Ramsgate Town Council discusses Manston airport approval and anticipates legal challenge

Manston airport Photo Frank Leppard

A legal challenge against the granting of the Development Consent Order for Manston airport by government is ‘anticipated,’ says Ramsgate Town Council.

The DCO gives the go-ahead for plans to create a cargo hub at the airport site. It was granted for the second time last month. The approval for the air freight hub was initially granted in July 2020 but  quashed in February 2021 following a Judicial Review challenge by Ramsgate resident Jenny Dawes which had financial backers including Ramsgate Town Council.

A new decision then had to be issued after a re-examination of the Planning Inspectorate evidence.

The DCO application was accepted for examination in August 2018 and it was completed on 9 July 2019. The examination was conducted on the basis of written and oral submissions submitted to the Examining panel and by eight issue-specific hearings, two compulsory acquisition hearings and four open floor hearings held in Margate and Sandwich.

The panel also conducted one unaccompanied site inspection in January 2019 and one accompanied site inspection in March 2019.

The examining panel recommendation was for refusal. This was overturned by the Secretary of State when granting the original DCO.

Fresh approval was issued in August by Transport Minister Karl McCartney MP and the DCO will come into force from September 8.

The majority of Ramsgate Town Councillors are not in favour of the airport proposals and in 2020 members voted to contribute up to £10,000 towards the Judicial Review application.

At a meeting last night (August 31) it was not resolved to again make a financial contribution but instead to consider the option once the grounds of a new challenge are known.

Cllr Steve Albon, who chaired the meeting, said he believed the approval was given for political purposes and there was no ‘validation’ for a cargo hub.

However, on the subject of funding towards a second JR bid he said RTC needed to “consider where we spend our money” in reference to the cost of living crisis meaning residents likely needing services such as food banks.

Cllr David Green, who proposed the issuing of a statement by the council, said the Secretary of State had “got it wrong” and branded the decision a ‘slap in the face.’

Cllrs Stuart and Lynda Piper and George Rusiecki said they disagreed with the stance of RTC and that some of the wording of the proposed statement was inflammatory.

Cllr Piper said he believed the cost of a legal challenge would be “astronomic” while Lynda Piper said she did not “want to be associated” with the proposed statement.

An amended statement was approved by councillors. Both Cllr Pipers and Rusiecki voted against, Cllr Barbara Young left the meeting before the vote and Cllr Helen Crittenden abstained because she said although she ‘completely does not support the airport” she felt RTC should “take a more neutral stance” and “acknowledge this is an extremely divisive situation for our town rather than to fall on one side or other of the divide.”

Cllr Ann-Marie Nixey said just acknowledging the decision was divisive was “not strong enough,” adding: “People are up in arms and feel very strongly and I would like to represent them by making more of a public statement that we oppose this.”

The statement issued by Ramsgate Town Council says: “It is disappointing that once again the Government has decided it knows better than the independent examiners and its own advisors.

“Ramsgate Town Council stands with the residents of Ramsgate and elsewhere who fear the consequences for their town and their quality of life.  We remain unconvinced that the claimed benefits for local people are real or deliverable.

“This decision is a concern for all of us who are worried about climate change and exposes the hypocrisy of the Government on this vital issue.

“We anticipate the decision to the grant the DCO will be challenged legally, and once the grounds of the challenge are known the Council will meet to consider its options.”

Airport site owners RiverOak Strategic Partners say they aim to create aviation at the site with a cargo hub and associated business. Plans for construction will be phased over 15 years and will include 19 freight stands and four passenger stands for aircraft as well as warehousing and fuel storage.

Ramsgate Town Councillors opposed to the plans say they believe it is ‘undeliverable.’ Airport supporters say they do not believe town council funds should be used for a Judicial Review.


  1. “Airport site owners RiverOak Strategic Partners say they aim to create aviation at the site with a cargo hub and associated business. Plans for construction will be phased over 15 years and will include 19 freight stands and four passenger stands for aircraft as well as warehousing and fuel storage.”

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA how do they honestly think they’ll compete with gatwick, heathrow, stansted and east midlands for freight being in a non centralised location, some 50 miles away from the true hubs of industry(london/midlands). They’re living in cloud cuckoo land.

