Matthew vs Melissa: Manston and the question of houses or airport

Matthew and Melissa

Last week Matthew and Melissa debated the migration of people to Thanet, from London (DFL – Down from London) and further afield (DFA – Down from Anywhere).

Matthew was in favour, Melissa not. Just over 53% of those who voted agreed with Matthew, just over 40% were with Melissa with the remaining just under 7% not sure.

This week the pair have alternate views on the Manston airport site, a hot potato in Thanet whichever side of the fence you are on.

Melissa says:

I love airports. I grew up in the shadow of Stansted airport, where my mum worked as an air traffic controller, and would occasionally sneak me in to watch the planes take off and land. To me, they represent mystery, romance, the thrilling allure of escape.

For Thanet, its airport represents history, yes, but also opportunity.

Manston was central to the air defence of Great Britain throughout both world wars, but safe to say it’s had a chequered history ever since.  Firm after firm have used the airport as a cash cow, crippling it with debts and poor decisions, yet throughout the decades it has nonetheless remained a solvent, viable business proposition, whether for trainee pilots, cargo or passengers. Why else would interest in it remain so intense? What shouts so loud as money?

And why would RiverOak, a firm with experience of creating a hugely successful cargo hub airport in Texas, as well as vastly expensive and successful new airport terminals at JFK and Newark airport, have been so keen to acquire Manston?

Because profit. That’s why.

What, then, will Riveroak Strategic Partners (RSP) now offer Thanet? Jobs! Proper jobs, local jobs. An airport in this area will mean well-paid jobs for locals, and also a boom in our tourist industry, for all the bars, hotels, restaurants, shops. Add to this the indirect opportunities created by having well-paid jobs available locally, vastly increasing the spending power of those connected with the airport, and the economic advantages for Thanet  – indeed, all of East Kent – start to appear considerable.

Let’s now consider the alternative proposals of Stone Hill Park. They would prefer instead 4000 new houses (4000! In one place! That’s because driving anywhere in Thanet isn’t challenging enough, apparently). They won’t build the houses, either, but instead sell land on to others over a 20 year horizon, so that early purchasers will be surrounded by congestion, filth and noise for up to 20 years. These 4000 homes will all need gas, electricity, sewerage and water supplies, meaning the laying of new supply lines, and gaining a supply capacity which is currently nowhere in sight.

Stone Hill also claim to offer thousands of permanent manufacturing jobs, although it isn’t clear exactly what these would be, or indeed, whether local people would be prioritised. There seems to be every chance this would represent an opportunity for people outside the area to make a quick profit, then clear off again.

RSP, however, who seek to reopen Manston as an airport, require their contractors to employ as many local people as possible, and indeed are already putting education and training in place to make that happen. There are no longer careers officers or vocational advisors in our local schools. How else can we lift the aspirations and skill levels of the young?

Moreover, how else can we hope to secure Britain’s place in the world? China has built more than 100 new airports over the past few years, with plans to build many more, while we here in the UK have bulldozed half the number of our airfields. China is now the second biggest economy in the world, with its coffers growing at the fastest rate, while the UK slides sorrowfully down the table. Don’t we want more for our country?

And on a local level, don’t we want more for Thanet? Localism means working with what’s already here, as well as considering what the existing population truly wants and needs. Let’s invest in our area for the good of the people who already live here, building on our already considerable heritage and resources, retaining our unique, indubitable character, and bringing training, investment and employment where it’s so urgently needed. Bring planes back to Manston.

Matthew says:

Manston is a place that’s embedded into our local psyche. We’re all pro-airport or pro-redevelopment … or anti-airport or anti-redevelopment, depending on the language you use.

There has been a landing strip at Manston for 100 years, and it is rather iconic; it provided a base of operations during wartime, training facilities during peacetime, and a place for commercial ventures that never – aha – got off the ground.

There has been a lot of effort in getting it redeveloped, and I applaud everything that’s been done by so many passionate people; especially as they continue to fight and look at options long after – sadly – all the equipment making it a space that could enable Manston to restart immediately has gone. I’m not being facetious when I say that either, merely admiring peoples’ tenacity.

But Manston airport’s days as a commercial airport have, I’m sad to say, gone. There’s a fascinating report entitled “No Room for Late Arrivals”; I had this shared with me on Twitter by someone who heard Melissa and I were writing these pieces and went out of their way to track me down.

I’ll let you read it at your leisure, but it did provide for a fascinating read. Did you know, for example, that there were three separate owners of the airport between 1999 and 2014? It’s difficult to keep track of what happened when, but the airports certainly tried to make it work – and none of them succeeded.

