RiverOak Strategic Partners announce acquisition of Jentex site in Cliffsend

The Jentex site

RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP), the company aiming to bring aviation back to the Manston airport site, has announced the completion of the acquisition of the Jentex site today (September 18).

The site is designated in RSP proposals as the location of the airport fuel facility.

The firm says the Jenkins family, which has operated the site since the 1970s as a fuel oil business, will continue to do so until the conclusion of a Development Consent Order submitted to central government. If the DCO, submitted for approval to compulsory purchase the Manston airport site, is successful Jentex will become the operators of the new fuel facility.

RSP wants to gain the DCO  so it can create an international cargo hub with the possibility of passenger flights.

Plans submitted to Thanet council by Manston airport site owners Stone Hill Park are for some 3,700 homes, employment space, 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 also planned as well as Kent’s first 50m Olympic sized swimming pool and a WaveGarden surf lake.

A decision is yet to be made on both the DCO and the SHP planning application.

A current planning application for a 61 unit extra care scheme, 14 retirement bungalows, 34 houses and 8 maisonettes at the Cliffsend site was submitted to Thanet council last month and is awaiting decision.

 Image via planning documents

A design statement for the care development from site owner Anthony Jenkins says the aim is: “to provide a ‘legacy’ for the residents of Cliffsend.”

However, an RSP statement today says: “As a condition of the sale of the land to RSP, the Jenkins family required us to help them ensure the planning permission for an extra-care sheltered housing scheme on the land remained current, which RSP is happy to do and has worked with them to submit a new planning application to replace the previous consent. This condition will fall away when the DCO is granted.”

George Yerrall, director of RSP, said: “The Jenkins family is a pleasure to deal with and I am delighted we are building a long term relationship with them. We have always been clear that we want local businesses to share in the success of reopening Manston and I hope this is the first of many such relationships we will forge with businesses across Thanet and East Kent.”

Mr Jenkins added: “We have always been huge supporters of Manston and look forward to seeing it reopen. I take real pride in the knowledge that our family will be able to apply our 55 years of experience, in running Jentex, to the challenges of building and operating the new airport fuel facility – and I look forward to the next steps in the DCO.”

There is a current outline consent for 56 Extra Care units, and 56 other dwellings on the site. The new application increases the housing and moves the extra care building to a flatter part of the site.

A decision on the new application is yet to be made.


    • Perhaps if Dr. Webber lived in Ramsgate he wouldn’t be so keen on promoting RSP’s alleged plans for a 24/7 cargo hub airport.

  1. That’s not the motion that came to mind. Effectively stealing a much needed extra-care home and homes. I assume if RSP loses they’ll be in the housing market.

    • In the same way that fuel gets to any ‘fuel farm’ and to the existing Jentex operation.. by road tanker. I believe a few very large airports have direct pipeline feeds.

  2. Congratulations to the team at Riveroak Strategic Partners, they now have access to continous supplies of aviation fuel for when the airport reopens next year!

  3. Well done the first of many I hope. I hope Manston Airport will soon be what it is supposed to be an Airport. Not a London overspill estates for bad guy families. Well done to the Jenkins family.

    • For God hath decreed that Manston should be an airport in perpetuity. Or perhaps not.

      And of course social housing is 100% “bad guy families” such as mine.

  4. The RSP statement should presumably say IF the DCO is granted, not when. It is also a big if, and we are a long way from RSP having made an evidence based case that Manston is of national significance to the UK and that PINS agrees with the evidence proposed.

  5. Hmmm. We are talking about 5 tanker loads of fuel to fill one 747. With RSP planning between 10,000 and 83,000 movements per year that could equate to something between 30 and 240 tankers per day. And nobody is remotely concerned about this volume of highly flammable fuel coming down the M2 every day?

    • ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ If Elgim Marbles got the facts right it might help. Jeannette fuel comes into Ramsgate Harbour by coaster creating employment. I doubt if this will change.

