A timetable for Manston airport Development Consent Order hearings has been published

Manston airport site

The next steps in a bid by firm RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP) to gain compulsory buy-out powers over the Manston airport site have been published by the government Planning Inspectorate (PINs).

RSP submitted a Development Consent Order application on July 16. It followed the withdrawal of a previous application after PINs requested further information related to funding, to the categorisation of the project as being of national significance, and to aspects of the supporting environmental statements.

The DCO seeks development consent and compulsory buy-out powers over the land. It is the means of obtaining permission for developments categorised as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP). This includes energy, transport, water and waste projects.

The Manston airport site is owned by Stone Hill Park which has lodged an application to develop housing, leisure and business on the land.

The resubmitted DCO application was accepted for the pre-examination stage by the Planning Inspectorate in August. More than 2,000 representations were then made by residents, businesses and organisations. Among these were the Ministry of Defence, Historic England, Highways England, Dover and Thanet district councils, Kent County Council and a document from law firm Pinsent Masons on behalf of Stone Hill Park.


PINs has now published the timetable for hearings and deadlines for information to be submitted during the examination of the DCO application.

A preliminary hearing will be held at Margate Winter Gardens on January 9 followed by an issue specific meeting on January 10 and open floor hearings on January 10-11.

A full examination timetable will be issued after the first deadline of January 18.

The timetable consists of a series of deadlines for the submission of material requested by the examination panel.

These include an accurate outline of wildlife conservation areas affected by the airport proposal, evidence of the section 106 agreement from 2000, a year 2 traffic assessment, air pollution and noise impact information, clarification on the area covered by the Northern Grass and progress on acquiring land without the DCO.

Reports from local authorities, including Thanet, are required on local impact. A list of authorities and organisations are also asked for statements of common ground – those areas of the DCO submission agreed or disagreed with – to be submitted by February 8.

A site inspection is pencilled in for March 19 and further hearings, if necessary, are earmarked for June. The examination process will be completed by July 9.

It is thought the examination report and recommendation will be submitted to the Secretary of State by November with a decision likely to be announced in January 2020.

Airport or housing?

RSP plans for Manston airport

RSP’s plan for Manston includes an international cargo hub, as well as offering passenger flights.

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.

However, the site is owned by Stone Hill Park (SHP) which has submitted an enhanced application to Thanet council for homes, business and leisure to be developed at the airport site.

The documents, published on the Thanet council website, outline plans for up to 4,000 homes,  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.

Enhanced plans from SHP

Plans include a heritage airport with an operational runway; public parks an East Kent Sports Village with facilities including Kent’s first 50m Olympic sized swimming pool and a WaveGarden surf lake; schools, a food store, cafes/restaurants, a 120-bed hotel and a health centre.

SHP director Trevor Cartner, says the firm will contest the DCO application ‘rigorously.’

The decision by the Secretary of State might not be the final hurdle for the Manston site’s future. Once a decision has been issued there is a six week period in which it can be challenged in the High Court. This process of legal challenge is known as Judicial Review.

First examination hearings

Margate Winter Gardens

January 9 – Prelim hearing 10am

January 10 – Issue specific meeting 10am open floor hearing 7pm

January 11 open floor hearing 10am

Examination documents will be held at libraries across Thanet, Sandwich, Deal, Herne Bay

Keep up to date with the process online at  infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/south-east/manston-airport/




  1. I wonder what TDC will do with SHP’s planning application. They’ve already delayed making a decision way beyond any reasonable deadline. SHP generously allowed them to extend the deadline for making a decision to the end of December. It hasn’t been timetabled for this month’s planning committee so it looks as if yet another deadline has gone out of the window, There’s no way TDC can delay making a decision until January 2020.

  2. TDC should not b e involved in interfering with planning and as yje land is owned by SHP and withholding planning permission in case R/o get a DCO is going beyond their remit. What happens if R/O do not get a DCO .
    Could SHP ask for compensation for wasted time to develop their own land?

  3. Kathy did you check the Environment Agency position ? They have scheduled environmental tests at Manston on the basis neither airport nor housing use for Manston is consented ?

    Environmental Agency Tests and persistent health hazardous environmental pollutants (Stockholm Convention) over a water supply aquifer is not a matter to be ignored ?

  4. I note that Save Manston Airport’s advertisement, which adorns this news site, makes some dubious claims.
    “.. knock on benefits for health”. How on Earth can a 24×7 cargo hub and the pollution associated with it be a health benefit?
    “…offering training, education and apprenticeships”. Please will someone point to one course or apprenticeship sponsored in any way by RSP currently being offered to the people of Thanet.
    “10,000 jobs”. Yeah, right. Just how many of these jobs are to do with aviation, and will be based in Thanet and offered to Thanet people?

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