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.