      • And when these job-creating tankers bring the fuel into Ramsgate harbour, what happens to it next? Tankers? Bucket chain??

    • I am sure that when they build the new parkway station they can rebuild the old fuel pipeline that used to supply petrol to the Jentex site during WW2. I was also told that the fuel tanks at the Jentex site were just to supply petrol to the FIDO fog dispersal system. There were two fuel locations, one at the crossroads diagonally opposite the history museum and the other behind the houses over the road from the terminal buildings.

    • Oh please don’t spoil the day by pointing out the blooming obvious!
      You might mention that in addition to the scores of aviation fuel tankers roaring up and down the A299, there will be hundreds of artics lugging cut daffs and mangetout from Manston to distribution depots in the midlands.
      It all makes perfect sense. Bring fuel by road from, err, somewhere near Heathrow, say, so that freight can be off-loaded from aircraft onto trucks, to take by road to , erm, East Midlands.
      It all makes perfect sense.

  6. Nobody with an ounce of sense will believe that nonsense about 83,000 flights a year. ‘Elgin Marbles’: that’s not what RiverOak plan to do! That may be the airport’s maximum capacity with the planned infrastructure, but the key to RiverOak’s plans is the offer of speed, efficiency and the provision of enough slots to ensure that everyone who wants to fly in or out between 7 AM and 11 PM can be accommodated without delays, unlike what happens at other big airports in the UK.

    No Night Flights cannot seem to make up their mind.

    On the one hand NNF seem to have spent a huge amount of time saying that the airport cannot be viable, that it will result in failure, that the reasons the airport wasn’t tremendously successful in the past are the same that will prevent it from thriving in the future. Do they really believe that RiverOak have put together a sham application and that what RiverOak really want to build are houses, ‘Ramsgate resident’? And now the same NNF group complains that Manston is going to be incredibly congested, full of oid, noisy, smell cargo freighters. Get real. RiverOak’s not going for either of those scenarios.

    You don’t run a highly efficient cargo airport with clapped out aircraft.

    Getting the DCO this far has cost in excess of £9 million so far (see the Funding Statement at https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/wp-content/ipc/uploads/projects/TR020002/TR020002-002387-3.2%20-%20Funding%20Statement.pdf, paragraph 13). That was before NNF negotiated and paid for their acquisition of Jentex. That money’s come into the country so is a welcome to want to see Manston bring money into our economy. Those bright sparks who disparage RiverOak by saying that Companies House records “prove” RiverOak cannot possibly come up with the necessary funding to regenerate the airport really need to think again. The Examining Authority knows how Single Purpose Vehicles work. SPV companies work with investors to deliver major projects. Experts know that DCO Funding Statements commonly are “light on detail.”

    It is the way most major airports and even the promoters of large power generating stations do things. One leading authority says, “it is in the nature of large infrastructure projects that securing the necessaru funding for their development in advance of the grant of development consent is often a wholly unrealistic expectation.” But the overwhelming majority of such DCO Applications are granted planning consent and prove successful.

    No-one puts together a highly professional 11,000 page Application that seeks an Order that on the day it is signed will provide development consent by way of a Statutory Instrument that becomes the law of the land, and then pay hundreds of millions of pounds in infrastructure development just in the hopes of breaking that law or crushing it so as to develop a housing estate. Even if they were to sell their interests in Manston to another company years from now, the obligations to fulfil the terms of the DCO plans would continue to bind the hands of their successors in title, too. Even small changes would require time and expense. Departures from the plans for which development consent is acquired under the Planning Act 2008 just aren’t changed at will and past experience shows that major departures from whatever a DCO was granted will be refused. The courts support such refusals.

    If anyone wants to build houses in Thanet or elsewhere in Kent, there will be plenty of opportunities to do that very cheaply indeed, and at much less risk, but not at Manston Airport. That’s not RiverOak’s plan! There’s no provision for housing to be built on Manston, not even during the reconstruction of Manston.

