Stone Hill Park submit enhanced plans for Manston airport site

Enhanced plans from SHP

Enhanced planning proposals for homes, business and leisure on the Manston airport site have been submitted to Thanet District Council by land owners Stone Hill Park.

The proposals lodged last Thursday (May 3), set out the vision for up to 3,700 homes for all stages of life, from executive homes to starter and micro homes, built over a 15-20-year period.

SHP want to create 46,000 sq m of advanced/hi-tech employment space which SHP say will provide up to 2,000 direct jobs with 9,000 further jobs created over the course of the project, including construction and jobs in the supply chain for the wider area.

Plans include a heritage airport with an operational runway suitable for classic, vintage and potentially light aviation.

The Spitfire and Hurricane Museum and RAF Museum will be relocated to the runway, alongside other facilities including education space, hangars and a cafe;

There will be a series of public parks at the heart of the development, including the retention of the non-operational part of the former main runway as a recreational and community event space. In all 45% (133 hectares) of the total site area would be kept as green or open space;

SHP also plan to create The East Kent Sports Village with facilities including Kent’s first 50m Olympic sized swimming pool and a WaveGarden surf lake;

Plans include the completion of the first part of a strategic link road through the site to allow for future connections to Westwood Cross.

Other ‘green’ streets will be aligned to produce direct visual links between retained heritage features such as the fire station and control towers.

The mixed-use scheme will include schools,a  food store, cafes/restaurants, a 120-bed hotel and a health centre. Space for a small-scale campus for higher/further education is planned, close to the employment hub.

SHP say the development will mean Thanet council receives New Homes Bonus of £41.9m and annual tax receipts of £7m as well as community and infrastructure benefits through a future developer’s agreement.

The scheme has taken three years to reach this point. SHP say there will be a £500million investment in the project.

‘Economic shot in the arm’

Trevor Cartner, joint owner of Stone Hill Park, said: “In November we announced significant enhancements to our masterplan following extensive consultation. These updated proposals have now formed the basis of the planning application submitted today.

“Our intention is to deliver thousands of much needed homes, thousands of hi-tech and manufacturing jobs, as well as new heritage attractions, acres of new open space and a destination sports and leisure village.

“The application is the result of extensive consultation with residents, community groups, stakeholders and others helping us to finalise a scheme that will ensure this iconic site plays a key role in regenerating this part of Kent as a place to live, work and visit.

“What has been put forward and prepared over many months is the right plan for Manston and the right plan for Thanet, delivering the economic shot in the arm that this part of Kent needs now.

“Residents, politicians and others will now have a further chance to have their say over the coming weeks with Thanet District Council holding a period of statutory consultation with all our documentation placed on the council’s website, which will allow the public to engage in the process further.”

Once validated the plans will be available to view on the Thanet council website.

Draft Local Plan

The development plans, with a lower housing figure of 2,500, had been earmarked in Thanet’s Draft Local Plan as a contribution towards a housing target of 17,140 new isle homes by 2031.

But the publication stage of the plan was voted down on January 18 and in March this resulted in the announcement of central government intervention.

The Government’s Chief Planner and a team of experts will be sent to the isle to assess whether the plan needs taking out of the hands of Thanet council.

Alternative proposals


The firm aiming to bring aviation back to Manston airport has withdrawn a Development Consent Order (DCO) submission submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for the site in April.

A DCO is the means of obtaining permission for developments categorised as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP). This includes energy, transport, water and waste projects.

Riveroak Strategic Partners (RSP) sent 63 documents, containing almost 11,000 pages of proposals, to the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol.

But today (May 8) the Planning Inspectorate website displays a letter from RSP lawyers Bircham Dyson Bell which states the application has been withdrawn.

The letter says: “This letter is to notify you that our clients, RiverOak Strategic Partners Ltd, are withdrawing the application submitted on 10 April 2018 and are engaging with the Planning Inspectorate with a view to resubmission as soon as possible.”

The RSP proposals are for a £300m project to create an air freight hub with passenger services and business aviation.