But would more cargo flights work instead? The previous owners have tried that to a degree, but perhaps a dedicated commercial hub would be the way forward. Well, the airport “accounted for no more than 1% to 2% of the UK’s air freight. It lost millions of pounds every year. It closed in 2014 because it could not attract cargo airlines to use it. The airport lost around £100m during its fifteen year commercial life.” (All from the report I mentioned)

One of the main questions to ask here is, “Do we need another commercial cargo airport?” The report notes that airports at East Midlands, Stansted, and Heathrow have spare capacity at the moment, so new owners at Manston would need to consider where they were going to get their cargo transport from; maybe businesses have already signed up, but if they haven’t, then a lot of work would need to be done first in order to guarantee a base level of income.

I’ve lived in Thanet all my life, so I’ve seen Manston’s fortunes wax and wane almost according to the seasons; every passenger airline that set up shop there, I’ve willed to succeed. But none of them have. I take no pleasure in saying that, but it’s the truth. One thing we have to consider is the efficacy of commercial planes from that site; it’s not like we haven’t tried, and it’s not like we haven’t studied it in some depth. There comes a time when something new might be worthy of consideration. A number of airlines can’t make it work, and the concept of night flights seems to inflame opinion as well.

Whether you’re a heavy or light sleeper, night flights in a relatively small area like Thanet could – I think we can agree – keep a lot of us awake at night. People who live in the flight paths of the bigger airports probably adjust to it to a large part, but not easily – and how many night flights would Manston have to allow in order to make the site viable? I ask because I don’t know the answer, but I would suggest that even one would be too many.

We should be rightly proud of our air flight heritage; Manston is part of World War 2’s history and is well-known amongst people interested in that era – which should be all of us, as there’s so much we can learn from those six years.

But Manston’s heritage is bigger than that single war; the Ministry of Defence has used it, private industry has been based there for years, we have a museum that I adore. But its central purpose of being an active, financially healthy airport is gone; the landing strip is pretty much the only thing left (I say “pretty much” because I can’t say with 100% certainty that there’s not anything else there), and I can only imagine the costs involved in bringing in new equipment to turn it back into an active airport – and that’s before any companies actually try to bring in flights.

So, let’s try something new; we can still respect the heritage of Manston without continuing to fight for the same future. The zeitgeist has changed, and we need to adapt; there are other options on the table, and yes we need to continue having discussions – will there be enough GP surgeries, schools, dentists, and buses for new residents? Will the water table and electric companies be able to provide basic utilities? There are people whose are employed to consider such things, and we must consider them now alongside the designs for a new, mini-town, but that mean we shouldn’t consider anything different. If we refused, Manston would stay empty and continue to sadly decay.

Manston’s future as an airport is the furthest away it’s ever been. We’ll not see it return to that state without significant, ongoing investment that may never see a return; insanity is often defined as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” – we’ve tried making airports successful, so perhaps it’s time we tried something new.

Manston excites local passions; my comments in this piece will undoubtedly annoy people who disagree with me, and others will get annoyed at Melissa for her argument. I’ve deliberately not gone deeply into statistics and numbers, all of which could – and, for all I know, have – be interpreted differently. There is a wealth of well-researched material out there, and what I’ve read, a lot of support for trying something new. IAs my fellow columnist Seb Reilly said in his own column on the subject; “The impression I get – and I could be mistaken – is that many Thanet residents, myself included, would just like something to happen with the site … Jobs are surely a higher priority than nostalgia or profit.”

Let’s be open to new possibilities and see where it leads us.

NOTE: The poll ended at 576 Melissa and 928 Matthew. Unfortunately due to multiple voting we have now had to remove the poll.


    • You think she had the edge Liam, SHOCKER!! They could ban aircraft, and you would STILL suggest Manston is viable as an airport!

  1. As always I read both sides before voting, and where Matthew paints a compelling portrait of Manston as a failed business venture, I found myself far more moved at horrific prospect of yet another humongous housing estate adding to our water shortage problem and completely kettling Thanet residents. This is a great series, and well done to both writers!

    • The houses are coming to Thanet whatever happens. Far better that they are built on one site, redundant Brown site, on the last remaining pockets of green space we have left on the island.

  2. Completely with Melissa. I strongly suspect that a lot of the drive to build houses is driven by greedy developers and not need! Thanet does need some affordable housing for sure but that is not what is planned I’m sure. Much more profit in expensive houses! We do need a major employer here and the airport can fulfil that in my view.

