elements of the revised proposals now being considered.

The SHP plan includes:

  • At least 2,500 homes within the Local Plan period with an ultimate capacity of around 4,000 homes for all stages of life. These will include starter, family and retirement homes; homes to buy or rent and potential for custom-build and a small number of properties that could allow residents to “park up a vintage plane.”
  • A redesigned advanced manufacturing business and technology park, opposite Manston Business Park creating a single large employment zone,
  • A new country park offering publicly accessible space, including the remainder of the retained runway, re-purposed as a unique outdoor recreation, exhibition, event and market space similar to Templehof Airport in Berlin.
  • The East Kent Sports Village where an Olympic-sized swimming pool, an outdoor surf lake and an array of sports pitches, are planned with sports firm Match Day Centres signed up to run a new football centre.
  • Trails, cycling and walking routes.
  • Three new schools, GP surgeries, shops and cafes plus an opportunity to connect the site to a new link road to Westwood Cross.
Plans for the runway have now changed

Stone Hill Park’s public exhibitions events will run from 3pm to 8pm, with members of the project team on hand to answer questions.

Those residents not able to attend the events will also be able to view the exhibition boards and complete feedback forms online at

Freehold offer

Spitfire Museum Photo Dean Spinks

Stone Hill Park joint owner, Trevor Cartner, said: “We are moving ahead with significant enhancements to our masterplan and are looking forward to fully sharing our updated proposals with the public.

“We have been committed from the start on ensuring the aviation past of this site is honoured, including providing the freehold for the Spitfire and Hurricane Museum and offering the same to the neighbouring RAF Museum under the existing plan, once agreement was reached on the adjacent road junction.

“In March we asked the public what more Stone Hill Park could do and engaged with local politicians and Thanet community groups, including pro-airport campaigners to get their ideas. Our job since has been to see what is both viable and deliverable.

“Our team now includes former Air Marshall Clifford Spink CB CBE, a former senior RAF Group Commander as a key advisor. He is working alongside our masterplanning and expert aviation advisory team, including York Aviation, to further progress these plans.

“The work he and others in our team are doing will be reflected in what we put forward to Thanet District Council in the New Year with new heritage attractions, sitting alongside the other elements of our new settlement proposals delivering thousands of much needed homes; thousands of hi-tech and manufacturing jobs; acres of new open space and a destination sports and leisure village.”

Rival plan for the airport site

An RSP graphic of Manston airport

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.

RSP says the proposal will create almost 30,000 jobs by the airport’s 20th year of operation.

George Yerrall, director of RiverOak Strategic Partners, told The Isle of Thanet News in May: “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 20th 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.”

The DCO is expected to be submitted by the end of the year. 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.


    • We want Manston to be an airport and nothing less . Our son works for a large national estate agents he tells me East Kent area is one of the most difficult locations to attract tenants to take over industrial units. Therefore how do SHP think that industrial unit on the Manston site will be anymore successful that other empty units in the area..

  1. Thanet must produce more homes according to Government figures. We need them and it is the ideal site to put them. The SHP plans are credible and good for Thanet. I see we still have a small core of campaigners and protesters clinging on to RSP in the hope of a full scale polluting and noisy freight airport which we have been told a thousand times is just not viable in this location. There is still space to increase levels of freight at other major airports but there is no call for it. It would need a miracle for Manston ! We need to move on now.

    • RiverOak are the miracle by investing £300Million in Manston Airport, which neither Wiggins nor Infratil bothered to do as we suspect, certain people at KCC wanted houses there all along.
      We desperately need jobs for the presently unemployed, our children and grandchildren. The future is in aviation. Recent aviation and government reports alike, have said how short of airspace and runway capacity the South East is.
      No way will the CAA grant an aviation licence to SHP. No pilot will want to fly in so close to homes and warehouses! Their plans are make believe!

    • I agree… Lots more cars and vans from occupants of all these houses, at least 2 per household, will be much healthier. The fumes will be at ground level, all in traffic jams because we have not got the roads to cope with them. Really looking forward to the fumes around our fields and villages

    • The aircraft which will be used, are very quiet and non polluting. How about the aquifer and possible pollution, and the extreme shortage of water in East Kent? Think of the jobs that will be created.

  2. Got to say this is possibly the first proposal for Manston that I’m interested in. One thing that I would like to see though would be a section of the houses that are being built sold off to TDC or a housing association to help with the problems people are having with the lack of social housing.

