Manston site developers SHP to hold community and council presentations

Previous SHP plans for the Manston airport site

The firm hoping to develop the former Manston airport site will be giving presentations to parish councils and other community groups.

The team leading the project for Stone Hill Park, including planning consultants GVA and aviation experts York Aviation, will be using the sessions to share the latest enhanced masterplan due to be lodged with Thanet council in the new year.


Stone Hill Park’s plans for the 303ha area include:

Plans before the latest amendments
  • Keeping 1,199 metre section of the main runway as a working heritage airport with Manston’s two museums relocating to a new Spitfire Quarter, alongside new heritage aviation attractions.
  • A new settlement with up to 4,000 new homes from starter homes to retirement built over 20 years with all the community facilities to support them including shops and schools.
  • A new hi-tech manufacturing business park, part of a number of employment opportunities that aim to create thousands of jobs, a hotel and a new country  with an area available for events, farmers markets and other community activities.
  • A state-of-the-art sports and leisure village, that will deliver Kent’s first 50m Olympic sized pool, a surf lake and other sports facilities.
  • SHP has also revealed that Match Day Centres has signed up to run a football centre at the site.

Invitation to councillors

An invitation has been extended to Thanet District Council, with the offer of one or more presentations to political groups represented on the authority, including UKIP, Conservative, Labour and Independent councillors.

The sessions follow on from two public exhibition events held last month at the Holiday Inn Express, Minster and Pegwell Bay Hotel in Ramsgate.

Trevor Cartner, Co-Owner, Stone Hill Park, said:“Seeking the views of Thanet on what is both right and deliverable for the district’s largest available brownfield site has always been important to us – and continues to be.

“We are moving ahead with significant enhancements to our masterplan, which we have already shared with the public with further engagement to come with local politicians, community groups and others over the coming weeks.

“Their input – together with that of statutory consultees – will ensure the enhanced proposals being submitted to Thanet District Council in the New Year deliver what the district needs – for the long term.

“That will include new heritage attractions; thousands of much needed homes; significant numbers of jobs and training opportunities; acres of new open space and a destination sports and leisure village.”

Get a presentation

If you are a community group from Thanet interested in meeting with or receiving a presentation from the Stone Hill Park project team, please contact Miranda Chapman or Lee Winter at Pillory Barn by calling 01622 684407.

RSP proposal for the Manston site

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.

The DCO submission date had been the end of this year but has now been delayed until next year.

RSP  will now hold further consultation events in Ramsgate and Herne Bay during January 2018. Anyone is welcome to respond to the consultation whether they attend an event or not.  RSP says even more events will be held later in 2018 as part of the air space change proposal that it will be submitting to the CAA.

George Yerrall, from RSP, 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 new consultation document will set out: a proposed noise mitigation plan – namely the specific commitments we 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.”

Further details of exact timings for the January events will follow.


  1. Interesting……..
    I have grave concerns about their “Heritage” Runway….. Will the CAA ever allow flights in such proximity to the proposed housing developments?….

    • No of course they will not and that is the reason SHP have suggested it. Just going all out to destroy Manston Airport. It will not work, Manston Airport will return !!!

    • Of course we know that the only thing Thanet would end up with is an unlicensed “airstrip” that could not be used for anymore than 28 days a year as they have no intention of seeking a CAA licence! It would be of no use to man nor beast. It is a sop to anyone who supports the retention of aviation at Manston and the good thing is most people aren’t stupid enough to believe the nonsense out of SHP and TDC!

  2. Nobody asked for Stone Hill Park and for that matter nobody wants it. The few not wanting an airport will accept anything blindly so long as planes don’t fly over their houses. The NIMBY response is not a reason to hand over an airport for £1 to pernicious property developers to destroy and make massive profits on. Sensible Councillors will stay away and vote down the local plan which isn’t a plan and makes no sense as it only brings people and not jobs or tourism to Thanet. The Council Leader and Chief Exec have tried to bully their scheme through TDC but the day is coming when any remaining support will vapourise into thin air. The Councils ‘get out of debt plan’ may be a parasitic relationship that suits both but that will never make it right for the local community.

