Permission has been granted for a legal challenge over the government’s decision process in granting permission for the development of Manston airport.
The review would look at whether the Government followed correct procedure in reaching the decision to approve the DCO for landowners 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 with a crowfunder raising some £80,000 in pledges to date.
In an update from Jenny Dawes today it says: “The Honourable Mrs Justice Lang DBE has granted permission for Judicial Review and agreed a costs cap.”
The costs cap means if the case falls Ms Dawes will only be expected to pay a limited amount of incurred expenditure.
RSP says it will reopen the airport in a £300m project to create an air freight hub with passenger services and business aviation.
Tony Freudmann, of RSP, said: “We have received notification from the court and are meeting our lawyers this afternoon. We will be issuing a statement later today or tomorrow morning.”
Ms Dawes says her action was 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.
Thanet Green Party says it strongly welcomes the judge’s decision that the Judicial Review can go ahead.
Leader of the Green Group on Thanet District Council, Cllr Mike Garner, said: “The Planning Inspectorate’s examination of the DCO was thorough and comprehensive, and concluded that it should not be granted. Their reasons included the simple fact that there is no need for a new cargo hub at Manston, with spare capacity at many other airports, as well as the threat it poses to the Government achieving its climate commitments.
“The Government’s irrational decision to overturn the Planning Inspectorate’s recommendations in the face of all the evidence was completely baffling.”
Norman Thomas, chair of South Thanet Labour Party, said: “The minister’s decision was totally wrong and we can only hope this judicial review will overturn it. The case for another airport was not accepted by the Planning Inspectorate — and we see no good reason to challenge their judgement.
“The terms of reference for such an airport had to satisfy national strategic importance. Even before Covid 19, that case was not made simply because there is already sufficient capacity in the south east.
“Local residents have done us all service by challenging the minister’s decision and we hope the judicial review produces a good result.”
Update: An RSP spokesperson said: “RSP is disappointed that this will result in further delay to our project to revive Manston Airport, which has the potential to create hundreds of construction jobs locally by the second part of next year. We have mobilised a full legal team and will be responding, in full, to the terms of the direction handed down by the High Court yesterday.
“We and our investors remain fully committed to the Manston project, which will be needed more than ever to support UK global trade, both following the completion of the Brexit transition period on 31 December and as we seek to rebuild the economy following COVID-19.”