A decision by the Secretary of State due today (May 18) on the long running saga over the development consent order application to create a freight hub at the Manston airport site has still not been published.
RiverOak Strategic Partners submitted a DCO application in July 2018 in a bid to gain compulsory buy-out powers over the Manston airport site. The firm 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. It is the means of obtaining permission for developments categorised as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP).
The application was opposed by then- Manston airport site owners Stone Hill Park which had lodged an application to develop housing, leisure and business on the land.
The DCO application was accepted for the pre-examination stage by the Planning Inspectorate in August 2018.
The Planning Inspectorate examining panel, led by Kelvin McDonald, examined the bid last year, with hearings and site visits running between January and July. These covered a number of contentious issues surrounding the application, including night flights, noise and noise compensation, land values, funding and funders and the question of whether the project is needed.
However, shortly before the hearings concluded SHP sold the site to RSP subsidiary RiverOak MSE Ltd for £16.5 million.
A decision by the Secretary of State over the DCO had been due on January 18 but a written statement to Parliament made by Nusrat Ghani, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, just two days prior to that date, said the decision was being pushed back by four months.
The decision was due to have been published today but has still not been made public. A spokesperson for the Planning Inspectorate said: “The decision is currently with Transport Ministers. Once we receive the decision, we will publish on our website.”
An official announcement about when the DCO decision can be expected, or an explanation for the delay, has not be made by the Department for Transport.
A spokesperson for the DfT said the department “can’t comment on a live application.”