    • Totally agree, Ian.
      I also hope that, as full council weren’t even allowed to receive the presentation by RiverOak, fairness will prevail by only allowing Cabinet and the SMT to listen to SHP’s new presentation too!

  3. Will SHP realise that most residents live in Margate, Ramsgate and Broadstairs?
    Or will they continue to hold ‘consultations’ in out of town locations at Pegwell and Thanet Way? Do they realise that we don’t all drive … or are they deliberately choosing hard to travel to locations?

  4. Stone Hill Park plans are amazing, and would help transform Thanet. The site is owned by regeneration experts, who have succeeded in other areas of the country, and are generally welcomed with open arms, as they bring jobs, much needed in this deprived area. Thanet Council is due to vote on the Local Plan on 18 January 2018, and if it is rejected, which is threatened by quite a few councillors,on the basis that they want the area to remain marked for aviation only, then the Government has already written to Thanet Council, to state that they will take over the local plan. This will result in many houses being built across Thanet, as that is the Government’s agenda, and they will be built without the infrastructure, which is planned by SHP. So the airport ehthusiasts are capable of blighting this area for generations to come, and to pasa up on this great investment in the area.

    • Everybody knows that is the false dialogue being pumped out of SHP and TDC. Personally I welcome intervention by Government because it is very clear that TDC cannot manage even the basics let alone a complex site such as Manston. There are plenty of green wedges and genuine Brownfield sites in Thanet without desecrating the airport which has the capacity to bring tourism as well as freight forwarding jobs on top of the usual airport servicing and handling jobs. SHP is a perfect example of how a large airport in the hands of property developers can be trashed given the support of a greedy local authority desperate for Council Tax receipts. It is not the solution to Thanets problems. Messrs Wells, Homer, Cartner, Mugrave and Gloag need to realise that Thanet is still pretty much an island with only an couple of roads in and out and that ALL development eats into the hinterland. This is unique to Thanet and makes it a special case. Stone Hill Park is the wrong development in the wrong place. Strategic thinkers will recognise this.

      • The “wrong thing in the wrong place” is Manston ad an airport. Every independent expert report has said so. Falcon, Avia, York Aviation, Davies. There is not one credible report which says that aviation at Manston would be a commercial success. It is too far from the rest of the UK generally, and London particularly.
        “Thanet is still pretty much an island with only an couple of roads in and out”. Quite. And that explains quite a lot about Manston’s continued failure as a commercially successful airport.

        • Nice try! Forgive me if I disregard the paid for reports by TDC. I am still waiting for a single report that says SHP is a good idea and not one that has been commissioned by them or TDC! The commercial success of Manston Airport purely hangs on the number of available Stands (where aircraft park and unload/load) Till now Manston has only had one effective stand. This has always been the constraining factor not its geographical position. This will be remiedied by RSP and that is why Manston can and will be a commercial sucess – simply by investing enough money in the place to make it efficient. As for traffic – commercial vehicles would only need to follow the dual carriageway as they did before. The substantial problem with SHP is the Traffic generated by 4,000 + dwellings and the extra infrastructure required off site to make it sustainable. A whole new network of roads will end up subdiving Thanet into a warren of roads worse than WWX except it will affect all of Thanet. People travelling from the East (Birchington and Minster for example) will have to traverse this new town to get to WWX which can barely cope when its busy now anyway. SHP is not the answer to Thanets problems.

          • Well said, Ian. I totally agree. Thanet roads are gridlocked already. The thought of a few more thousand cars per day using the same roads, is terrifying! Too ridiculous to contemplate!

    • What a load of utter rubbish. Manston Airport WILL return for flights in due course. You do not know what you are talking about. There are many hundreds of vacant properties already around Thanet. They need to be utilised!

