A two-hour hearing will take place on March 23 in a bid to proceed to a judicial review challenging the government’s decision to give the go ahead for the development of Manston airport.
The hearing will take place at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.
Last month a Judicial Review application submitted on behalf of Ramsgate resident Jenny Dawes was denied by the High Court. She then made the application to have that decision reviewed at an oral hearing,.
Ms Dawes’ second bid for judicial review followed a government decision to re-grant a development order allowing airport owners RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP) to create a new cargo hub at the site.
The first decision to grant permission for the Manston airport proposals was announced by government on July 9 2020.
The Department of Transport approved the application to create an air freight hub at the site. A Planning Inspectorate Examining Authority panel of Martin Broderick, Jonathan Hockley, Kelvin MacDonald and Jonathan Manning had recommended that development consent should not be granted.
The first Judicial Review bid was then launched by Ms Dawes with Ramsgate Town Council as one of the backers with the majority of councillors agreeing to donate up to £10,000 of council funds to the cause.
In December 2020 the Department of Transport acknowledged that the decision approval letter issued from the Minister of State did not contain enough detail and in February 2021 the DCO approval was quashed.
The development approval was again issued last August by then Transport Minister Karl McCartney.
Ms Dawes then launched a second Judicial Review application in a bid to halt the airport plans but this was refused in January by the Honourable Mr Justice Lane.
The current application for renewal of the claim for permission to apply for judicial review of the airport decision will be considered at a hearing before a planning judge.
Ms Dawes says the airport would cause: “irreparable harm to the people, environment and the economy of East Kent,”
On the crowdfunding page raising money for the legal action Ms Dawes says: “If the hearing is decided in our favour, the case will proceed to judicial review. If the decision is not in our favour, we can apply to the Court of Appeal.”
RSP aims 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, eight business aviation hangers and three recycling hangars and aprons
Before Manston Airport can reopen as an airfreight hub, new air routes must be approved through a detailed airspace change process through the Civil Aviation Authority
The airspace change process has now reached Stage 3 of seven stages.
During Stage 2, RSP and specialist consultants developed a number of options for the flight procedures that will be required when the airport re-opens. These options will be subject to a full public consultation this year.
Following the consultation, RSP will submit an airspace procedures proposal to the CAA for consideration, with a decision expected during the course of 2024.
Survey and design works are taking place with ‘on the ground’ works earmarked to start by the middle of next year with RSP saying the £500m project is expected to launch in 2026.
RSP says by Year 5 they forecast 2,150 jobs on the airport site and 13,100 indirect/catalytic jobs. They add: “Roles (at a variety of levels from entry to senior management) that have been identified, in common with most airports, include administration/airport management, retail, catering, car parking, transport, maintenance, ground operations, air traffic services, rescue and firefighting, engineering, customer services, border inspections, live animal specialists, customs and immigration and many more.
“There will also be a range of construction jobs, both ahead of reopening and across the four phases of development. Some of these roles will be necessary from the outset, others will be required as the airport develops.”
Manston airport closed in May 2014, seven months after the site was sold to Stagecoach tycoon Ann Gloag for a nominal £1, plus accrued debts.