RiverOak Strategic Partners release noise mitigation proposals for Manston airport site

Manston airport site Photo Adam Dark

RiverOak Strategic Partners has published a draft Noise Mitigation Plan and made some changes to its proposals for the Manston airport site.

The firm has also announced plans for a community trust to be created.

The firm, which launches a new round of consultation from today (January 12), is proposing to reopen Manston airport as an air freight hub with associated business aviation and passenger services.

The company had planned to submit an application for a Development Consent Order to the Planning Inspectorate to allow a compulsory purchase of the site by the end of last year but that is now delayed until after the consultation. It bought out the DCO rights from the original proposing company RiverOak corporation in December 2016.

The  draft noise mitigation plan includes proposals to restrict noisier aircraft and night time operations. It also proposes the creation of a community trust.

The plan has proposals for a quota count system, used at many UK airports, which would seek to control the total amount of noise from aircraft using the airport. Twelve further measures are proposed, including an insulation scheme for residential and noise-sensitive commercial properties (such as schools), and fines for individually noisy aircraft, or those that stray from approved flightpaths without good reason, to be spent by a Community Consultative Committee that will be set up.

Other changes to the proposals include:

  • smaller recycling hangars;
  • additional parking to the east of the site;
  • greater detail in and around the cargo facilities;
  • addition of small business aviation hangars and helicopter stands;
  • existing redundant pavement either side of the runways is now shown as being retained, following consultation feedback from the Environment Agency;
  • a proposed fuel farm and fire station are now shown on the masterplan;
  • highway junctions in and around the airport have been substantially developed, including a major upgrade to the Spitfire Way / Manston Road junction; and
  • access to the passenger terminal has been substantially developed, including a 30m exclusion zone between the terminal building and traffic.
  • More developed environmental information, including additional assessment of the likely effects of reopening Manston on the environment, such as the effect on climate change, waste, human health, and major accidents and disasters.

George Yerrall, a director of RiverOak, said: “Although not the only aspect of our plans that we are seeking feedback upon, we have always been aware that the issue of noise created by the operation of a redeveloped Manston airport would be one of the issues of principal concern for Thanet residents.

“We understand those concerns and, in response, have decided to proactively offer a range of commitments designed to address their concerns to the extent possible.

“Strictly speaking, a Noise Mitigation Plan is not required at either consultation or application stages of a Development Consent Order, but we believe it is right to offer a draft plan now for feedback, which will enable us to take the feedback into consideration before the plan before is finalised.”

“We look forward to welcoming the community to our consultation events in Ramsgate and Herne Bay – and to receiving feedback on any aspect of our refined proposals.”

RSP artist impression

The consultation documents can be seen online at http://rsp.co.uk/statutory-consultation/.

Documents are also at isle libraries

  •  Birchington Library
    • Broadstairs Library
    • Cliftonville Library
    • Deal Library (full copy of Preliminary Environmental Information report available here)
    • Herne Bay Library (full copy of Preliminary Environmental Information report available here)
    • Margate Library (full copy of Preliminary Environmental Information report available here)
    • Minster-in-Thanet Library
    • Newington Library
    • Ramsgate Library
    • Sandwich Library
    • Westgate Library

Public events will be held on January 23 at the Comfort Inn in Ramsgate between 2pm and 8pm and on January 24 at The Kings Hall, Herne Bay, from 2pm to 8pm.

The 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

The deadline for responses is 11.59pm on Friday 16 February.  Responses to the consultation can be made online, by email, by post or at the consultation events or by post: to Manston Airport Consultation, Bircham Dyson Bell, 50 Broadway, London SW1H 0BL;

A spokesman for Save Manston Airport association said: “There is much new in these presentations, so we say to all, please do read as much of the documentation as you can, and do please attend the consultations and make responses regarding your views.

“We want the airport that RiverOak are creating, and the jobs, employment and training that will ensue, to reflect the views of the people of Thanet and East Kent as closely as possible. This is your chance to make your views known to the National Planning Inspectorate and the Secretary of State.”

SHP plan

Site owners Stone Hill Park held consultation events last November on their reworked proposals for housing, business, heritage and leisure space at the Manston site.

The team leading the project for Stone Hill Park, including planning consultants GVA and aviation experts York Aviation.

Proposals include:

  • 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.

An updated application is expected to be lodged with Thanet council imminently.


  1. I am really fed up with consultation after consultation over Manston issues which are taking years and years and I expect many others are too. All these delaying tactics carrying on until the hope of eventually getting their wish. This is at the expense of Thanet residents who are just losing faith in anything happening there. Can TDC and SHP please just get on with it. Can this be the year of action rather than talk?