    • Yes they do Anon, You antis are getting boring. Prefer thousands of houses and no jobs, no schools, no water, no hospital or doctors no policing, inadequate everything do we? Hahahahahaha……..ETC ETC.

      • I’d rather have inadequate all you mentioned, than an inadequate airport propped up by the fantasies of those who don’t operate in objective, observable reality of the industries they’re supposedly championing, sure.

  2. Why does this government hate Thanet so much that it is prepared to destroy the ambience of our unique coastline and rural surroundings?

    • The gov, as an entity cannot hate a location, logically speaking.

      However, those in SMA, RSP and MacKinlay quite clearly do.

  3. The majority of Ramsgate Town Councillors are not in favour of the airport proposals and in 2020 members voted to contribute up to £10,000 towards the Judicial Review application.Why are public funds being used for this, stop the airport then, consider the alternative 10s of thousands of houses, and no local jobs, surely a venture creating jobs is good for the area. Will Thanet DC give my legal team £10000 to ensure it happens. Just think of the laternatives for that land, mosst local people complain about 100 houses being built

    • Hopefully that £10k come from their own pockets in lieu of earnings, not cash for spending on their usual ramsgate projects.
      Maybe a JR is needed re rtc etc lol.

  4. Planes are bad for the environment, and an airport is not feasible in Thanet.

    Ok, I actually dont care about any of that I just pretend to. What really bothers me is the noisy planes.

      • Oh right thanks for confirming that. Anyway…. Its still the noisy planes that bother me, but I will pretend to be concerned about the REST of the environmental concerns, and the feasibility of an airport in Thanet.

        Now easier to understand the NIMBY thinking?

  5. This argument has been political in Thanet since 1928. When the Liberal Party almost obtained the first non-Conservative Member of Parliament in Thanet history as a consequence of the first proposal to close the airfield. Barely a dozen years since the airfield was created.
    The airfield’s not going anywhere. The sooner NIMBY who are quite happy to use Heathrow & Gatwick or even more polluting oceangoing cruise ships for the holidays get over themselves the better.

  6. I watched the RTC meeting on live stream last night.
    Not surprised at what said by those there.
    The same old sound bites, accusing the Government of making a “political decision “ over Manston.
    One thing was very obvious, very few of those commenting had much of a grasp of what was in the DCO Decision.
    Yes a Politician made the decision on what is a Planning Application for a Commercial Airport.
    That oddly is how it works …
    Politics in action…Not the talking shop that to be observed on Ramsgates local level..
    There are many unanswered questions as to what happened to the £160 Thousands that were donated to Ms Dawes last Crowd Funder , to date No breakdown of how those funds were spent have been seen , Why not ?
    And still RTC are mooting donating more funds.

    • Now, if you’re alleging what I think you’re alleging, the NCA/HMRC would be VERY interested in all your evidence, allegedly…

    • If you actually read the decision letter by Karl MacCartney you will see that he himself admits his decision to overrule the Examining Authority is justified on wider Government policies. Of course it was a political decision.

    • Ms Dawes did not control any of the money raised to fight the JR
      And if SMAa had any nouse they would wonder just why they have been unable to find the money to appeal the decision of the judge.
      This was purely a political decision not based on NEED, Climate, or even Reality

    • RTC have every right to fund the new JR as more of them don’t want the airport than the ones who do on RTC 🙂 The DCO will get challenged and will halt the plans again 🙂 of RSP

  7. I look forward to in a couple of years seeing these thousands of jobs for local people and this new era for Thanet.

    With this and Brexit the “future” is very very very bright indeed.

    If everything that’s said is true*

    *things being said might turn out not to be true. (Shock horror)

  8. Any legal challenge this time round will be Vigourously contested and if I find any tax-payers money is used in any legal fight I will take the council to court for misappropriation of funds of put funds.
    I’m sick of hearing the yap yap yapping of selfish individuals who think they have a right to deprive the whole area of potentially hundreds of job both directly and indirectly that the airport will generate. If you don’t like the airport clear off and live somewhere else.

    • Cobblers Bill, is the legal term.If they have the cojones they can do so perfectly legally.I remember the last time that idle threats from the frankly weird were made and they added up to precisely nothing.

    • Now you’re just being silly, Billy. Of course you won’t take them to court – you wouldn’t know where to start!
      How about ‘If you don’t like there not being an airport, then clear off and live somewhere else’?

