The timetable has been published for the Planning Inspectorate examination of the Development Consent Order application by firm RiverOak Strategic Partners to gain compulsory buy-out powers over the Manston airport site.
The firm says it wants to revive aviation at the site with a cargo hub and associated business. The DCO seeks development consent and compulsory buy-out powers over the land.
The Manston airport site is owned by Stone Hill Park which has lodged an application to develop housing, leisure and business on the land.
This month a preliminary hearing and three open floor sessions were held with representations from groups including Save Manston Airport association and No Night Flights as well as residents, businesses and councillors.
Now the Planning Inspectorate has published its deadlines for information including written representations and the publication of hearing dates, as well as a site visit, for March.
A list of authorities and organisations must submit statements of common ground – those areas of the DCO submission agreed or disagreed with – by February 8. Windfarm company Vattenfall has now been added to this list.
Impact reports from district and the county council must be given to the Planning Inspectorate by February 15. A draft Compulsory Acquisition Status report must also be submitted.
Hearings will be scheduled for March 18-22 with a site visit on March 19.
Issues to be examined
Following hearings in January, held at Margate Winter Gardens, additions have been made to the issues covered.
These include several references to the sources and availability of funding for the scheme and for compensation, including blight.
Questions to be answered include: “details of responsible bodies, including details of relevant company assets, structures, ownership, directors, proofs of willingness to invest and track record of developing and operating nationally significant infrastructure projects, notably airports.”
Concerns have been raised over the source of funding for the project and the registering in Belize of M.I.O Investments Limited, which is established as the project funding vehicle.
RSP say comprehensive details of funding partners and investment arrangements will be provided to PINS as part of the DCO application. The company says these will provide “solid evidence of our ability to meet all of the financial obligations associated with the acquisition, reopening and operation of the airport.”
The possible impact of a cargo hub on Ramsgate’s Heritage Action Zone and isle education and more details about noise and mitigation will also come under scrutiny during the process.
Areas to be examined will also include air quality, what need there is for an airport, biodiversity, operational issues including air traffic numbers and night flights, environment including flood risk and public health, tourism, training, employment, community and the possibility of war graves.
The examination process will run between now and the completion date on July 9.