    You’re more likely to find that breaking one’s own Planning Application is much more what Stone Hill Park have in mind when promising to carve a “heritage airport” out of a slice of one end of the existing runway. Do you really think it will wash to claim that they, too, are in the business of offering aviation-related use of the airport on the strength of a dotty little strip that sits at the edge of upmarket housing just a road or two away from social housing?

    And if you feel that there’s more information that the EXAMINING Authority will want to see about RiverOak’s Funding Statement, don’t worry. RiverOak will supply what the ExA require and the ExA will view it with highly experienced expert eyes. They may well see further submissions of documentary evidence or hear directly from investors. They may advise RiverOak that they would be happy to see iron-clad guarantees underwritten by third parties to ensure that the funds will be provided when needed. None of that’s unusual. Many DCO Applicants do that — and very successfully, too.

    Meanwhile, how lucky would you have to be to sign up for the acquisition of any of Stone Hill Park’s planned sub-divisions, or literally buy into Stone Hill Park’s hopes of gaining local authority planning consent for plans that are diametrically opposite to those of the current administration at Thanet District Council and contrary to the saved elements of the 2006 Local Plan for Manston to be reserved for aviation-related uses only. Inspector Nunn confirmed last year that aviation-related uses remain the only valid provision for which planning may be given for developments on the Manston Airport site at the present time? How sound was that judgment? Well, evidently Stone Hill Park weren’t prepared or able to judicially review it when they lost against the team who were promoting the plans that RiverOak Strategic Partners now have rights to pursue!

    Just as with the runway lights, RiverOak have ensured that no rival project will gain headway. They now have the land where the runway lights are located, and they own the only land which the Environment Agency will authorize anyone to use for the storage of the quantity of fuel needed to support the traffic that a viable airport requires. RIVEROAK ARE HERE. And they’re going to STAY here, thereby helping Thanet and East Kent prosper.

    Mr. Iain Livingstone: wake up and smell the coffee. Start supporting the airport project and not Stone Hill Park’s hopeless scheme for turning Manston Airport into a so-called housing-based ‘mixed use development’ which cannot be approved.

    • Dr Pritchard says: “Nobody with an ounce of sense will believe that nonsense about 83000 flights”. Why not? That’s what RSP is providing for. If you only plan to handle 10,000 ATMs, why go to the trouble and expense of over provision to the tune of 400%? In the DCO application, will RSP build in a cap of 10,000 ATMs? Or, in the unlikely event of aviation actually working at Manston, were the demand to go up to 10,000, 15,000, 25,000, 60,000 ATMs, where would RSP stop? They are, after all, in business to make a profit. Dr Pritchard talks of nonsense. It probably is. Not one expert opinion says that aviation at Manston will work. Davies, Falcon, Avia (twice) York (whose expert rubbished RSP’s projections) and Altitude Aviation. They all say the same thing: there’s plenty of dedicated airfreight capacity and a diminishing demand. Tellingly, they also say that even were there a significant unmet demand (which there isn’t), Manston is in the wrong place to meet that demand. Nonsense: an apt word.

      Dr Pritchard goes on to lambast NNF. He criticises NNF’s use of words such as “oid [sic], noisy, smell [sic] cargo freighters”. Emotive words. Here is what RSP says on the matter: “Again in year 20, significant adverse effects have been identified as being likely a result of an increase in noise in the following communities which are in the vicinity of the airport and flight paths:
      Ramsgate; Manston; Wade; West Stourmouth; and Pegwell Bay. In these communities aircraft noise would increase to the point where there would be a perceived change in quality of life for occupants of buildings in these communities or or a perceived change in the acoustic character of shared open spaces within these communities.” RSP’s words.

