March hearings and site visit dates for Manston airport buy-out bid

Manston airport site Photo Frank Leppard

The March timetable for hearings into a Development Consent Order application for the Manston airport site has been published for the Planning Inspectorate.

The application has been made by firm RiverOak Strategic Partners to gain compulsory buy-out powers over the land.

The firm says it wants to revive aviation at the site with a cargo hub and associated business.

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

Hearings began in January  and included three open floor sessions at Margate Winter Gardens with representations from groups including Save Manston Airport association and No Night Flights as well as residents, businesses and councillors.

The forthcoming hearings will be held on 18, 20, 21 and 22 March. They begin with an open floor session at The Oddfellows in Ramsgate High Street on March 18, doors open 2.30pm, session starts 3pm. A further session will be held at 7pm.

On March 20 there will be a hearing to examine to compulsory acquisition evidence. This will be held at 10am -seating available from 9.30am- at the Laurence Suite, Building 500, Discovery Park.

Need and operations will be under scrutiny at the next hearing on March 21 from 10am, again at the Laurence Suite, Building 500, Discovery Park,. This will be followed on March 22, 10am, by a hearing examining noise impacts.

Agendas for the Issue Specific Hearings will be published on the Planning Inspectorate website approximately one week prior to the hearing.

An accompanied site visit takes place on March 19, meeting at 9am at the car park to Building 500, Discovery Park. Places are limited.

The site visit stops at almost 30 places including St Lawrence, Nethercourt, Manston Green, Jentex and the Manston museums. Issue looked at include noise and  development at Jentex for a fuel farm.

Questions to be examined include the sources and availability of funding for the scheme and for compensation, including blight; noise; 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.

Find the examination timetable here


  1. Is it accurate to say that this is a compulsory buy-out? As I understand it RSP has applied for Development Consent. This may or may not include a compulsory purchase. It is possible that Development Consent could be granted but that the Planning Inspectorate might stop short of insisting on compulsory purchase. It would be left to RSP to negotiate the purchase of the site, something they have not been able to do to date. Even if the Development Consent did include a compulsory purchase, RSP has to pay the market value of the site, which is defined as the value of the site to the legal owners if the reopening of the airport did not take place. If the airport weren’t reopened the site would be be redeveloped and would be worth hundreds of millions.

    • Indeed, there are two parts to this. There is the DCO (the Development Consent Order) which rolls into one bundle all the planning permissions and so on required to deliver the project; and in this case (but not every DCO application: many applicants already own the land they want to develop) there is a Compulsory Acquisition too.
      It is (in my opinion) unlikely that the PI will grant the DCO, let alone a CA.
      It’s interesting to ponder on the fact that Tony Freudmann, the CEO of RSP, used to be a director of Manston on a previous occasion. It went bust.
      He has a history of this sort of thing. You can read about it here
      He was also involved with the Travel Club of Upminster when it went under some years ago. It wasn’t a member of ATOL or ABTA, so rather a lot of people were somewhat upset.

  2. It’s all a load of bull Historic Manston A wartime Airfield with what was once the longest runway in uk with the Battle of Britain being fought in the sky above it the film about it was made there when I was a boy I remember looking up to see stukas me109s Huricanes acting out dog fights 2433 ATC squadron air training corps based there I was a corporal and learned to fly there no complaints then about noise some huge aircraft landed there Air Sea Rescue flew Wessex helicopters from there I think it’s closure was to block any attempts to stop it becoming the next big airport in UK as it’s not in London and vast amounts of land a magnet for cheap houses to make millions for the council and some backhanders for the rich open it as what it is an airport fully functional and ready to go

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