Shadow Minister Dame Nia Griffith visits Manston airport site

Labour MP and Shadow Minister for International Trade, Dame Nia Griffith, visited yesterday

Labour MP and Shadow Minister for (International Trade) Exports, Dame Nia Griffith, visited Thanet yesterday (May 15).

The Welsh politician who has served as Member of Parliament for Llanelli since 2005 has been the Shadow Minister for International Trade since 2021.

During the day she visited the Manston airport site and met with landowners RSP.

Tony Freudmann of RSP said: “It was a pleasure to welcome Shadow Minister for Exports, Dame Nia Griffith MP, to Manston.

“Following a tour of the airfield we discussed the important economic contribution an air freight hub at Manston will make to the UK’s export markets – meeting the needs of the nation’s just-in-time exporters, relieving pressure on the London Airports System, making innovative use of new technologies and working towards becoming a net carbon neutral operation.”

Thanet Labour Party leader Rick Everitt said Dame Nia Griffith’s visit was not related to policy regarding the development of Manston airport and was to learn about fuel technology developments.

He said: “Senior Labour politicians are engaging with organisations up and down the country in preparation for government. In this case, the shadow minister was interested in learning more about developments in fuel technology.

“Dame Nia Griffith is not part of the shadow transport team, her visit wasn’t related to policy in regard to Manston and it shouldn’t be interpreted as such.

“We await the outcome of the judicial review into the development consent order, which has important implications not just for Manston but for the local plan review as a whole. Nothing has changed or can change until that is resolved.”

Judicial Review

The airport site is currently the subject of a Judicial Review hearing in July.

The legal challenge against the government’s decision to give the go ahead for the development of Manston airport will take place at the Royal Courts of Justice.

The challenge, brought by Ramsgate resident Jenny Dawes, aims to quash the development consent order granted by government for RiverOak Strategic Partners’ (RSP) Manston airport project. Ms Dawes raises concerns about the impact  on the environment and Ramsgate’s tourism industry and that the Planning Inspectorate had recommended that development consent should not be granted.

In January a Judicial Review application was denied by the High Court but Ms Dawes then made a successful application on some points to have that decision reviewed at an oral hearing,.

RSP wants to create aviation at the site with a cargo hub and associated business.  Construction is planned to be phased over 15 years and  include 19 freight stands and four passenger stands for aircraft as well as warehousing and fuel storage.

The airport closed in 2014.


      • If planning permission was given to the building of houses there , there would be little or no need to dig up prime farm land, we are importing far to much .
        If this airport goes ahead , your just adding more pollution , and more air miles.

  1. Who the heck wants a smelly polluting cargo hub dumping its kerosene fumes over Ramsgate and the villages? The Job Centre in Margate currently has hundreds of job vacancies so any cargo hub will find it hard to fill any of the unskilled vacancies the now deceased airport had (about 150 – the same as a good department store at Westwood Cross). Councillor Everett was correct to say this was hardly a state visit, more like a quiet fact finding trip. Let’s bury this canard and build lots of new council homes, schools, shops and a nice solar farm . To paraphrase Monty Python: This airport is no more,it is pushing up the daisies, it has joined the choir immortal, it has ceased to exist, it is brown bread, in short it is a defunct airport.

    • Me to. It was an airport for as long as I can remember & I for one will be happy to see it being used for its purpose. All that history with Manston should not be built up with yet more bricks & mortar. The new builds going up everywhere is destroying Thanet & there is not the infrastructure in place to cope.

      • I still chuckLE at the statement it was an airport so it ought to be again as though it will be exactly the same. RAF Manston was primarily an emergency landing base and training airport. Since the Americans left its never been ‘busy’. Then Kent International, a number of half hearted attempts by various commercial companies, all failed for reasons that have been discussed countless times. I doubt it would be any different if it ever did go ahead, but trying to compare what was, with what it would be is like comparing living in a leafy avenue with living next to the M25

      • Maria Parker

        Please tell me when it was an airport with aircraft movements every 15 minutes ? I have lived here some 60 odd years and I dont remember this. I remember it as a RAF base with a few cargo and passenger flights.

        The history of manston would have been in safe hands with the company that wanted to build on manston and keep the run open for smaller planes.