      The PI is not quite as sanguine as is Dr Pritchard in its appreciation of RSP’s funding. This is what the Inspector said: “As reflected in Box 30 of the Checklist, the Inspectorate considers that the Funding Statement poses substantial risk to the examination of the application” and “The issues raised in advice provided by the Inspectorate at the Pre-application stage, in consideration of draft iterations of the Funding Statement provided by the Applicant for review, has only partially been satisfied . On this basis the Inspectorate considers that the following information is very likely to be requested by the appointed ExA [ … and goes on to list 10 serious and outstanding issues …]”. Not quite so rosy, eh?

      Mentioned in passing is the “highly professional” 11,000 page application. The one it took the world’s best experts more than two years and £M’s to prepare. The one withdrawn at the 11th hour by RSP before the PI could reject it because of major flaws.

      After a totally irrelevant diversion round Stone Hill Park, Dr Pritchard assures us (IN UPPER CASE) that “RIVEROAK ARE HERE”. No, they’re not. They’re in Belize, or an accommodation address in London’s Victoria.

      Dr R John Pritchard: wake up and smell the avgas. Start supporting SHP’s project, and not RSP’s hopeless scheme for returning Manston into a so-called “Cargo Freight Hub (with occasional passenger flights (maybe))”

  7. Marvellous! “I love the smell of aviation fuel in the morning!” Such a boon for Cliffsend residents to know that the smell of fuel will greet them over breakfast. (Or is the current situation rather similar?)
    Also, on a related topic, I notice that we are STILL being told that “bad guy families ” will be sent to “London overspill estates” on the Manston site. Has there been any evidence or proof of this ever produced or is this yet another example of “dog whistle” politics by briefly making a completely invented story to prejudice the public. I have no doubt that the construction companies involved will be rubbing their hands with glee at the thought of all the expensive “Executive- style homes” they can build and then sell at a mark-up. There are plenty of examples here in East Kent of housing developments that are supposed to have a few houses that are for rent, or are built at an “affordable” price , only for the building companies to cry poverty and reduce the affordable homes to a minimum. And the local Councils just bend over and let them. (More expensive houses mean more Tory/UKIP voters so they wouldn’t object anyway).
    In fact, local Thanet people need genuinely affordable, social-housing for rent. The point is to campaign to make sure that the Manston housing and commercial development works to local benefit. The only people coming from London to live in Manston will be well-heeled commuters using Thanet Parkway station.
    Still, I’m sure we would all prefer the roar of aircraft engines and the reek of aviation fuel to the fear of non-existent “problem families ” being magically transferred en masse to Thanet.

  8. So have I got this right? RiverOak the American Hedge Fund Company hoping to gain control of the disused Manston airfield from its owners, has agreed to buy a few redundant aviation fuel tanks, should their application for a Development Control Order succeed. If this aspiration doesn’t succeed, then they will apply for planning permission to build a Care Home on the site for the present owners, the Jenkins family instead, is that right?

    Is this a spoof PR Stunt, or a wind up? There is probably a better chance of turning the present aviation fuel oil storage depot into a Care Home, than RiverOak obtaining a DCO, so the present owners should think about applying for that now, but hold on a minute! Where will the staff come from for a Care Home? I know of a Care Home that applied for planning permission to build 12 or so extra bedrooms, which was successfully challenged by KCC because of the severe lack of trained Care staff in Kent! Instead they reapplied for planning permission to build the extra bedrooms, not as an extension for a Care Home, but as a Residential Home, see what they did there? This was successful, because a Residential Home does not need the same trained, and qualified staff, as a Care Home. The Jenkins family should get on with it, but first they will have to have their site surveyed for “Remediation” as it it may contain contaminated soil, and it will cost the earth (excuse the pun) before it can be built on for a Residential Home!

  9. Dr Pritchard,

    At the risk of sounding rude, I gave up reading your lengthy analysis half way through. Two questions spring to mind

    1. If Manston could be such a money spinner for RSP then how come the former airport could not find a buyer for the years that it was on the market (£9m is peanuts when it comes to airports to be fair!)