  2. So there will be night flights. Dependent on the aircraft, potentially around 2,000-6,000 movements a year just at night.

  3. Kent Resident and anti airport friends. So you are all fed up. London Resort Company Holding the company behind the Swanscombe Peninsular leisure and entertainment centre have been working on their DCO since July 2014. They have held 5 public consultations with an aim of applying for a DCO in early 2018. They rather like RSP are attempting get everything right first time round by listening to the public and business communities wishes. If they didn’t ask then the likes of yourselves would I have no doubts complain. Some are complaining about night flights and so RSP are allowing as is right for any eventuality and as required by law. If an emergency occurred at night are they supposed to turn the aircraft away. ? If a war was to occur are RSP supposed to say sorry you can’t use Manston Airport for humanitarian reasons. The MOD can requisition any airport at any time they so choose. And in answer to the question why don’t RSP approach the existing owners to purchase the site. They have and the offer of purchasing was refused by SHP/ Mrs Golag

    • What happens currently if an emergency occurs? Flights get diverted to Stanstead, as they did even when Manston was open.

  4. No kind of airport will improve things for the residents who would live under its flight path. Apropos the plans for Swanscombe, this sounds as damaging for the peninsula, in rather different ways, as an airport would be for Ramsgate. Its would-be developers have presented unrealistic plans, quoting unfeasibly enormous visitor numbers.

    There are several other interesting parallels with Riveroak/RSP’s DCO application, including the fact that the original applicant has removed itself and has had financial difficulties with previous developments.

    It seems obvious that the main reason why a commercial company would try to get a DCO is to make as much money out of it as possible.

  5. Sorry Marva. If the development is large enough and likely to have an impact on an area then the relevant government department can call it in and tell the applicant to apply for a DCO as occurred with the London Resort Company Holding application. As far as RSP is concerned the tried all avenues to purchase the airport from the present owner at the full asking price. Based on the present owners attitude the DCO route was the only way forward.

    Were Manston Airport developed for housing the noise, pollution and damage to health would be greater. Imagine 16,000 residents 8,000 additional vehicles in Ramsgate and Broadstairs. Now imagine the 17,250 proposed additional dwellings for Thanet this would bring additional 34,500 Vehicles to our streets and at least 68,000 residents. What would create the greatest health issues for Thanet as a whole, 2 planes an hour or for 16 hours or 34,500 vehicles trying to navigate through Thanet each day.

  6. RSP’s plans are looking good to fail…then knock out the land for development…what would Fraudmann of done without sir Roger Gale sticking his too bobs worth in to grab the land from it’s rightful owners?

  7. There is no need to assume that every new household will have even one car, let alone two. According to Councillor Matterface, Thanet is an area of low car ownership. There is no need, either, to be defeatist about this. It is perfectly possible for many new developments to have bus, tram and cycle routes designed into them. Public pressure on the government- pressure led by the public’s elected representatives, its local councillors and MPs – is probably the best, if not the only, way to break the vicious circle of increasing car use.

    I cannot think that inflicting a busy cargo airport on Ramsgate is a “way forward”.


  9. My concerns, as a Herne Bay resident are noise, especially at night, and increased road traffic especially at The Dartford Crossing which is already overoaded. River Oak states that it has a noise mitigation plan but I cannot find any figures. Each model of aircraft has a Quota Count (QC) between 1-16 according to the amount of noise it generates and airports have overall noise quotas which, following a government consultation, are being reduced. I cannot find data from River Oak giving the QCs for aircraft which will be using the airport, especially at night, or its proposed overall noise quota. Neither can I find the proposed number of night flights (Heathrow, for example has 5,800 take-offs and landings per year between 11.30pm and 6.00am, of which 80% are between 4.30am and 6.00am). We need to know the QCs of aircraft which will use Manston and not only the number of night flights but how these will be spread through the night. Finally, I cannot see that large number of jobs will be created unless Manston becomes a significant passenger airport as well as handling cargo.
    On the other hand, I do not support Manston’s development as housing because there are few employment prospects. Why cannot it revert to agricultural use – another `Thanet Earth’?

  10. First thank you Roger Gale, the minority who will not be effected by this want it as they think it will create lots of jobs and they think they can fly cheaply to Spain, first KLM failed, then Flybe they couldn’t make it work, Transport carries work on minimum margins so there won’t be hundreads of jobs, since being here Thanet way has been resurfaced three times so more lorries now even more repairs and now the main thing when there were a few flights into Manston the planes over Herne flue so low you could see the pilots the houses shook !
    So it’s a bad idea pollution, noise no one wants it … there’s no transport links and won’t be as there is no money oh and this will make Herne Bay not a nice place to visit or live and would spell an end to the yearly plane displays we have been enjoying

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