    • DCLG have written to TDC for a response, which as yet hasn’t been sent. TDC need to amend the current Draft Local Plan (DLP) to include the possibility that a DCO may be granted, which will be for aviation use only. Without it, and without addressing several issues regarding environmental and infrastructure issues, the DLP will be rejected by PINS, as it is unsound. Why can’t the TDC SMT see this? Are they totally inept?

    • Well “Voice of Sense Thanet” There is no “sense” in your ideas. There are more than a thousand empty properties in Thanet that need filling before ANY new houses are built. You are selfish. I doubt if even one of your number will state categorically that you never have and never will fly because you are so totally against inconveniencing those under the flightpath. So far not one has said so and I have asked this question of you previously. It proves beyond any doubt that you are selfish to the core!

      • I have only flown four times-twice to Greece and back-in my entire life. Since then I have travelled by train and bus-very occasionally by car,but only in Britain. I don’t think my holidays are so important that they justify damaging the environment to the extent that planes do.

        Being personally insulting to people you do not agree with does not help to further anybody’s argument.

  5. I hope many residents take the opportunity to attend SHP’s consultations and do so with open minds. In my opinion, the area has been blighted for far too long by the jaundiced opinions of people who want the airport to be reopened when there is no realistic prospect of it being viable. In my opinion, SHP’s plans are realistic and provide a sensible way of providing additional housing whilst balancing that provision with the required infrastructure and industry. I cannot understand why some people are so negative about developers who have such a good track record of delivering regeneration projects.

  6. The developers you mention have a poor track record. They failed to provide a regional hospital on the Wynyard Park site, they failed to attract NEW investment at The Discovery Park and finally “divested” themselves of it because everybody sees their failure. Currently they have failed to find occupiers for the Sainsbury’s site on the Thanet Way they took over. They have a poor track record and nothing more!

  7. The best use for such a large brownfield site is a mixed-use development such as Stone Hill Park’s owners now propose. The previous airport was in the wrong place to be a commercial success.

    There seems to be a considerable amount of local support for Stone Hill Park and a decreasing amount for Riveroak. Perhaps this is because it is rapidly becoming clear to local residents that Riveroak’s plans for a 24/7 cargo hub a mere couple of miles from Ramsgate would have a devastating impact on the lives of everybody under the flight path.

  8. There is NO plan for a “24/7” Cargo Hub. It is not profitable for Airports to run 24/7 precisely because night flights are so undesirable to local communities! There is an established Hun at East Midlands for that kind of Cargo. Manston’s Mode of Operation does not need 24/7 Operation. Mostly daytime hours with the very odd night flight using modern, clean aircraft. Also with Smart flightpaths using GPS routes both in and out can be fine tuned to minimise disruption to local residents. The airport was previously limited by an Instrument Landing System (ILS) at one end which unduly affected Ramsgate residents. The CAA and RiverOak SP want to work with local communities to mitigate any issues. A housing Estate with 4K dwellings will add far more pollution and disruption to Thanet than the airport ever could!

    • According to RSP’s spokesperson, Roger Gale, there will be a need for a “modest number” of unscheduled night flights (letter to the Gazette, Aug 2016) do it must br true.

      • Sir Roger Gale is not RSP’s spokesperson he is the Governments liaison and only wants the best for Thanet. Only absolutely necessary nightflights will happen. It is in nobodies interest to disturb the residents of Thanet at all hours. The upcoming consultations will look at how smart airspace/GPS can be used to mitigate possible noise for those on flightpaths. I would never begrudge aid flights. Aircraft use little power on landing and any outbound aircraft can track to the west and can avoid populated areas including Herne Bay. It is a genuine concern but one that has been over hyped by certain people!

  9. Who said that 24/7 operations are undesirable? That’s right, it was RSP, who are applying for the freight depot. Well to paraphrase Mandy Rice-Davies: “They would say that, wouldn’t they?” The fact is they have included plans for night flights in the document they have put forward for consultation and they are now talking about quota count restrictions, which only apply to night flights. The people of Ramsgate aren’t stupid. They know that if it looks like a duck and sounds like a duck it probably is a duck. So, the nobody is being taken in by the ridiculous claims that RSP aren’t planning night-flights.

