Legal team due to submit Manston airport Judicial Review application after pre-action letter is rejected

Manston airport Photo Frank Leppard

A pre-action letter sent to the Secretary of State in a bid to overturn the approval for development of Manston airfield into a freight cargo hub has been rejected.

The crowdfunder currently has had 916 pledges amounting to £64,670 towards the JR costs.

Solicitors Kate Harrison and Susan Ring of Harrison Grant have agreed to act and to instruct barristers Richard Wald QC and Gethin Thomas in the action.

A Judicial Review would look at whether the Government followed correct procedure in reaching the decision to approve the DCO for RiverOak Strategic Partners.

The decision on a development consent order for the Manston airport site was announced on July 9 after delays in January and May.

The Department of Transport approved the application to create an air freight hub at the site. The Examining Authority panel of Martin Broderick, Jonathan Hockley, Kelvin MacDonald and Jonathan Manning  had recommended that development consent should not be granted.

The JR bid was launched by Ramsgate  Coastal Community Team chairperson Jenny Dawes last month.

A Judicial Review Pre-action Protocol letter to the Secretary of State setting out the proposed grounds for review was sent on July 24.

A response was received on August 7.

In an update today (August 12) Ms Dawes said: “The Secretary of State has chosen not to reverse his decision.  Therefore my legal team is preparing to submit an application next week for judicial review.”

Ramsgate Town Council is one of the backers of the cause with the majority of councillors agreeing to donate £5,000 – and up to £10,000 if needed – of council funds to the cause.

Councillors who voted against the proposal, Lynda and Stuart Piper and Cllr George Rusiecki, have raised concerns about the use of taxpayer’s money and the issue of councillors not seeing the contents of the pre-action letter or the response.

Green Party councillor Becky Wing abstained from the vote over concerns about the use of public funds. She has donated to the JR in a personal capacity and the Green Party has also donated.

Money from the town council has been paid into the solicitors’ client account with caveats set out in a covering letter.

RSP says it will reopen the airport in a £300m project to create an air freight hub with passenger services and business aviation. Plans for construction will be phased over 15 years and will include freight stands and four passenger stands for aircraft as well as warehousing and fuel storage to meet the forecast demand.

There are also plans for education and training, flight training school, business aviation and passenger services.

Ms Dawes says her action is being launched due to fears for the impact locally – particularly Ramsgate – and on the climate.

Manston airport closed in 2014 shortly after Stagecoach tycoon Ann Gloag bought the site from Infratil.

Find a timeline of events here


    • I agree with you Jim. Why? Because it’s going to create numerous work in this part of the country which is badly needed. Building houses on the airport brings no work at all. I live right under the flight path and having done so when the planes were up and running before the airport was closed. In fact I live nearest to the airport. There are no roads between where I live and the runway. We have the Secretary of State on our side which is a blessing.

      • The only transport Grant Shapps cares about is planes. He doesn’t care about buses or trains.

        He’s not doing this to please a few plane enthusiasts in Kent.

      • Keith
        Remind me when was the last time manston had planes flying every 15 minutes 24/7 ? .I have lived here for about 50 years and I cant remember that every happening, a few RAF planes once or twice a day and I think the odd training flight for virgin I think nothing like what RSP are planning

  1. Let’s see them waste their money, the donations and the money from the council (disgusting)! If The Secretary of State has chosen not to reverse his decision then he knows the chances of his decision being overturned by a JR are slim to none. Can we please just stop this nonsense and get on with re-building the airport! Let’s get construction underway, let’s get new job opportunities underway, let’s stop all the negativity surrounding the airport by the FEW moaners of Thanet and let’s start seeing planes from manston again!!! ✈️

  2. I believe we ought to see a proper list of all donors, including the one from RTC.
    £64,670 is quite an amount. Unfortunately not really enough to cover an expensive inquiry (JR).
    I am amazed at the RTC for their backing in this instance. They could be heading, rapidly, for a vote of ‘No Confidence’.
    Mind you, with all the ‘anti’s’ out of the way, this would make the progress of Thanet a lot more positive.
    I look forward to seeing planes fly from Manston…. soon. 2021-2022.
    Shame the Gloag woman double crossed the people of Thanet, by promising to keep Manston Airport an active concern, then U-Turning on it and closing it down.
    Maybe RTC should sue her(?)

    • Oh Robster just who is going to call for a VONC?
      Have you looked at the make up of council members
      Funniest comment from the pro lobby for weeks

    • Why do you want to see a list of the JR backers? What purpose would that serve?
      Please will you give us a list of RSP’s British Virgin Isle and Belize backers?