  3. I think Mellissa’s case is shot through with errors and inaccuracies. For example, she claims ” RiverOak, a firm with experience of creating a hugely successful cargo hub airport in Texas, as well as vastly expensive and successful new airport terminals at JFK and Newark airport…”
    This is not the case. RSP has no experience of anything. The company was cobbled together a couple of years ago, out of thin air.
    She goes on to claim “They [SHP] would prefer instead 4000 new houses ..”.
    Wrong. The number of houses built, and the type of dwelling, would be down to TDC and the Local Plan. (Currently 2500). If the houses are not built at Manston, they will be built elsewhere, on greenfields, at Birchington.
    Unfortunately, Mellissa has stooped to the same tactics that all pro-Manstonites stoop: misinformation, disinformation and spin.
    There is, however, one thing on which we do agree:
    “Firm after firm have used the airport as a cash cow, crippling it with debts and poor decisions”.
    Indeed. Step forward Tony Freudmann, the struck off soliciter, one time MD at Manston when it went under, and now a Director of RSP.

      • PINS is sure to accept an application for a dirty great cargo airport in an unsuitable location, next to a town of 40,000 people and submitted by a brand-new company whose finances are kept a close secret. Especially as there is no need for one.

        • Marva. Sorry to have to say it but you do not know what you are talking about. I worked at Manston for just short of thirty years. The “dirty” cargo planes have been banned for many years from coming into the UK. I think they are banned in the whole of Europe these days.

      • PINS has no aspirations either way. They will put RSP’s application through a series of strict tests to see if it is an NSIP and worthy of a DCO.
        That test has not yet been applied, because RSP withdrew their application at the last minute.
        Accoring to the Meeting Note, published on the PINS web site, the Inspector had serious concerns about a number of issues including (but not limited to) whether the number if ATMs offered by RSP constituted an NSIP; concerns about huge gaps in the environmental assessment; concerns about the funding (or lack of it).
        Until RSP address these and other issues (almost two months and counting since the application was withdrawn to dot i’s and cross t’s) RSP’s application will go nowhere.

  4. There are a lot of people in Thanet who keep trumpeting, “We need more houses!”. This is not true; WE, the people of Thanet, do not need more houses. If all the empty housing stock in Thanet were occupied, there would be no homeless in Thanet. No, it is the people of London, those who are being forced out of their homes because of the ridiculously high rents, who need new housing. It seems to me that the real answer to the problem is to control rents, but a Tory Government would never agree as they will make a lot of money from renting or selling to the very rich.

  5. I totally support the reopening of Manston Airport. Some of those who based their aircraft at Manston Airport did not do their homework first. In one instance they had about seven aircraft for eleven routes. It only took one of their aircraft to go u/s (unserviceable) and the whole system failed! This is highly unlikely to happen with such a good and experienced company as RSP.

  6. The government should control private rents, and give every council enough money to compulsorily (is this the right word?) purchase all the empty housing stock in their area and build much more social housing. But that’s not going to happen soon, as the Tories are hellbent on privatizing everything possible and don’t seem to have a philanthropic bone in their body (so to speak).

    People in Thanet do need more houses. Thanet’s current babies and children won’t want to live with their parents forever!

  7. It’s not a question of “houses or airport”.
    It’s a question of “houses or houses AND airport”

  8. Be good if Melissa actually got her facts right about RSP they have no track record of success anywhere and are in fact a company shrouded in secrecy based in Belize. Their attempt at a DCO was so pulled apart by the planning inspectors that they had to withdrawn it . The choice is not houses or airport its houses and airport and most probably due to idiot councillors voting for a local plan that will not pass government scrutiny houses AND houses.

    • You’ve taken my name! Please choose another one. I was here first and support the airport and believe RSP’s website to state facts, not fiction, like SHP’s plans.

    • Don’t confuse Riveroak with Riveroak strategic partnership. Easily done I realise. But different companies, as I made clear in the piece.

      • Then why mention RiverOak Investment Corporation (which might well have built an airport in Texas) when it has absolutely nothing to do with Manston?

  9. Ramsgate Resident….Keep Watching…..The DCO WILL be resubmitted, and WILL go to its logical conclusion, with Aviation returning to Manston….
    Much different from the failures of the past, with real investment, and proper management ..

    • …and the usual small number of jobs for local people! The last incarnation as an airfield only provided 150 jobs with 60 of them local and the remainder taken by qualified personnel (like aircrew) who lived as far afield as Folkestone and London. Wake up and smell the coffee!

    • It’s logical conclusion is failure Liam, there is no credible case to support a 4th attempt at an airport at Manston.

    • Liam, Ramsgate resident (with a lower case r) has only just joined here. I am Ramsgate Resident and am 100% in favour of Manston reopening with RSP being the new owners.

    • RSP will onlt resubmit if they can resolve the fundamental flaws in their submission. Somewhat more than a couple of typo’s that need sorting out. Like “where’s the ~£500M coming from”?. It’s clear that RSP don’t have the money. Their plan was to get the DCO, *then* try to raise investment capital and loans.