    • Perhaps there are a couple of Russian oligarchs breathing down Shapps’ neck – there really is no sane reason for allowing RSP to have their DCO.

    • Go on Bill, do it. Put your money where your mouth is. Misappropiation of funds reminds me of that struck off solicitor now fronting that green business…what was his name…?

  9. Here we go again ,the the for and against Manston crowds,stating from the near, to the ,truth to utter rubbish statements ,twisting people words for their own agenda ,some down right lies,bigotry is alive and well ,some hiding behind stupid names, and yes, people who me ,know me as ray the bread

    • Sorry Ray, you Ok? You could be having a stroke. Ring 999 and put a tablet of Manston under your tongue in the meantime, its meant to solve all problems

  10. Why did rtc take the cheap option to install a gate (although a lovely designed gate i may say) in harbour st ramsgate.
    The gate looks great but its a barrier for footfall in that area, PHtom told me it looks like the street is closed !
    There were other alternative ideas to prevent motor vehicle traffic but transferring £10k maybe more+more into a crowdfunding company for denial of a major infrastructure project seems to be their current bag.
    If the airport returns = someone has wasted much needed cash for the local community.
    So disappointed with rtc!.

      • Hey, why install a physical gate. Could have been better policed with a pop up pop down bollard. which the emergency services have a pre installed app that opens the bollard as soon as they arrive.

        Can say more thou

  11. Ramsgate town council make a very good example of why Margate should say no to a town council.

    Aren’t Ramsgate council happy that 60 years ago they started the destruction of their tourist industry by removing the illuminations, chased what litle industry the was away, rejoiced at the demise of Manston airfield and sat back as contented retirees with little need to work.

    Best wishes to Riveroak and the companies it will attract. May the semi literate small minded councillors of Ramsgate, Margate and Broadstairs see their past incompetence as the reason TDC Was created and why the brains of the area coming out of our grammar schools still have to leave the area if they want a career.

    • The brains of the area wont be going to the grammar schools no more as the noise from the planes will make them as thick as s submarine door. Or in other words, as thick as a Manston supporter.

      All these poor kids will be able go aspire to will be picking up pallets full of tat from our new friends in China, in their zero hours contracts paid at whatever wage Lizzy Truss allows them.

      The cheek of talking about educational attainment…

  12. I think it is about time we had a Vote of no Confidence in Ramsgate Town Council, due to Misappropriation of Ramsgate Town Council Funds.
    They have already spent £10,000, on a lost cause, only to intimate, that they will spend more Money, on another Judicial Review.
    The money they are thinking of spending on another Judicial Review, would be far better giving it to a Ramsgate food bank.

    • I hope that when election time comes around voters will remember those Luddite councillors who are trying to block a project that has the genuine ability to be of real value to Ramsgate and displaying egregious contempt towards the overwhelming majority of residents who back Riveroak’s plans. And I hate to think what the public reaction will be if they toss another 10k of OUR money into the nimbys’ trough!

      • Hi Nigel, 49 points for using Luddites in your post. I hope that your faux outrage extends to the cost of the report commissioned by Grand Chapps which was then ignored…?

        Otherwise you run the risk of coming across as a dilettante…

  13. We have a mayor in Ramsgate who idolises the mayor of London
    [ we can all see the harm he has done in London] in how to drive business opportunity’s away. RTC needs its finances closely examining if it spends one penny of taxpayers money on it “ friends” to oppose the reopening of Manston Airport.

  14. Get the airport open and get the port up and running again like they use to be, all these haters like I said before move back to where you come from if you don’t like it

  15. Ah Ann! your not dead then! They must have let you out on day release.
    Frankly it would serve RSP right if they were made to build it.Perhaps we should all shut up, let them build it, and watch it fail spectacularly. as will be inevitable.
    Building a new Manston is up there with ‘Let’s have a quick special military operation in Ukraine’, or we can spend £350m extra a week on the NHS, if we leave the EU.
    If you really do believe that Elvis is walking the earth, that Trump did not lose the presidential election, and that Boris Johnson was a good PM, then you should be made to live on the flight path of whatever wanders into Manston, and good luck to you!

