As we approach the end of yet another year of campaigning here is a quick round up of some of the key aspects of the Manston Airport campaign of 2016 as taken from our website.
Full details about all these events, plus more, can be found here on this site, by clicking on The Campaign above, then selecting Latest News & Archive.
- Frederick Forsyth wrote in the Daily Express, “To recommission Manston would cost a fraction of a complete new runway elsewhere. If you transferred all freight and holiday charter flights from Heathrow to Manston, I think you could free up the landing and take-off slots equivalent to a new runway.”
- TDC opened up a soft market testing exercise to help it determine whether there were any suitable indemnity partners for the compulsory acquisition of Manston Airport and subsequent investment in the Airport’s development.
- A total of five expressions of interest were received during the soft market testing period. The interested parties then had to submit responses to a follow up questionnaire where a total of three valid submissions were received.
- RiverOak met with the Department for Transport (DfT) in London and the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol to discuss their intended Development Consent Order (DCO) application in respect of Manston Airport.
- Public meetings were held regarding a new mast at Richborough. Concerns were raised that such a mast may interfere with navigation at a future re-opened Manston Airport.
- The Manston Airport Radar was sold and removed.
- Stone Hill Park held public consultation events for their proposals for the airport site.
- TDC released a statement saying that SHP appeals, about the 4 change of use buildings, would be subject to an informal hearing on the 13th July 2016.
- The Transport Select Committee questioned the lack of transparency over the arrangements, and the cost, of leasing Manston Airport as a standby lorry park for Operation Stack.
- It was announced that Manston Airport would remain as an Operation Stack standby lorry park until the end of 2017.
- TDC announced that it was to take no further action in looking for an indemnity partner for the compulsory purchase of Manston airport but claimed that two groups were still interested in buying the site.
- On May 28th we celebrated the Centenary of Manston Airfield with both the Spitfire & Hurricane Memorial and RAF Manston Museums.
- Stone Hill Park submitted their Planning Application for Manston Airport under reference OL/TH/16/0550.
- SHP’s film studio plans were ditched.
- RiverOak’s Scoping Report was published.
- RiverOak held six informal public consultation events around Thanet.
- RiverOak published pre application proposals and an updated plan for Manston Airport.
- The MOD, Southern Water, Kent Wildlife Trust, Environmental Health, Dover DC and SuMA, among others, made objections to Stone Hill Park’s planning application.
- The Manston planning appeals hearing, about the change of use of 4 buildings, was cancelled in favour of a Public Inquiry with the Secretary of State citing the complexities of the case.
- RiverOak was invited to contribute to the hearing by the Planning Inspectorate (PINS).
Their submission was drawn up by RPS Planning and Development Limited (RPS Group) in a 56 page document.
- Thanet District Council instructed AviaSolutions to conduct a new independent viability study into the future of Manston Airport.
- Grant Shapps and his BIG Group delivered a report pushing for Regional Airport Expansion.
- The Planning Inspectorate published their Scoping Opinion in response to Riveroak’s Scoping report for Manston Airport.
- Kent County Council submitted a document to the TDC planning portal saying they “strongly supported” the re-development of the airport site by Stone Hill Park. This was challenged and brought to the Scrutiny Committee. A follow-up letter was then written to the planning department at Thanet District Council to clarify that KCC does not hold such a preference.
- Stone Hill Park removed the “Manston Tree” on Battle of Britain Day.
- The Public Inquiry for change of use planning appeal was delayed from November until 2017.
- Frederick Forsythe made a further plea for Manston Airport, “Kent holds the key to solving airport congestion”
- The findings of the disputed Manston Airport Viability report were released saying, “It is AviaSolutions view that having considered the stakeholder interviews and independent research and analysis into historic accounts and ‘reasonable’ adjustments for one-off costs that there is little prospect of a financially viable airport on the site.
- SuMA and TDC Councillors successfully challenged the designation of the airport in the draft Economic Growth Strategy document when it came before the Overview and Scrutiny Panel.
- Steven Allan wrote in International Airport Review about the folly of building a mega hub at Heathrow and put the case for Manston, “Manston played a heroic role during the Battle of Britain in 1940 making it a site worth preserving for posterity. Given its lack of development the airport provided an open canvas for the creation of a new airport fully meeting its users expectations, and with a main railway line passing close to the eastern end of the runway, building a station and providing fast service to St Pancras in a little over an hour was a ‘no brainer.’ Tellingly, this project could have been brought to fruition for a fraction of the cost of the third runway at Heathrow, but sadly, Manston was not even considered by the Airports Commission as a possible option”.
- The proposed new Local Plan document was posted on the Council website with the airport designated as ‘mixed use’.
- Discovery Park business site in Sandwich was sold to an investment company so that Messrs Musgrave and Cartner “could devote more time to developing Stone Hill Park” (Manston Airfield) which they jointly own with Ann Gloag.
- UKIP Thanet reacted positively to Edi Truell’s potential interest in developing aviation at Manston Airport. Cllr George Rusiecki was charged with liaising with Mr Truell. These discussions are ongoing.
- Lembit Opik wrote about the importance of Manston saying – “The effects or abandoning this ready-made international airport would only become fully evident in the longer term. But failing to ensure Manston reopens for passenger and freight operations would represent an act of strategic self-harm for the county, suggesting Government really doesn’t grasp the central contribution of aviation to the UK’s status on the international stage.”
- The draft Local Plan, including the re-designation of the role of the airport from aviation only to mixed use was discussed at a Cabinet meeting. It was voted through with the time period for Public Consultation extended from six to eight weeks.
- SHP appointed AOC Archaeologyto begin archaeological trial trenching to assess the potential impact on buried archaeology of their development proposals at the airport site.
- At the TDC planning meeting, on 14th December, the Planning Committee passed a motion to withdraw their objections to the change of use of four buildings on Manston Airport.
- RiverOak were granted permission to access the airport site in order to complete their environmental impact study which is one of the pre-requisites of their DCO application.
- The Public Inquiry into the change of use of 4 airport buildings was again postponed. The principal parties were advised to liaise and agree further dates for a reconvened Inquiry in February 2017.
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