The company planning to create homes, business and leisure at the Manston airport site has agreed an ‘in principle’ deal with a housing association for the sale of the first 400 homes.
Optivo, which manages homes in London, the South East and the Midlands, will work with Stone Hill Park on a detailed plan for the first phase which will also include a new school and infrastructure.
An enhanced outline planning application for the site was lodged with Thanet council this month and is now out for consultation.
A decision is expected later this year and, if it is approved, a detailed planning application would follow.
Stone Hill Park co-owner Trevor Cartner said: “We’re delighted to have Optivo on board as a partner to deliver the first phase of housing. We’ve been very impressed with their plans and aspirations for the site which match our own.”
“We will be developing a range of homes from affordable to executive and will also build the first school together with much of the infrastructure to serve the site as a whole. We are excited to see our plans becoming a reality.”
The first phase is part of a proposed £500million scheme to build up to 3,700 homes over a 20-year period. The site will also include a hi-tech manufacturing park, aviation heritage attractions, a new country park and leisure facilities, including Kent’s first Olympic sized pool.
Neill Tickle, Development Director of Optivo said: “Although this is early days, we’re really excited to partner with Stone Hill Park and bring 400 much needed homes as the first part of this exciting new project.”
“We appreciate the redevelopment of the Manston Airport site has been a sensitive issue, with strong local feelings and we understand this.
“However, as a local housing association, we’re also aware of the shortage of affordable housing in Thanet, with the local Council identifying the need for 17,140 homes in the area by 2031.
“By partnering with Stone Hill Park we’ll ensure that people in local communities have access to high-quality, affordable homes now and for generations to come. We believe this first phase of development will launch a successful new chapter for Manston and a prosperous one for Thanet.”
Optivo will lead on the design for the first phase project and will be holding consultation events with residents to gather feedback.
Riveroak Strategic Partners (RSP), the firm aiming to bring aviation back to the site, withdrew its Development Consent Order submitted to the Planning Inspectorate this month but says it hopes in resubmit in the coming weeks.
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.