  16. A number (not all) of the RTC councillors have always claimed that they represent the “majority” of Ramsgate residents, who are “against the airport.” Yet this has never been proven and those same councillors did not campaign on the issue of the airport. Had they done so it would have been interesting to see how many of them would have actually got elected! My personal view is that the anti airport folk represents just a few hundred people and not at all the majority it claims to have.

  17. I see from a number of comments that the penny has still not dropped for those who still think it was a trade off between the airport or houses. For the umpteenth time – the housing target inflicted by central Government is set. That means that the number number of houses will be built whether it was on the airport site or elsewhere.

  18. Ramsgate Town Council proposing to spend 25p per resident to challenge something they don’t see as right – if everything with the airport is legitimate the RSP fans have little to worry about….

  19. Sometimes you just have to admit defeat!!!!!give it a rest a spend public funds on things that you can deliver.

  20. For all of the people that quote the environment and pollution and the environment, the airline and transportation industry are moving towards Hydrogen which i believe is one of the goals of Manston.

    In Herne Bay we have this.


    In Discovery Park we have this.


    Manston is pretty much in the middle of the two, admittedly they would probably need to refuel somewhere, be it Europe etc which i dont really know much about but if you click through the various links you will see info about Hydrogen hubs etc.

    This could be an opportunity missed

  21. I will set up crowdfunding to take useless Ramsgate Town Council to court to seek a judicial review as to can it be legal for a council to use public funds to fight the reopening of the airport on 1. For Political reasons 2. Using taxpayers money who most of actually want the airport to open. 3. Without any consent or consultation with the forenamed taxpayers. 4. Not one of the RTC councillors stated in their election campaign that they wanted permission to use public funds to spend on fighting the airport reopening.

    • Ann – why are you so blinkered to the promises of a bunch of anonymous foreign developers headed by someone serially failed at everything he has done, who have overturned any local democracy but getting the housing obsessed government on their side, when all they have done is bought public favours with a few trees and sponsorship of some t-shirts?

    • Go on, Ann, do it, see if the pockets of your cargo mates get to raise £160k.

      All the DFLs funding the JR we have LOTS of spare cash and we have shown no trouble raising funds. Also, remember 2024 is round the corner, so good luck to Roger Plane and Craig McRivsr being elected again, the electorate has changed so much since last time.

    • Some of them were anti Manston in their election addresses.
      Where’s your evidence for most residents want Manston?
      If you lived along the flight path would you be happy?
      You aren’t really expecting each of Ramsgate’s 20,000 electors to give written permission.I was not wildly keen about Brexit but I did not expect HMG to send me a form to sign my approval.
      To save all that faff,we have a thing called representative democracy.Anyway why are you so bothered you live in Broadstairs, the land of the living dead.

  22. Democracy not your strong point then Ann
    there are even a few councils that run airports and now wish they didn’t
    Then there is Thanet Council that run Ramsgate port with the losses running into excess of £20M

  23. A developer has bought up and fenced off lots of land for houses right at the bottom of what will be the runway for incoming planes.

    Can I suggest that all the Pro Manston supporters who don’t think the noise will be an issue go and buy these new houses and free up their own houses for those who don’t want to be directly on the flight path.

    Everyone’s a winner.

  24. Statement as follows
    It is disappointing that once again the Government has decided they know better than the independent examiners and their own advisors. Ramsgate Town Council stands with the residents of Ramsgate and elsewhere who fear the consequences for their town and their quality of life. We remain unconvinced that the claimed benefits for local people are real or deliverable. This decision is a concern for all of us who are worried about climate change, and exposes the hypocrisy of the Government on this vital issue. We anticipate the decision to the grant the DCO will be challenged legally, and once the ground of the challenge are known the Council will meet to consider its options.

  25. God help us, you know nothing. Egon you talk rubbish. Nokes you sound like a useless undertaker.
    I promise to pay £25,000 towards any legal Fund to fight to expose Ramsgate Town Council for what they are. [ Acting beyond their elected remit with taxpayers money]

    • Ann, you should use that £25,000 to pay for a proper public poll of residents to see if they, are indeed, in favour of a 24/7 freight hub. I see lots of pro airport people claiming this but with no factual evidence.

  26. The airport has never been viable since it was sold off by the MOD. Time to just build the houses on it and get it over and done with.

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