      • One questions as to if it is a legal requirement to show who the backers are with a name and address. You believe you know who the backers are for RSP perhaps you are right and perhaps you are wrong but certainly the relevant government department knows.

    • I hope planes never fly from Manston. The government should be improving public transport and helping councils create networks of cycle- and pedestrian- friendly paths.

    • Lets first see a list of all the backers of this freight outfit. So far it has been a big secret, is that to do with money laundering and the BVI, first Belize or something worse with our own corrupt outfit? At least the planning Inspectorate got it right and did the correct thing to recommend refusal after all their hard work.

  3. Why are the airport fans so excited about a DCO that takes any say in the development away from anyone local and into the hands of the government, for a new company who are serial failures, who have personally been involved in previous Manston failures, who are spouting jobs and numbers made up on the spot, with no experts saying it can be successful and no proof they can get their money back on the investments….

    Watch this space for housing in the near future, it is the only way a profit can be turned…..

    • I love the aviation pollution fans, because:
      – They say it will be great for Ramsgate, but hardly any live here.
      – They say it will bring jobs, but hardly any unemployed.
      – They say it will be good for ‘youths’, but hardly any of them below 70.
      – They say it will be a good way to honour the memory of Manston, but none of them fought in that war.
      – They say it will bring tax revenues to the council, but hardly any of them can place Belize in the map.
      – They say it will not be as noisy as reported by the own RSP, but they can hardly hear anyway.
      – They say that the land must remain aviation use only because the legislation says so, but none of them agree with the JR despite the fact that it is allowed by the legislation.
      – They say that the cargo airfield has got the backing of the MPs, but these MPs have managed to avoid backing schemes that would get Thanet out of poverty.
      – They say that extra cargo capacity is needed to relieve London, but they of course despise DFLs.
      – They say the cargo airfield will eventually have passenger flights so the MP with an airline can start flights to Malaga, but they do not agree with Ramsgate’s £320m tourist economy.

    • Because they were democratically elected. That’s how it works.
      As an example, the current government have spent billions on PPE that was unfit for use and more on a Track and Trace system that is having to be replaced. But they used my money to buy this defective stuff from firms that made donations to the Tory Party.
      Nothing I can do about it as they were democratically elected back last year.
      So “my money” is now available for them to give to their friends who then give a lot of it back to the Tory Party in grateful thanks.
      I have to accept it because nearly 45% of the voters gave the Tories an 80-seat majority.

    • And of the thousands in the Save Manston groups they need to look down the back of the sofa to find the change to buy some yellow ribbon !

  4. Planes flying in 2021/22 that’s the best one I’ve heard. Nearly £70k raised for the JR I suspect that’s a bit more than SMAa have ever raised even with Janice’s buns 😂

    • Roger Gale was confident that planes would be flying from 2019.
      2021? That’s only 4 months away. Still got to find £300,000,000+++. And sort out that pesky HRDF aerial. And persuade some carriers (any carrier at all … any one??) to fly to Manson rather than EMA or Stansted – proper airports well connected as freight hubs, with plenty of spare capacity.
      I have a sneaking suspicion that even if the JR failed, hardly a plane would ever fly from Manston.
      Why would it, when far more money can be certainly made far more quickly by building houses.

  5. £64k is absolutely nothing appointing a Barrister. RTC and other contributors must be totally naive to think this will have an impact – comical really but also serious for RTC wasting hard earned tax payers money. One could argue negligent and those responsible should be made to pay US back

  6. Don’t know why the freight hub fan club are getting so upset about a judicial review. They are all so certain it will fail so why worry?

  7. As regards Manston’s success all I can say its a good job the UK isn’t about to do anything that makes international travel any more difficult or making importing and exporting goods more complicated…ooops hang on!

  8. Rsp have the land and very deep pockets.
    They could just act as a landlord and lease out parts of the former airport for any reason.seen it all before although i have no connection with rsp but multi cargo ports yes.
    Covid19 and people working from home, office space is not such a good investment for pension or overseas type companies. Think ahead not the opposite.
    Manston (former airport etc) will be a multi use site with an airport = a very valuable site,why block their plans.
    The site could be used as a multi use prison with an airfield (other old prisons sold off) with an immigration removal centre (other immigration removal centres sold off) Add staff accommodation etc.

    Manston site,wish i had shares !

    others will have their own opinions but being old have seen it all before.

    • They have been adamant it will have only aviation use on it so cannot lease out parts for any business reason.

    • RSP have very deep pockets?
      No, they don’t.
      That’s why they are turning to investors and banks to raise the £300,000,000 needed to reopen and develop the place.