        TDC got into bed with a struck off solicitor. The whole thing smells rotten. Mot only did TDC get into bed with him, people believe business people are going to invest 500million into the hands of this struck off solicitor who was struck off for the miss use of his clients funds !

        Reading these comments I was surprised that some didnt know of his passed. It always pays to check peoples history before you start agreeing with them 😉

        • Maria parker

          Your last sentence is funny lol “there is not the infrastructure in place to cope.”

          That applies to manston airport to.

  2. Hopefully new the members of Ramsgate town council will realise that the silent majority of the population WANT the airport to reopen. This will bring jobs & prosperity to a depressed part of the country.

    • John, only fools are fooled. Look at Brexit for a prime example.

      Stop letting these rich people who are only out to line there own pockets at your misery laugh at how easily they fooled you.

      Open your eyes, there will be no jobs, the airport would cost jobs on the area.

    • John how do you know what the silent majority want? They are silent. Or are you some kind of horse whisperer?

    • Can you point me in the direction of the research you are quoting? I’d like to see a link to the data that proves that most people of Thanet want an airport, so I can study it for myself.

  3. Classic comment from Liam on Facebook “I am no one’s lackey” says the man who acts like the three monkeys when it comes to the airport spokesman and CEO

  4. Hi Kathy

    Can I ask why this has not been reported/ investigate by the isle of Thanet news of which I am a supporter. As a journalist you should give Ramsgate residents all the facts, to give a balanced view. If the catalog of failed business ventures is correct this should be highlighted to allow people to make up their own minds as to the integrity of Mr Freudmann and the real plan for Manston Airport.

    I look forward to your response.

    • It was reported, at the beginning (before The Isle of Thanet News when I worked at another paper) when the people at RiverOak were named and explained. However, the incident you refer to goes back to 1993 and should be treated in the same way as a spent conviction which means any defence of publishing that in law would have to prove it was done without malice – defined in law as ‘published with an irrelevant, spiteful or improper motive’

      • I am confused Kathy since when has publishing the truth been “irrelevant, spiteful or improper”.
        I’m aware that he has made use of removal from google so people cannot read about his past but if you use “duckduckgo” that will bypass google’s censorship

        • I would have to prove it was none of those things. Public interest can be very difficult to prove to the satisfaction of a court. The striking off is 30 years old. Yes, it is in the public domain (without the hearing documents though) and the link has appeared here often enough but I know publishing law and I know what is and isn’t deemed acceptable (as I imagine google did when it agreed to remove links).

  5. Not sure why everyone who says the airport will fail is worried about it, I mean if you’re that confident it’ll fail, then there’s nothing to be concerned about, is there🤷🏼‍♂️

    If no airport, then no house’s either.

    • But until the issue is resolved, hundreds of acres of brownfield prime development site lies decaying.

    • For several years this issue has blighted Thanet, and prevented all sorts of alternatives being explored. SHP had a housing plan that included GP surgeries, schools, recreation space and a continuing light aircraft runway. The houses have now been built on greenfield sites with no services. Britain is crying out for Green energy technology, windfarm component construction, battery factory, solar panel production and other hi-tech future industries for which Manston would be ideal, and the employment generation would be far greater than an airport. People who support Manston are consigning Thanet to being a low grade employment backwater. When it doesn’t succeed we can say we told you so but you won’t replace the years of development that could have happened without a bunch of sentimental fools pushing a failed dream.

        • You appear to have a reading problem. Look again at my comments regarding green industries. And exain to me how a heavily automated card hub creates quality employment, especially when it fails.

  6. Surely the reference to Brexit is a prime example of exactly how the silent majority works. In the lead up, there are plenty of mouthpieces on both sides. Then when a vote is taken the majority dictate the result. All that’s left is for the more vocal minority to refuse to except the result.
    I remember the shameful complaints that were made in the 90’s about some flights from KIA as it was then.
    These were relief flights taking life saving aid to Rwanda for the victim’s of the genocide taking place there at the time.
    So this is old news.
    Not in my back garden.

  7. The word Manston is like I fire work going off. Be glad when this is decided either way it goes . Seems to make people very angry. Ps there’s a lot of business people out there that have gone bust a few times and still come back for more.

  8. A good site for solar power energy . Imagine that. No houses and no aircraft but safe greenish energy. Or how about a nature reserve for us to enjoy. Sorry just dreaming.