    • RiverOak SP have said nightflights are undesirable! It doesn’t work with their model. Yes they had to scope in official documents the consequences and gauge local opinion because it would be remiss if they didn’t. In fact the same type of agreements would be made with TDC to sanction all but necessary night flights – urgent foreign aid etc. So all I can say in honesty is that your duck is quackers!

  10. The article says “RSP hopes to reopen the airport site in a £300m project to create an air freight hub with passenger services and business aviation”.

    As for Sir Roger Gale, he’s got a very funny idea of what’s best for Thanet if he thinks something like East Midlands Airport is what we need. Of course, he doesn’t live quite as close to the flight path as we poor ignorant Ramsgatian peasants do…

    • What a sad attitude Marva! Are you one who will state categorically that you never have and never will fly from ANY airport because you would not contribute to the inconvenience of those over whose homes you would fly? I doubt it very much!

        • This shows that you have no idea of their declared intentions. A freight Hub yes and small feeder aircraft to fly people to Amsterdam airport in order to then fly from there to several dozen international destinations. These are the facts!

    • That puts you in an even smaller minority of people. However we are all entitled to our opinion just don’t expect it to carry much weight with the Planning Inspectorate!

  11. The thing which will not carry weight with the planning inspectorate (or anyone else) is a plan for a new airport which isn’t underpinned by any business rationale or logic. Sadly, for the airport supporters SHP has just published York Aviation’s demolition of RSP’s case for a freight depot. It’s full of inconvenient truths about the freight market. The fat lady is singing for RSP.

    • I eagerly await any unbiased report that says SHP is perfect for Manston. I would then of course consider that alongside the evidence being presented to the Planning Inspectorate from RSP not from third parties that have a vested interest. Sadly all commissioned reports by interested parties are null and void in the eyes of an independent adjudicator. As Chris Wells often cites its all about the evidence. Shame they wasted all our money!

      • Absolute rubbish!! Whoever York Aviation is, they are not Manston. Manston Airport is needed to relieve the freight problems at LHR, LGW and STN. Those who are pro housing. when there are probably up to one thousand empty properties around Thanet, would seem to be interested only in one thing – lining their own pockets. Very many of us are disgusted with TDC who were voted in on their COMMITTMENT TO GET MANSTON UP AND RUNNING AGAIN. THEY LIED! there is no other description for their actions! If TDC said Christmas Day will be on Monday 25th December this year, I would not believe them!

  12. As SHP own the land in question, they do not need to present a report. The council’s planning department will consider their application and advise the council whether or not to accept it.

    Unless the government alters its stance on public housing and gives local councils a large amount of money to be allocated on compulsorily purchasing empty properties, existing vacant residential properties will remain unused.

    In the 2015 elections, all the main parties in Thanet included the re-opening of Manston Airport in their manifestoes, except of course for the Green Party. But Manston was only one item among many. TDC was voted in for many reasons other than Manston.

    Finally, RSP like all other businesses are as interested as SHP in lining their own pockets. They are not philanthropists or charities. Their commitment is to themselves and their shareholders.

    • Your must understand that Ann Gloag bought an airport and without the perquisite change of use. This was ill judged as it meant to pass it through Council it would require the consent of the Council and therefore the people of Thanet. This has not been forthcoming. The people of Thanet do not support this proposal and never will. No amount of bullying – which is essentially what SHP and Chris Wells have been involved in will change anybodies minds. In fact all it does is strengthen the resolve of all those who support the airport and its future. Reams of supporting reports generated by interested parties will make no difference to the outcome. Manston will remain an airport.