  10. An airport would not need the doctors dentists schools water and huge infrastructure needed for 4000 homes.I can remember a successful airline based at Manston,it was Invicta Airways,they did rather well both my mother and father worked there for many years.An airport would bring permanent jobs.Keep calm keep manston an airport.

  11. Melissa is so ill informed; before writing such a piece you’d think she would have done some research. RSP have no track record of sucessful aviation business anywhere ever! They are a Belize registered company of just over a year old headed up by a struck off solicitor (Tony Freudmann) who has been associated with ailing airports for decades and never yet made a success of one. Freudmann and his side kick Sally Dixon seek out failing aviation sites; they promise the earth saying it will be bigger and better and create jobs (always a vote winner) and then NEVER EVER deliver. Here at Manston that have a great success of keeping their fairy story that Manston will be a success with the aid of Roger Gale conducting a bunch of plane spotters with nothing better to do but write letters to PINS, TDC, KCC or whoever they feel are popping the bubble of their dream of flying again from Manston. Their reason “… cos airport.”
    Get real Melissa and don’t embarrass yourself any further by persisting with this pathetic pipe dream. The plane spotters are slowly seeing that they are being taken for fools and their numbers diminishing by the day. Of course there will always be the stalwarts who have invested so much time and emotion into this dream. Sadly they refuse to see what is obvious, crossing those t’s and dotting those i’s is taking a lot longer than the 2 weeks old Roge said. How long has it been now, anyone?? More than double the two weeks promised and counting. Funny that some people still believe in RSP and tragic that the story of Manston will be shown to be the undoing of Thanet brought on by people who refused to see common sense and what was right in front of their eyes, they were being played for fools.

  12. Let’s just say those who do not want manston should just leave thanet all together we don’t want to be poor down here no more and we need good publicity for once and not this DISH RAG of an online paper disrespecting our only means of getting out of the slums.

    • What an appalling thing to say! Who do not want Manston as an airport, you mean? Still appalling. Has this uncritical view of RSP and their plans turned into some sort of cult, where reason is abandoned and its acolytes just keep repeating mantras?

      Do you think a newspaper should only publish things you personally agree with?

      • From the the get go this online dog rag has done nothing but put negativity towards manston I think it’s about time it started being a bit more positive towards it I’m a promanston person

        • The debate was both sides. Every article has both sides. I’m not sure what you are basing your comment on

        • If by “manston” you mean”an airport at Manston” then please clarify. Manston doesn’t just consist of a disused brownfield site which used to be an airport.

  13. Melissa all the way where I live they have built houses and you cannot see your doctor for at least 4 weeks you can see a doctor but it’s only if an emergency and that’s only between certain times due to amount of people wanting doctor due to lots of houses

  14. Melissa’s piece is riddled with errors. The airport is done and dusted. Time to move on folks!

  15. The voting system is wrong..
    Can’t be used to gauge reaction. As anyone can vote multiple times.
    Sadly it’s null and void.

  16. Yes its null and void a bit like online petitions where anybody can sign multiple times and from anywhere in the world too.

  17. Forget the argument about the viability or otherwise of Manston as an airport, when is somebody going to have the balls to stand up and say “NO” to more housing being built on what remains of our open spaces and greenfield sites ?

    There are lots of properties standing empty in Thanet (and elsewhere I am sure) – therefore we do not have a housing shortage !

    Thanet is a relatively small geographic area and we don’t have the space to build 1,000 new homes each and every year for the next decade.

    We are in a vicious circle of more people wanting to come into the area and so we build more houses and encourage more people to come . . .

    Thanet is full. The doctors’ surgeries are full. The dental practises are full. The hospital is full. The schools are full. When is somebody going to wake up to the facts ? Even if we build new surgeries, hospitals and schools we don’t have the doctors, nurses and teachers to staff them !

    Whatever the views on the viability of Manston Airport, why would we want to build thousands of houses on all that green and pleasant open space ?

  18. I am afraid some people think its either Aeroplanes or houses. You are going to get houses whether you like it or not. So lets not be foolish and have the noise and pollution of an airport as well.

  19. It seems that Matthew is drastically unaware of WHY Manston has always failed as an airport and clearly had no idea of the planning that has been invested in by RSP. By having Ann remove all the equipment has made it far easier to fit out with modern technology. I feel I cannot reveal too much re the plans but they are well thought out and will make a great airport thrive once again. Both writers yes have errors however to state that there are plenty of slots at London based airports is extremely naive hence the talk of extra runways and a new airport ‘necessity’ …. WE HAVE ONE!! As for night flights .. there are as yet none in the pipeline not to say there never will but you cannot buy a house by an airport and complain of noise… nor by a railway and complain if trains at night(for maintenance or ‘movement’ . Thanet is already running at maximum capacity so housing of that volume is unspeakable and would choke the economy here into virtual extinction. So I ask you thrive or choke … simple!!