  9. It would seem that those who voted decided against the cargo hub and RSP, which is why Labour and the Greens increased their vote. There has been a seismic shift on TDC and an even larger Labour majority on RTC. There is so much more that could be achieved on the Manston site in the form of green energy and related jobs.

  10. The real story is why did a Labour Shadow Minister go to Manston to explore fuel tech? The site has nothing.
    RSP have nothing about fuel tech development in their plans except wishful thinking about hydrogen power.
    If Labour want to explore fuel tech they would talk to companies and universities researching this and the practicle uses.
    I for one don’t believe this was the reason for the visit. If I’m wrong can Rick please explain.

  11. It seems to me Nia Griffith expressed no support at all for reopening Manston and it’s just the usual spin from Freudmann. All the comments reported came from him to make it look like she did.

  12. I have personally spoken to Nia Griffith and she is shocked that Mr Freudmann has used her visit which was about discussing alternative fuels to suggest she supports reopening Manston as a 24/7 cargo hub which she doesn’t. She was entirely unaware of the pending judicial review, the previous quashing and the DCO examiners recommendations to refuse on many grounds.

    • Kathy
      In the interests of fairness, the truth and balance did you contact Dame Nia Griffith for confirmation as to the veracity of this story? I imagine the story came from Tony Freudmann. It surely would be good practice to confirm from Dame Nia Griffith as to the facts before publishing it. Without such balance it certainly could come across to a reader that this story was ‘published with an irrelevant, spiteful or improper motive’.

      • Yes, I contacted the office of Dame Nia Griffith. The visit wasn’t brought to me by RSP but by a source that is against airport development. You can clearly see I spoke to Thanet Labour about it.

  13. Something wants doing with it. The arguments have been going on for years in the end I can see it becoming an asylum camp.then you have a real debate on your hands.

    • Something could have been done with it years ago, but the then TDC obstructed SHP so much that it abandoned its plabs for mixed use residential/recreation/industry/business.
      RSP tried twice, and failed, to get TDC (under two different administrations) to partner it in a CPO bid. But first Iris Johnston (Labour) then Chris Wells (UKIP) declined to be involved, because RSP either wouldn’t or couldn’t show where the necessary funding was.
      However, several years ago, RSP acquired the site. There is now nothing to stop them applying for a CAA Licence and a bit of planning permission and off they go.
      I wonder why they haven’t?

  14. Kathy Bailes then you will know that she wasn’t at Manston to support the reopening as a cargo hub in any way and as usual from RSP TF’s comments are just spin from him alone.

    • The article says she went there and she met RSP, which she did. I don’t say she supports or does not support the project. RSP and Rick Everitt make comment on that before some JR details.

  15. Prominent at the top of the piece was this from TF: “Following a tour of the airfield we discussed the important economic contribution an air freight hub at Manston will make to the UK’s export markets – meeting the needs of the nation’s just-in-time exporters, relieving pressure on the London Airports System, making innovative use of new technologies and working towards becoming a net carbon neutral operation.”
    This is followed later by a quote attributed to Rick Everitt: “Thanet Labour Party leader Rick Everitt said Dame Nia Griffith’s visit was not related to policy regarding the development of Manston airport and was to learn about fuel technology developments”
    One might have thought the real reason for the Shadow Minister’s visit might have been given prominence.

  16. This gets worse. The Labour Dame visits Manston “to explore fuel tech developments” even though neither the site, cargo hub plans or RSP know nothing about it.
    Now we have this Dame not knowing about the disputatious history of the RSP plans, the DCO or the judicial review!
    Did she not tell Red Leader of her visit? If not he must feel more akin to a ‘tail end charlie’ – facing front when all the action’s coming at him from behind.
    Labour’s just had a massive Thanet win and we’re expected to believe Red HQ didn’t tell Red Leader about the visit.
    It obviously was nothing to do with fuel tech. If it wasn’t about the RSP’s daft cargo-hub plan what was it about?
    C’mon Red Leader, tell us the truth. Or is TDC going back to the secrecy and malevolence of Homer’s years?

  17. How long did Nia Griffiths spend at the ex-airport site, and did she visit other places , such as Discovery Park? What exactly did she do while at Manston ex-airport?

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