RSP has a four phase plan across 15 years to create 19 new air cargo stands, update the runway, four new passenger aircraft stands and updated passenger terminal, refurbished fire station and new fire training area, aircraft recycling facility, flight training school, hangars for aircraft related business, highway improvements and the creation of a museum quarter.

A statement from RSP says: “RiverOak Strategic Partners has temporarily withdrawn its DCO application in respect of Manston Airport. This is not uncommon with DCOs and RSP is in dialogue with the Planning Inspectorate in order that the application can be resubmitted as soon as possible.”

The withdrawal notice comes on the same day as Stone Hill Park announced it has submitted enhanced plans for houses, business and leisure to be developed at the site.

The DCO application includes an Environmental Statement, a four-volume Economic Assessment, plans and drawings of the proposals and a report on the one non-statutory and two statutory consultation exercises, undertaken across 2016, 2017 and 2018, to which over 4200 responses were received.



  1. Stone Hill Park. Where are are all the cars going to go and how are they going to get around. It Dead lock now at Westwood Cross! Where is all The sewage going to go now the flood gates have to be opened and then the beaches have to be closed. Not good for the surrounding towns with holiday makers Also where is all the water going to come from as we have a shortish now and we nearly every year there is a hosepipe ban. Air pollution from all the cars, a lot more than some aircraft taking off. This project of fairytale site will be the end of Thanet as we know it. I say NO NO NO. Airport is what we need and have always had.

    • Hello I am with Susan with this one and over people we need a airport around here we don’t need any more House’s we beeing trying to save the airport and we won’t it back it won’t be the same with a airport so please keep the airport were need it

    • I agree, Susan, 100% with what you say. Manston Airport is an airport and needs to remain so.

    • I don’t. A few thousand homes on this big brownfield site should ensure that far fewer are built on greenfield sites.

      And this area hasn’t always had an airport. Not by a long chalk. And clearly we don’t need one otherwise we would still have one.

      • There has been an airfield/ airport on this site for 101 years. Marva Rees, I’d love to know where you get your information from.

        • “Airport is what we need and have always had.” is what Susan Pottle said. That id not true on several counts.
          For example, if we needed an airport, why fid so few peiple fly from it that it went out of business? Clearly, it was not needed by many, many people in Thanet.
          It had *never* been a commercially successful airport.

          • Heathrow is only 72 years old in comparison, the first airport ever to open was in 1916, so only 102 years ago, which makes Manstons 101 years look pretty impressive really.
            You could also argue there hasn’t always been houses in Thanet, it would be just as stupid an argument.

  2. Fantastic news all round , its about time the owners of the land and TDC were allowed to get on with this fine development.

    • I was simply stating a fact about the airport’s length of existence. Manston Airport’s been closed since 2014. Has it been an airfield since then? Has the Effingham Street police station been a police station since it closed? An interesting question.

  3. Good Grief!
    we get houses (plus all the associated problems with cars, water, sewage etc)
    we get houses (plus all the associated problems with cars, water, sewage etc)
    PLUS a cargo hub airport, with all the noise, pollution, environmental damage associated with that.

    Better all round, surely, to just have the houses?

    • People ain’t got a clue ! Just look at Westwood !
      Congested with useless drivers that don’t even know what an indicator is for in a car. The place will come to a standstill.
      Thanet needs permanent employment coming to this area.
      And this airport would also
      Be beneficial nationally not just local.
      Wake up thanetians and support what’s best in many ways.

  4. Never before has Thanet had the opportunity to welcome an investment of this magnitude with such huge potential for job creation. The houses have to be built anyway but these plans offer so much more besides. It is, perhaps, predictable, that a few dozen parka-clad plane-spotters would continue whinging and wishing the airport was coming back. But the vast majority will welcome a well=planned and professionally presented development of this size as a massive step forward and the economic boost the area needs to climb out of the doldrums.