    • “I feel I cannot reveal too much re the plans …”
      Quite. Neither could RSP. Which is why the PI would have rejected the Application had RSP not withdrawn it.

  20. Poll not going the way of pro airport support so let’s take it down. Yet pros happy to quote 4:1 objections against SHP application when pros were submitting 4-8 individual objections to skew the results. Shame on you. Pros always vote multiple times in every poll that’s been put up. Stop throwing your toys out of the pram because the vote didn’t go your way.

    And as someone said it’s not airport or houses it’s houses and airport or houses. No use bleating on about no houses needed. Houses are coming – just look at the LP!

    • The poll has been ended because people are abusing it with multiple votes (on both sides) meaning the result is useless. It also means the end of polls on the debates until I can find a better poll provider so it has managed to spoil it for everyone.

      • For far too long, pro airport groups and individuals such as Roger Gale have harped on about the huge number of people living in Thanet that support an airport. Polls, petitions and surveys are mentioned.
        At last, you have discovered how useless these things are as a measure of public opinion unless they are properly validated.
        Perhaps there will be less talk in future about the (insert your random number of choice here)% of Thanet people that support aviation.

  21. Clearly the bidders have failed very badly and let down themselves and the pro groups, and PINS has seen right through the inadequate proposals thankfully.

  22. I agree with John. Insufficient doctors, dentists, teachers, hospital places etc as it is! However, I am for the airport as there will be sustainable employment which is what Thanet needs now and will need more than ever if we have an influx of people.

  23. Let us all see a viable future where employment for local people would enhance the financial budget for Thanet as opposed to building houses for people coming out of the area and needing to be supported financially by the local council.
    If people move from London to Thanet but continue to work there a local air shuttle to London City Airport would be a good idea – and probably not more expensive (parking facilities at Manston)- than local train fares to London and parking.
    Of course more local services would have to be provided for the families.
    Just a thought.

    • Better public transport and improvements to out existing railway stations are what’s needed. Not an airport.

  24. I moved to Thanet from London 20 years ago, bought a new build and got a local job. I have never regretted the move but have seen so much change in my 20 years as a Thanet resident. Melissa is correct with regards to the building of new houses. I am not going to repeat figures and facts that I am not sure of, but I do know that a building company will purchase land and build so many houses before selling the land on to another company, this way they can avoid having to provide a health centre, school etc. So do not think for one minute more houses will create more amenities for Thanet. You should also take into consideration that we did not have the infrastructure leading into Thanet when Manston was last an airport. I had the unpleasant experience of flying from and to Heathrow last week and as we flew over it was obvious the only way to build a new runway was to destroy lots of homes or use green land. Traffic on the M25 was a nightmare both ways. On the other hand I have flown from Manston three times and loved the ease of travelling.
    Apologies Matthew, I didn’t read any valuable points with regards to your comments. You embrace the London way of life and encourage them all to come here, and perhaps you can share a joke or two with the woman at Viking Bay this morning who was showing her kids this morning that the graffiti she had put on the wall last week so still there. My neighbours used to laugh at me for closing the windows and setting the intruder alarm before I went out, now they follow suit.

    I work for a surveying company so new houses will be great for business but not for the residents of Thanet.

  25. I have worked in the travel industry down here in Thante, Herne Bay and Canterbury but also in LOndon. I find it hard why people cannot see why the airport was not a commercial success Eu Jet which were here did far to many routes out of this airport to places most people would not go to and having worked in London it was not promoted very well for passenger flights. It will be a commercial success with the right airlines KLM were making and increasing volume as a addon gateway airport via Schipol airport. Now if a viable and fantastic airline like Norwegian. com were to be enticed here which are like a skytrain but hugely successful it could and would be a marvellous airport. There are always frightening comments like night flights and yes there will e some but i have lived here all my life and if you move to an airport and live under the flight path one would assume their would be a risk you might get flights at some point. I think RSP have a good plan far better then Stonehill which is not what their wants I cant wait till the DCo is resubmitted and the government look at what this area needs is good quality jobs and not houses with no jobs to sustain them.

  26. Not in favour of the numbers of houses that may be built on the site at Manston. Roads and the services first before any more houses.
    Of course Manston could succeed as an airport if run by an organisation that had experience in running a successful airport and was prepared to fund it properly. So far that didn’t happen .