  9. Our MPs should be ashamed of the divisive rhetoric they promote about outsiders, acting like the Wantsum channel was still full of water and Thanet really was an island. Nowhere else in the UK would suffer such toxic localism for the purposes of getting more support for their pet project.

    It is also factually incorrect. Thousands of local residents object to the DCO and the prospect of a cargo hub, as do thousands of tory voters.

    Our MPs should know better than to encourage such gutter thinking. They create trouble in our community and give some license to go further.

    We are all entitled to a view on Manston and we shall have our say.

    David Green is a credit to the proper, long term interests of Ramsgate and our health and our economy, in my view. RTC is a democratically elected Council and no amount of aggressive tantrum throwing and vitriol is going to change this. If you can’t cope with democracy then you are living in the wrong country.

    Grow up Ramsgate. Be decent.

    Anyone with even a small amount of research would know that the outcome this far in the JR is entirely predictable.

    Funds keep coming and we’re in it for the long haul with Jenny.

    Irrelevant of this, has anyone asked Tony how it’s going with the MOD and the high resolution detection finder?

    They didn’t look too on board last time I read the documentation.

    • Be interesting to see if those backward looking democrats at RTC would have agreed to contribute toward this folly if they could be held personally accountable for misuse of tax payers hard earned cash. If Green has the best interests of Ramsgate at heart he should be spending the cash on the high street and making it safe for the decent people of the town, Maybe consider resigning and let someone with a can-do, and forward thinking vision take over.

      • They are thinking of the town of Ramsgate and it’s residents who do not want planes flying over their homes and schools and businesses at the rate expected by RSP. Mackinlay is not a local and does not live in the area. Chatham is his home so he doesn’t care about the Thanet area. He is under instructions from his trainer Gale who also lives nowhere near the airfield. Most of Ramsgate residents do not want this, it is all those outsider plane spotters that are so vocal with vitriol that they cannot say anything different to the usual derogatory remarks.

  10. A need to counter fallacy, false promises and scaremongering with fact.
    J Goldfinch- does maths, democracy or both offend you?!
    Each councillor was elected by a majority in their area and most are strongly on an anti-freight hub message. They make up the majority of the council. Maths

    Kenneth- Where to start…
    – “create numerous work in this part of the country which is badly needed” employment (because of tourism in thanet) increased after the airport shut. EA found the benefits of freight hub were overstated. Airports/freight are being automated as it’s cheaper!
    – “Building houses on the airport brings no work” erm- no and NO. It does actually, but houses are coming ANYWAY. It’s the law!
    – “I live right under the flight path and having done so when the planes were up and running” slowly for you all: this. Before: up to 6 large aircraft flights per week. Proposed: up to 6 large aircraft flights per hour!

    Robster- foolish comments.
    1. Why do you want everyone on the list named? So that you can raise a lynchmob? This is the exact reason it’s anonymous.
    2. Ref ‘the Gloag woman’ – the airport failed commercially three times.
    3. “Mind you, with all the ‘anti’s’ out of the way, this would make the progress of Thanet a lot more positive.” So, you want all the people who are ploughing money into business and house renovations to move to be replaced by automated jobs can take over and a polluted ex-tourist destination?

    • Oh yes the automated airport….. that runs by itself, and it’s not as if the autonomous side of things need maintenance or anything like that 🙄 and I guess when this airport full of robots has a fault then another robot will come and fix it thus no need for any human jobs whatsoever! I guess they can get robots to secure the perimeter fences and a robot fire crew 24/7 and robot cleaners and robot ground crew and robot customs agents. Yup no jobs for us humans…. oh and before I forget, the new runway, terminal, infrastructure etc will obviously be built by completely autonomous means. 🤔 the no jobs argument simply doesn’t stand up. Airport = Jobs.

      • It will be very few employed there as it is supposed to be state of the art environmentally sound so not many at all. The new station is going to have nobody employed there so it is coming that less jobs will be on offer than what will be lost throughout Thanet’s tourism industry which is on the increase since the airfield closed. You really don’t have a clue.

        • Ohh sorry silly me, state of the art environmentally friendly = not so many jobs at all! Wow!
          I guess all this state of the art equipment installs and looks after itself. Get a grip!

  11. oh,just to add.
    where else in in our beautiful country could a new (ish) cargo freight operations airport be opened ?
    Flight slot pairs (cargo only aircraft) in uk and proper europe are becoming limited in favour of passengers who spend some cash in their their airport shops,food outlets,bars,parking,taxis,trains etc.

    boris has dodged the heathrow 3rd runway and a Chinese bull dozer ! well for a while.

  12. Wanting a list of donators is very concerning. What would you do with this information and why would you want it?

    I know it’s been sunny lately but this isn’t Sicily. Get a grip.

