Sep 20, 2016 | Media statement
90% of local people who took part in the recent informal consultation by RiverOak Investments support proposals for reviving Manston Airport as an airfreight hub with complementary passenger and engineering services. A further 8% of respondents said they opposed the plans and 2% are not yet sure.
More than 800 responses were received by Bircham Dyson Bell, lawyers for RiverOak Investments, following the informal consultation events held in July. Of these, 332 were handed in during the six consultation events, 268 were emailed and a further 222 hard copies were posted.
Support amongst consultees from Margate and Broadstairs was the highest at 98% and 94% respectively. However, support was also high amongst those from Ramsgate and Herne Bay with 82% and 86% of respondents, respectively, in favour of the proposals.
High on the wish list for Manston were the inclusion of passenger services, a flying school, viewing area and a requirement for employment at the airport to be drawn from the local community. Of concern, quite naturally, are environmental issues such as night flights (although only amongst 9% of respondents), noise (8%) and air pollution and the flight path, both raised by 2% of respondents.
All of this feedback is being factored into the development of RiverOak’s detailed proposals for Manston which will be published for formal consultation along with preliminary environmental information (PEI). The environmental matters raised, in particular, will be subject to rigorous examination as part of the field work for this.
George Yerrall of RiverOak Investments said: “We are really encouraged to see so much support for the airport and to get a sense of the issues of most importance to local people. Before the statutory consultation exercise starts, we will respond directly to everyone who has taken the time to submit a response and has provided contact details, although all responses will be taken into account. We will also publish the information we provide to respondents on our website.
“However, we need the preliminary environmental information (PEI) work to be completed before we are able to respond on many of the matters raised. We have applied to the Planning Inspectorate for powers to enter the site for environmental surveying purposes, as the owners have not yet agreed to let us do so voluntarily.
“Given the delays we have experienced in accessing the site it looks increasingly as though this second, statutory consultation will now take place early in the new year, with our full application to PINS likely to follow in the second quarter of 2017.