    • One of the people who failed to run the airport properly in the past was Tony Freudmann, the struck off solicitor.
      He is now a director of RSP, who hope to run the airport in the future.
      Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, as our French neighbours might say.
      In order for Manston to succeed, it needs customers. And there just aren’t enough in Thanet or East Kent.
      That’s one reason the airport was losing £10,000 a day.

      • what it needs are routes to holiday destinations and KLm or someone that can offer worldwide availablilty. Klm admitted they were pleased with reliminary results when they were stopped . if a airline like norwegian can be enticed here it will be a far easier and sustainable airport. Ah yes and we will have the jobs this areaneeds not more houses and bigger unemployment

        • It had routes to holiday destinations. And it failed. There are not enough people in Thanet and east Kent who want to fly from Manston.
          When the airport closed, KLM’s flights to Schipol were more than half empty.

  27. Thanet needs national and international links without going via London. I took flights from Manston airport to Spain and Edinburgh. It was fantastic merely poorly publicised and marketed. Put this right and there is huge aviation potential in Manston. Considerable housing could be gleaned, not by quick build megga estates, but via unoccupied buildings : military, commercial and otherwise, in the Dover, Margate, Ramsgate area.

  28. You can’t entice a good airline to Manston as no airline wants to come there when they have perfectly good facilities already, especially without loads of financial sweetners! The professional reports told you that years ago and nothing has changed, it’s just not viable at all. The only reason it hadn’t shut down years before was that it received heavy investment by both local and County Councils thus giving it a stay of execution, but it inevitably still went on to make big losses. Freudmann was head of one of those companies raking in your tax handouts to keep it propped up but the residents of Kent were mortified their taxes were being handed out in this cavalier way to a repeatedly failing business with no return whatsoever on it. With even less money to hand out on projects now such as this there is no way in hell that another company could make a go of it and be successful there, least of all a new one that’s set up in a country such as Belize with secret investors of some sort, and then run by the same Fraudemann who already took your money before and left the airport to rot saying he had tried everything possible to give it a go. The facts speak for themselves.

    Manston was doomed right from the moment the military left, and they left as it was a financial burden. It being in the location it is was perfect during the two wars but it is too far away from the city to make it viable. Not enough people are likely to head to Manston from North Kent, West Kent or London every day to use it to the full. Why should they when they have several airports within easy reach of London itself. And then the freight business is not needed or likely to succeed there as there is still room within the capacity at airports which are better located to serve Britain.

    With the Conservative Government predictions of further increases in population they have made local authorities draw up local plans for development and infrastructure with regulations and guidelines on homes to be built over the life of the plan. The set amount of new homes must happen whether you like it or not. You can’t hold that at bay by making sure that Manston stays aviation only in the plan. It will happen anyway, in places where it should be left as agricultural or in the wildlife corridors between each town, places you don’t want it to happen, where it shouldn’t happen! The Government has now stood in because our local councillors voted against the perfectly good local plan earlier this year. This means homes will now be built where we don’t want them, whilst Manston stays untouchable but where staged housing was planned along with the infrastructure to go with it and all the school places, medical needs, etc. Those councillors are also Tories, rebel tories, ex-tories, ukip-tories who only got in with one agenda – to keep Manston as aviation only no matter what damage this does to the rest of the Island and it’s residents. There is a bigger picture to Thanet but like Gale who is president of the unofficial All Party Parliamentary Group for Aviation, and Mackinlay with his secret airline company ‘Mama’ that he told nobody about, not even his SMA crowd, they are fixated on something impossible, a pipe dream! That is ridiculous, it is actions like those that are blighting this area. There has been a lot of nonsense spewed forth from The MP’s for Thanet along with their groups of supporters. A CPO was deemed not to be possible on the facts available and a DCO application has been withdrawn. We know it would not be passed as it is not environmentally or economically viable and definitely not a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP).

    • An elegant, well constructed argument.
      Unfortunately, it doesn’t say “Airport Airport Airport! “, so will be ignored by many of the visitors to this thread.

  29. I went to work in Rochester, Kent in 1974 and lived there for 42 years. During that time I watched the ten miles of countryside between the Medway Towns and Gravesend/The M2 Motorway and Sittingbourne disappear and become another suburb of London, and that is what will happen to Thanet, especially the villages. If you like living, and wish to stay living in a village environment you must stop them building houses on every spot of land that the landowners are now grabbing the chance to sell to developers. If you would rather live in the ‘London’ style environment- why not move up there…or somewhere similar. Another factor of course is that the type of people that will move from London to sites like Westwood and Manston …..’IF’ it becomes housing, will be the types that the authorities can’t and don’t want to house in their nicer areas.
    Two main factors that will be realised with the reopening of Manston as an airport firstly will be the much needed employment opportunities in the area and secondly, and probably more importantly, the benefit of a strategically placed airstrip that can be used if the international security situation gets more tenuous than it is at the present time.