  13. The above comment by Ian Connor raises several interesting issues.

    Ann Gloag bought a large brownfield site which had been an unsuccessful commercial airport. SHP and Chris Wells are not bullying anybody. It is common sense on the council’s part not to support a company which is not open about its financial credentials.The people of Thanet are not a homogeneous lump with only one opinion between them. Wishful thinking doesn’t make things happen and the council, despite its pre-election promises, will not persist in supporting an idea which if realized would cause a great deal of damage to the residents of a large part of Thanet.

    Manston simply is not an airport any more. Just as it is no longer, let’s say, a Bronze Age settlement.

    I don’t understand why those who have spent a large amount of time, money and energy supporting the idea of an airport during the past few years have done so when they could instead have been campaigning against the government’s imposition of a housing quota of almost 20,00 homes on Thanet. Thanet’s MPs are both Tories- surely they would listen with sympathy to their constituents.

    • Have you been to the Diane Abbot school of Mathematics? You should have said, I would have kept it simple. There will not be a single house built on Manston. RSP had no reason to trust TDC after it became abundantly clear they had “succumbed” (let’s say for legal reasons) to SHP’s wishes without even hearing RSP’s case. You can dress it up whatever way you want but the Teesside Chancers will not get their way because a few dozen people don’t want planes flying over their houses. Frankly I have no issue with 20,000 houses in Thanet providing they are assimilated into existing communities and the facilities are there to cope with it. Manston will never be that place. The intelligent use of Green Wedges and repurpurpusing genuine Brownfield site is not an issue for me. There are plenty of unused areas about and I don’t see why a couple of chancers should be given the opportunity to turnover land for building whilst there is ample supply and limited demand.

  14. In December 2016 there were 3000 homeless people in Kent, according to Shelter. Are they to continue sleeping in shop doorways? Or shall we put pressure on local councillors and Thanet’s MPs to provide more cheap social housing? I realize that- considering that it was |Thatcher who introduced the right to buy- party loyalty may hinder their natural desire for social justice. But clearly the present situation requires a humane solution and a swift one.

    I don’t know what the amount of social housing included in SHP’s plans is but I hope it will some way,even if only a little way, to solving this crisis.

    • You clearly know little about the housing market. Social housing is generally now provided through Housing Associations on a different basis according to needs. Either rented, Rent to Buy, or Shared Ownership. The housing proposed under the original SHP plan for 3,000 dwellings averaged at £400,000 per property on their so called £1Bn “investment” which was actually revenue from projected sales and not an investment figure. This clearly indicates that the majority of housing will be DFL and ex London Social tenants that are cheaper to house outside London. The requirement to build Social houses is very limited and this does not bring the revenue to Local Authorities as they often have Council Tax Benefit. The nett contribution to TDC beyond the New House Bonus scheme is zero! You will 90% is private sector and 10% Social. Yet again SHP does not make a dent on the problem1

  15. It is for TDC to ensure that the housing provided is balanced with the needs of the area. Unfortunately, TDC is full of councillors who want an airport instead and so, they are not even discussing the correct balance of housing or the infrastructure which needs to be provided. The council should be engaging with the developer rather than pursuing a pipe-dream.

    • Fortunately TDC is full of Councillors that support the airport because that is what the local people want! Nobody asked for or wants SHP. It isn’t in the best interests of the local community to dump a whole new town into the middle of Thanet when it can’t cope with needs of the local population as it is. SHP will not solve any problems only create new ones! Chris Wells seems to have extensively “engaged” with the developer when he and Homer should have been enagaging with RSP and doing what the local populous asked UKIP to do!

  16. Some local people want an airport, some don’t. Some councillors want an airport, some don’t. Some people would prefer to see all local brownfield sites utilized for housing- since there is not only a backlog of badly-housed, as well as currently homeless, people in Thanet, but a need to prepare for the future housing needs of Thanet’s population.

    Local councillors have to do what currently appears best for their area. Whatever they promised two years ago, many things have changed which they are now going to have to take into account. The council, like the rest of us, are individuals. Nostalgia and sentiment will have to give way to practicalities.

    There is nothing wrong in breaking a promise when you find out that keeping it would cause a great deal of damage to the people whose welfare you should be improving.

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