    2. My understanding is that one of the current Directors of RSP, let’s call him Mr F, approached Ann Gloag about purchasing the previous airport site but was unwilling to agree to a proviso that no houses be built on the land- on what basis do you come to the conclusion that RSP’s real plan is not to acquire the land and build houses?

    Ps I’m the other Andrew

      • Apologies Andrew- we share the same great name and the same sensible approach when it comes to the former airport site at Manston! People could easily become confused!

        On the basis of providing some additional information to readers I did also read some bravado from Dr Pritchard in another article about how no other DCO application had been rejected at the judiciary review stage etc, etc, etc….perhaps Dr Pritchard could be honest with readers that almost 100% of DCO applications are by government themselves rather than being asked to approve an application by individuals who have no credible evidence of a business plan with a chance of success nor experience of running a cargo hub. Further Dr Pritchard references money from RSP coming into the country and boosting the economy….is it in the interests of this country to remove land legally owned by British citizens on the basis of dubious business plan and pass it to still to be confirmed individuals in Belize?!

  10. I’m curious to know where the money is. RSP certainly don’t have it. According to their Funding Statement (PI’s website) RSP tell us:
    Blight: £500,000. In RSP’ bank
    Noise mitigation
    and land acquisition : £13.100,000. Joint Venture agreement funds
    Project Capital Cost: £300,000,000. Some blokes they met in a Belize bar.

    There you have it. They’ve got the small change. The rest, including an eye watering £300,000,000, they hope to beg, borrow or, err, otherwise acquire.

  11. Firstly. Why move to a airport site if you didn’t like planes. The runway has been there longer than most if not all off the people local to it.
    I’ve noticed 3700 homes. PMSL. So that’s up to 7400 more cars on the local roads. Great no one going know where. Get a grip you complaining about the lorries in the roads. If you don’t like them then don’t buy anything or drive. How do you think stuff gets to places.really some people live in a dream world thay will never become reality

    • Sorry to read of your incontinence problem. Brought on, no doubt, by the stress of not living under a cargo hub flight path.
      In your more lucid moments (perhaps between involuntary bladder evacuations) you’ve thought of some positive reasons for having a giant cargo hub up the road? If so, would you care to share them?

    • What does PMSL mean?

      Actually, I don’t drive. Never have. Shame so many others do, but then, public transport’s deteriorated a lot recently. But that’s neither here nor there at the moment.

      I didn’t move to an airport site, I moved to a seaside town. When I moved to Ramsgate I didn’t think that a tiny run-down airport in a poor position for commercial success could ever be looked on with desire by an inexperienced new company, let alone that this company would apply to the Government for permission to buy the site (now an ex-small failing airport) on the grounds that they intended to develop it into a huge throbbing thing like Heathrow or the East Midlands airport. Nor did it occur to me that both local MPs would be falling over themselves to support-not their constituents, but the new young company who say they want to inflict a cargo hub upon the residents of Thanet.

      I like my dream world, it’s quiet and peaceful most of the time, especially on the beach.

    • That’ll be “an airport” not “a airport”; “of” not “off”;”no where” instead of “know where”; ” places .Really” rather than “places.really”.
      Some punctuation missing, and a conflict in the tenses used.
      I dread to think what the impact of aircraft noise will have on our children’s education.

  12. Sarah- you seem to think that anyone who is opposed to a cargo hub must have moved here?! If so you are very far from the truth.

    if someone was born here does that count as ‘choosing to move’ beside a former airport that has been closed for 4+ years?

    A very good friend of mine moved from London, bought a former guest house in Ramsgate off a developer which is now a beautiful home. His family now spend money in the bars, restaurants, nurseries, scaffolders, decorators etc in the area but I know he’ll be off if a cargo hub happens and will take his money with him! Should he in perpetuity be concerned about someone saying ‘that used to be a guest house’ and attempting to take his asset off him and turn it back into a guest house? Those days are gone, much like Manston.

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