    • I strongly agree with Charlie, about urban sprawl. So let me warn those who are against Manston reopening. Once lost, you can never go back! If the airport gets the go ahead and lets say it fails, you can then look at housing and industry. But go the other route, you condemn the area for ever. Like Charlie, I worked in Medway for years and saw the creeping development of farm land and any spare space that could be grabbed for profit. Building more housing in Kent and remember the government wants a vast housing development in the so called “THAMES GATEWAY”, added to the EBBSFLEET and BLUEWATER commercial and domestic expansion and all the traffic congestion and pollution that it brings, then we start to see what mess Kent will end up being. It can no longer be called the “Garden of England” now, just the old back yard. Then on top of this, we have to add in the disposal of domestic waste and sewage. Kent has no room for further landfill sites as it is and supplying water is another problem we currently have without addition of vast number of new housing. Then we have the shortage of doctors and nurses, teachers and emergency services. You can build the facilities, but crewing them is another thing. You only have to look at what over population brings in the form of crime. You often hear elderly people saying, “It wasn’t like that in our day” Of course not, they were not living on top of each other like we are now. Houses are too close together and this brings depression, bad temper and crime. Here I often hear stories that “the developer was given consent to build a given number of houses, but they managed to squeeze a few extra in” Manston helped save not only this county but our country, it must be worth giving it one more try. We have seen the continued sell off of airfields and military camps. Kent lost its only Royal Dock Yard in Chatham. Look how many lost their jobs then. The more I look at this matter the more I am in favour of giving it another go, but this time, with a company that has the resources to put words into action.

      • Stuart Downs: “Houses are too close together and this brings depression, bad temper and crime.”

        It’s not the closeness of the houses which brings crime. For centuries towns and cities have been densely populated , with terraced housing and blocks of flats. It’s poverty and frustration.

        I’m not sure what “let me warn those who are against Manston reopening” means. We all know what the Government’s plans are. It doesn’t matter, except to us as individuals, what our opinion on having a new airport at Manston is. It’s PINS which will decide, not us. Facts and evidence is what PINS will be looking at if RSP ever reapply for a DCO.

  30. I think Managing Airport should remain as an Airport in the right hands it could make a brilliant Airport. It would be good if someone could make a trip to other Airlines to run a service to London Gatwick and also to Heathrow save a lot of holiday makers from Thanet driving to these airports.

  31. I love the Anti’s rants, so ill informed SHP PR tosh, they even spent time voting No several times during England’s fantastic game against Panama, Get over it, the airport at Manston is coming back, whether it is RiverOak or “A” another investor. TDC need to get their act together, to get the Port of Ramsgate back up and running, oh! hold on, stinky loud diesel boats quick roll out the trolls! another bandwagon to jump on.

    • Did England play against Panama ? You shouldn’t assume that everyone is interested in football.

      I voted for Matthew’s argument, but only once. Polls and petitions are easily manipulated, as we’ve just seen.

      So many of the pro-airport people who comment are terribly rude to those who disagree with them. Why don’t they simply lay out their arguments? Not that it matters what any of us think as it@s down to PINS now.

      Perhaps Ramsgate residents who want a cargo airport could spend a weekend near Heathrow and see if they like it.

    • I imagine the “ill informed SHP PR tosh” you’re refering to includes:
      The Davies Commission (wrong!)
      The Falcon Report (wrong!)
      The Avia Report (wrong!)
      The York Aviation Report (wrong!)
      Please enlighten us, and give some examples of the “tosh”

      • More tosh, I read the Falcon report before the closure 2011 + 2013 both of which state Manston Airport has a future, then the report after its closure stating it does not. I also read the Northpoint Aviation report on the Avia report that totally discredit its the airport is coming back bigger and better with the investment its has never had, as well as good well paid jobs and training.

        • I’d like to know how Mike J and others know with such certainty what’s going to happen. Why don’t the rest of us? It’s so darn unfair!