    • Yes Emmeline why would the pro manston want a list of the anti manston ?.

      After all RSP havent said where is their money is coming from. RSP havent said which major air haulage company is moving to manston. RSP havent said which major importer is moving to manston. Why are RSP so secretive ?. Perhaps Amazon are moving their huge organisation from the center of the UK to the bottom right hand corner of the UK. Than when Amazon do move with all the added cost that will bring , like added aviation fuel cost, the extra cost of haulage, the extra time it will take to move the goods around the country from the bottom right hand corner of the UK the added cost to the consumer. Ehy would a major company want to move from a central park of the country ? I mean what’s has Midlands airport got that manston hasnt. Well Midlands is on the fuel grid so uncuts manston, it has a good road infrastructure, manston hasnt, it has a good rail infrastructure manston hasnt, it is in the right place manston isnt. Manston has zero going for it not even history is on manston side 4 times it’s been a stand alone airport 4 times it’s gone bust. All only time it was an airport was when the government paid for it (RAF) and even the government knocked it on the head as it wasnt value for money for the RAF to operate from !.
      But this doesnt matter to the pro manston people they are looking forward to planes every 15 minutes and aviation and haulage companies HGV every minute going up and down the 2 lanes thanet way and two lane M2 cause traffic chaos.

      Manston wont reopen because money rules and you cant make money at manston

  13. At least with the crowdfund people can also add comments. Anyone who still believes that it is a tiny majority, think again. It grows daily and has been a great way to finally show the real concern that exists. Many are disgusted with the two ‘local’ Mps who have only one biased side to peddle. Media reports are also guilty of always reporting in favour of the freight hub. Even this article only talks about 4 passenger stands, but doesn’t mention the 19 freight stands – why is that I wonder?

    • It’s just a fact that it’s a minority fighting against the airport. Probably a minority of fairly well off people that don’t need jobs, a minority of people that are willing to donate an average of £70 each to their cause. Let’s face facts, Thanet has a population of around 145,000 the number of donations for this JR hasn’t even topped 1000 so that’s less than 1% of Thanets population…… you can’t argue with that.

  14. One thing is pretty clear; the anti Manston and pro Manston camps aren’t going to change each other’s minds with endless debate.

    As far as I’m aware no one on here is a clairvoyant so no one actually knows what will happen with the DCO or whether the Manston business plan will be delivered. Despite people saying they know what will happen, they don’t.

    So what’s the point of the endless bickering about it ? What will be will be. You won’t change anything arguing on here. Chill out and enjoy the summer !!

    • You seem to forget the Pro-Manston but not taken in by the RSP promises !!

      If it was a venture by someone with airport successes under their belt many more would be behind the plans, but here we have an outfit run by a serial failure who has already lost taxpayer money with their pie in the sky ideas…..

  15. Dig deep into those pensions. £64000 is laughable! You Anti’s are so gullible. JD has got egg on her face after tee Sos Not reversing the decision. What else can she do but to ask for more money to hide the embarrassment.

  16. Sadly this is probably the only way we will get transparency. I totally understand view for and against but for me the pollution and the day to day impact will be to great. Associated health problems and environmental impact is not something I wish upon my children. I feel like the amount of jobs created is arbitrary number that’s sounds amazing but little to back it up. Quick search of those involved and their past behaviours also make me cynical of the whole thing. Everyone is entitled to opinion but people are still entitled to challenge the SoS decision. The money the council ‘waste’ on this review is small beans compared to the money they’ve flittered away before and will continue to do. Any way peace love and little green men.

  17. I am starting to hear reference to an “East Kent Freeport” , one of ten Freeports that the government is thinking of creating around Britain.
    Why have a freight hub for aircraft at Manston when there may be a Freeport somewhere in Kent to import stuff by sea in the usual way?
    Two policy promises A)have an airport to import freight or…
    B) have a new Freeport to import freight

    We can’t have both, can we? Competing with each other(and with Dover) to shift freight that may have reduced in amount due to increased tariffs making lots of goods more expensive.
    What’s that Biblical quote about onanism “The right hand knoweth not what the left hand is doing”? Sounds like the recent promises about Manston and a Freeport. Neither likely but sound good. Both in contradiction to one another. And if either gets off the ground (no pun intended) the goods will have to negotiate the M25 either way. Good luck with that!

  18. We need to oust ALL the Ramsgate Town Councillors the Town Clerk and trouble maker Dawes out of their cosy little ivory towers. They are selfish self centred Little clique who care for no one other than themselves. Let’s get a petition up to get them out of office. They are all intensely disliked and NOT wanted.

Comments are closed.