  5. This housing consortium can build this on the cabbage fields next to the airport not on mansion
    This country and this county needs mansion as an airport that’s mansions path in life
    ONCE this viable well needed airport is lost its lost for good
    A HELL of a lot
    More than what will be employed by a few industrial units

    • It doesn’t matter how many work at Heathrow or Gatwick. When Manston was open it employed fewer than 150 people, and many of those were part-time or on zero hours contracts. Over the 15 years it was open it failed to deliver a fraction of the benefits which were promised when it was privatised. Some airports are successful and some are not. It’s largely down to location and Manston falls into the latter category. It’s time some people stopped flogging a dead horse.

    • I can’t believe that anyone could honestly prefer thousands of houses to be built on agricultural land, rather than on a large brownfield site whose past history clearly indicates that it is unlikely – because of its position- ever to be a successful commercial airport.

  6. I seriously cannot believe that there is any debate any longer. A well thought out plan for meeting some of Thanet’s housing needs and requirements, with industry providing jobs and a plan to protect the aviation of the site versus a poorly thought out plan that is about of as much national importance as my bowel movements. Then add the dubious nature of RSP’s registration and ownership. Really not rocket science, is it?

  7. Tech and manufacturing jobs, heritage airport with possibility of recreational flights (yay!), 45% green space, nature trails, woodland, state of the art leisure facilities and a big dent in the housing quota. What’s not to love? Apart from a few diehard supporters of a cargo hub I imagine most will be delighted with this proposal. £500M investment that the area sorely needs.

  8. I just hope You Sir Roger Gale and you Rt hon Craig Mackinlay take in whats on offer from SHP instead of inflickting on us residents a noisy polluting freight hub with the same old ageing dirty freight planes unkept promises, and more failures and redundancys,just your own benefit.

  9. Hmmmm what about GP surgeries, hospital, schools, water supply, infrastructure etc? Cars are taking over the country ????we’re talking of an extra 12000 of cars as there’s about 3 per house. Motoring is very cheap, every where there are far too many of the nasty polluters ???? government should vastly increase road fund license and tax on fuel to pay into the NHS.
    Doubtful that Riveroak will get DCO thank God!!
    Difficult solution really.

  10. Its om for the houses to b built but we havent got the roads to support them or the water,sewage ect were are the home owners going to come from that worries me bring back the airport

  11. Let’s break down the plan:
    – 3,700 homes
    – 2,000 jobs
    – New museum
    – Schools
    – Sports village
    – Office/business space

    First off, the homes will be built over 15-20 years, so in reality this is only ~200 homes a year.

    2000 jobs, from where? SHP will not be creating these jobs, there is no guarantee of job creation other than the building works itself.

    New museum? Great paid for by who?

    Schools? Great paid for by who?

    Sports village? Who will have access to it? It has to be paid for, this won’t be free, in fact I would take a guess this won’t be cheap either. Think expensive gym membership

    Office/business space? Great but again no guarantee of job creation.

    How affordable is all this housing going to be for the low wages of Kent where high paid job opportunities are slim? This is a commercial project.. none of this is going to be that affordable I would imagine.

    I don’t have time to go through the whole SHP web site or planning app but there seems to be a lot of questions here.

    BTW I would argue the reason Manston failed as an airport was transport links and economy of scale, it did too little, with an expanded plan and investment it might work better.

  12. Oh dear God the same old tired arguments “we don’t need more houses”. Or the other go to chant of its been an airport for 100 years!! Or there’s so much congestion already. When will all those for the airport realise that it’s not airport or houses if there’s an airport it’ll be both. More cars PLUS cargo lorries, fuel tankers and cars. Also it was an RAF Base for years. I’m sure the RAF would have laughed if you’d pitched up to fly to Spain courtesy of the RAF. When it was a working airport it never made a profit, in fact it made loses of over £100m. Tony Freudmann is a struck off solicitor – who in their right mind would put their trust in him?

  13. You only have to fly to airports like Gatwick and Heathrow to see the need for additional runway and boarding facilities. Arriving from Costa Rica last week our pilot had to wait for a considerable amount of time before he was able to go to an aircraft stand to unload his passengers. This was after a long haul,nine hour thirty minute flight assisted by a strong tail wind . There is no need to build additional runways when there is a perfectly good one at Manston.

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