        • They can’t even write English. This is from Northpoint’s introduction: “Rather RSP’s plans are centred on a developing a strategically important are cargo
          operation …”
          Falcon did acknowledge that aviation could return to Manston: if millions wete spent on rail and road links.
          Avia said that with a bit of effort, Manston could drum up the level of business it had before; ie losing £10,000 a day.
          You forgot to mention that the Northpoint was commissioned by RSP, and was therefore hardly independent.
          You also forgot to mention Avia’a rebuttal of Northpoint’s rebuttal.
          You also forgot to remind us of the occasion, when ay a presentation to KCC, Louisr Congdon of York Aviation tore to shreds the case put forward by Sally Dixon of Azimuth Aviation on behalf of RSP.
          The important thing is, does the PI think much of RSP’s case?
          Currently, no. After 2.5 years, almost £5M and the best experts money could buy, RSP withdrew its application at the last minute. Why? Possibly because the Planning Inspectorate had serious issues with RSP’s evidence pertaining to the status as an NSIP, the Environmental Assessment, and the backers and funding (or lack of it)
          We’ll have to see if RSP are going to spend another few million over several years to cobble together another Application.

  32. Manston should ce a mix of housing and aviation we can’t afford sense housing and people building houses that we can’t afford, somebody said our NHS, doctors, dentists can’t cope at the moment, and 4000 more homes is a ridiculous idea. So a mix with more aviation than housing. That main diversion is going to be needed one day and there will be regrets that Manston is out of use>

  33. Manston Airport is a strategic national infrastructure project.
    By building a freight hub and by freeing up freight landing slots at Heathrow there would not be any need for a third runway there, saving billions of pounds.
    It would create real jobs at Manston, air-side, Freight forwarding and transport, not the short term jobs building houses.
    Stone Hill Park are just a load of property speculators only interested making a quick buck

    • Your views are not endorsed by the Planning Inspectorate. They would certainly rejected RSP’s application had RSP not withdrawn it.
      Have you read the Note of the Meeting between RSP and the PI? It’s gripping stuff.

  34. RSP, unlike SHP, are a group of philanthropists, 21st-century saints coming to save us from the agony of being without an airport.

    • I just LOVE Marva Rees’s comment. But unlike him, I would cut out his sarcastic nuance. Okay, not a group of philanthropic saints, but certainly a group who intend to employ and educate locals and make it possible for those iving in thanet to travel by plane without having to risk missing connections at gatwich or Heathrow because of the congestion on the M3 and other routes heading for our two major airports.

  35. Intend to make life in Ramsgate intolerable, rather. Intend to make as much money as possible with as little outlay as possible. Intend, if they ever get an airport going, to have as few human workers as possible, too.

  36. Our group Why Not Manston? are extremely suspicious about the new written debate on Manston published in the Isle of Thanet News on 23rd June. Within less than one day of these articles being published, your newspaper managed to come up with the figure of 36% support for the airport, and 63% against! That information was hidden in the body of the published debate, i.e. after the two articles, and before all the comments sent in by readers. That percentage is totally contrary to every other poll on the subject held in Thanet.
    Where did the paper suddenly find 530 people opposed to the airport, within less than 24 hours of the poll being published? One of the most detailed anti-airport comments comes from someone apparently called “Max Sense”. What a highly unusual name. Has he written anywhere else?
    This new “poll” is also totally contrary to the genuine democratic vote in the last local elections, where the one party which made clear that its primary policy was to bring back Manston, was given an overwhelming majority to carry out that policy. No-one guessed that they, or rather their leader, would completely change his mind on the matter. So who is the polling organisation which produced this poll in the newspaper? Is it independent? Is the poll overseen by an impartial auditor, as happens with reputable public opinion polls who publish their findings?
    The opponents of Manston keep on making nasty remarks about RSP being a new company only a year old. In fact, under the rules of a DCO, the reason the new company exists is that a DCO cannot be applied for, by a company based outside Great Britain. Since Riveroak is in the USA, they have set up a separate British company, called RSP, which can legitimately apply for the DCO. But of course RSP it is still backed by money from outside, which is perfectly legitimate as long as that is declared in public.
    We are also worried about procedures for discussion of the request for the Development Consent Order. We originally understood that they would be held like a public enquiry, where everything could be discussed and explained, with evidence published, and with prominent supporters on both sides giving oral evidence. That is exactly what happened when the House of Commons Transport Committee asked for evidence about Manston some five years ago, and every side had its say in a Committee Room of the House of Commons. We have since got the impression that the panel of judges appointed by the DOE will not meet in public! It would be good to have a reassurance that their proceedings will be held in public, as they should.

    Nicholas Reed
    Press Officer
    Why Not Manston?
    28th June 2018

    • The comments aren’t written by the paper, they are from readers. Likewise the figure you quote is from the poll which was corrupted by multi voting and so ended. The debate was to give views of both sides of the issue. There is a new subject and a poll every week. However, polls will now have to be discontinued because it was abused meaning the result was null. This is the only subject that has ended in such abuse of the poll, what a shame that the issue can’t be debated in a sensible, grown up manner. The figures are not ‘the newspaper figures’ they are a count of those who voted, or would have been if people were able to control themselves and vote in the proper way

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