    • In your dreams, sadly. The SHP plans, as attractive as they are for a change, apart from the steady increase in housing numbers, are unworkable. No way will CAA grant a licence with such dense housing, nor will the Environment Agency allow so much building work over the aquifer. Pipe dreams! Bring on the DCO and we want our airport back, but a workable, profitable one this time. Let the government decide how important the RiverOak plans are. The DCO is due to be submitted very soon.

  3. It seems to me it would be extremely unlikely for a licence to be granted for planes to land that close to warehouses and homes. SHP are not the people who would develop the site, it would be parcelled up into small plots and sold to developers…. who would not want to have any responsibility for running heritage aviation. They really do think we are stupid….. leisure facilities, shops, nurseries, cycle paths though forests of trees, advanced manufacturing (when there are empty units just across from the airport) surgeries (when no doctors want to relocate to this area), schools (when no teachers want to relocate and present schools are using teaching assistants to take classes). It seems rather a coincidence that all this is promised shortly after the “secret meeting” about forward investment earlier this month, you can almost hear it,…… Cllr to SHP “ promise them something to do with aircraft and they will be only too happy to accept”…..but you’re WRONG. We don’t want 4000 houses, which will be too expensive for local people, sitting on our water supply in the middle of our beautiful Isle.

    • If RSP take over, you will still get 4000+ houses, but they will be on green field sites. Thanet is legally obliged to build new housing by the government. It doesn’t matter who is owns the old Manston site, Thanet will still be building thousands of new houses.

      • These 2500 -4000 houses have only been an issue since Ann Glogg Bought the airport .I don’t think any money has been paid to her. I believe she still owns the airport. SHP are her agents with shares. I was also under the impresion that TDC had agreed the housing in Thanet without Manston. Now appears they are counting them in a new amended plan. Were will people find work. The small area of business property they now intend to build won’t be anywhere enough. Thanet needs a steady building programme and reuse empty properties in the area not Thousand of houses in such a block by building companies not SHP . I don’t trust SHP or there spokesman. They don’t look as if they ever finish there projects.

    • Well said, Ann! I couldn’t agree with you more. SHP’s plans are pure fantasy. All they’re interested in is selling land for houses and profit. Then they’ll leave us residents to the road and services chaos and disappear up north!

  4. We don’t want thousands of houses, with thousands of un-employed people, to add to our growing unemployment, some claiming benefits, a proportion of which will come from our council tax. It will put the utmost strain on our schools, hospitals, Doctors surgeries and Road systems here in Thanet, which are already overstretched.

  5. The Stone Hill Park Plans are excellent, and well thought out. The actual owners of the site have a track record, in this country, of regeneration expertise. In other areas of the country, they have been welcomed. I am delighted that they have stuck with their plans, and enhanced them, and have not capitulated to the pressures placed on them by RiverOak with it’s stated plan of a HUGE freight hub which would ruin the whole environment throughout Thanet.

  6. Are people who don’t want thousands of new homes in Thanet lobbying their local MPs to protest against the large numbers which the Government wants built here? I find it hard to believe that anyone living under the flight path indicated by RSP could seriously want a busy 24/7 airport nearby.

  7. I detect a tone of sheer panic in the comment from pro-airport diehards. It’s pretty clear that SHP have listened to the reasonable points which were made in response to their original plans and have produced a modified version which takes account of objections. Inevitably, there will be a dwindling but vocal minority who continue to scream “airport” and, for them, there can be no compromise. By contrast, SHP’s plans are now receiving support from a broad swathe of the local population. There has to be give and take in any development decision and it’s pretty clear that SHP are working hard to compromise and to win over local people. Let’s hope the reasonable majority now feel able to get behind these plans. Manston has been a millstone around our necks for far too long.

  8. Just how are shp going to finance and control this vision of theirs ?? Because that id all it is, a vision, the airport will be sold off by them in small plots to developers and they will only build what they want to maximise profit and the end result will be nothing like the vision, also they’re unlikely to get caa approval to use half the runway, then there’s the water, sewage, medical services, schools etc that are stretched to the limit at present, anyone with a little common sense can see this is fantasy and will never happen in the form proposed

  9. I have lived under the Manston flight path for 55 years. We grew up with it and knew how insignificant the noise was, as do 90% of the Ramsgate population. The hatred for this housing estate is enormous.
    Looking to the future we have a kind of “chicken or egg” puzzle here…..which came first. Do we go for the airport, create wealth and jobs and the people with the skills will buy homes in Thanet, or build thousands of homes and hope to find thousands of jobs. If we go for the latter Thanet will be just one large shopping centre where the staff are all on minimum wage zero hour contracts and be awash with fast food outlets and pound shops(Manston only cost a £1). The hospital, social services, police and council will be stretched beyond comprehension with the increase in social problems.

  10. Google SHP, look at their accounts, they have no money to build a shed let alone a house, they are pure Land bankers, no more , no less ..Its due to land banking that we have a housing crisis in this country, Then Google Mr Mallon, and see the calibre that SHP is .. Roll on DCO..

    • Well said, Kapo! The problem is, people can’t be bothered to research things, so believe what they want to believe. What was the point of all those recent changes, if SHP are now changing their plans yet again, with a new lot? Ridiculous way to work. Very unprofessional. Time wasters, just trying to delay the DCO, which will trump any local plan anyway.

  11. Well done to SHP in pursuing the development despite the frustrations of the nasty pro groups who have done everything possible to promote RSP a newly formed few chaps from over the pond , real estate investors of third parties money to take the from its British owners at knock down rates who also have had a low budget campaign to grab this land . Great to see SHP tweeking the plans to fit Thanet for housing jobs and other social needs.

    • I resent being called nasty, just because I’m pro-Airport! On the contrary, it has been the antis who have been the loud, vociferous, nasty ones, in the RiverOak public consultations I’ve been to. Some antis have even been thrown out – and from more than one venue I’ve been to!

  12. I look forward to living in this wonderful housing development where I will be able to use the new doctors surgery and not be told that there bare no more appointments at 8:20am after making 47 phone calls.
    I look forward to taking my children to school where I can park safely in a disabled parking place and not cause an obstruction to traffic.
    I look forward to using the new hospital and not have to spend 11 hours waiting in A&E with my elderly parents who have had a fall.
    I look forward to seeing my children get one of the wonderful jobs that will be created at this wonderful development without having to ask people “Do you want fries with that?”
    I look forward to this wonderful place not being called Stone Hill Park but something that doesn’t make it sound like an awful caravan site.

  13. You have to love the desperate comments from the person who claims that SHP have no money. They have a distinguished track-record of redevelopment and economic regeneration. There’s no reason to believe they wouldn’t be able to deliver the plans they have put forward. By contract, RSP was set up with share capital of £1; maybe the same infamous £1 that Niall Lawlor held up for the cameras. They have now divided the original £1 share into 10,000 shares, each worth 0.01p. Remind me who hasn’t got any money?

    • Watch the Videos on You Tube. So far, RSP have spent over £2 Million preparing their DCO submission. Hardly broke are they? And now have access for up to £300Million for the airport project!

  14. Videos on You tube. What a reliable source of information. RSP SAY they have spent £2 million. That isn’t the same as actually spending it.

  15. It is clear that Stone Hill Park is the future for Thanet. Time for the plane-spotters to accept the majority view – No freight and no night flights ever!

  16. Where are Stonehill getting to get the G Ps from? The present surges cannot get them and are closing.Furthermore our aquifers are only a quarter fullWhere is the extra water coming from?

  17. RSP…headed by Fraudmann and backed up by sir Roger Gale the blackmailing useless maggot who sucks every penny he(Gale)can fron the tax coffers while sorting out his payday if Fraudmann gets he’s way.As bent as a five bob note Gale is among others with there three speed walking sticks.

  18. These 2500 -4000 houses have only been an issue since Ann Glogg Bought the airport .I don’t think any money has been paid to her. I believe she still owns the airport. SHP are her agents with shares. I was also under the impresion that TDC had agreed the housing in Thanet without Manston. Now appears they are counting them in a new amended plan. Were will people find work. The small area of business property they now intend to build won’t be anywhere enough. Thanet needs a steady building programme and reuse empty properties in the area not Thousand of houses in such a block by building companies not SHP . I don’t trust SHP or there spokesman. They don’t look as if they ever finish there projects.

  19. As with most pro-airport campaigners, R Sands appears to be ill-informed about the plans for housing in Thanet. The houses planned for Manston may be substantial in number but they are only a small fraction of the total number of houses to be built in Thanet over the forthcoming years. Anyone who has bothered to read the plans will know that there is an extensive programme of building and refurbishment. I do agree that the area devoted to business activities is too small. They need to scrap the ridiculous wand wasteful plans for a heritage runway to make more room for job creation. However, as anyone who lives in Thanet knows, the Western end of the runway is directly opposite Kent International Business Park and the new business area has been designed to complement the existing facilities.

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