Kent County Council “strongly supports” Stone Hill Park plans, but at a price of over £24.8 million

It comes as no surprise that Kent County Council, led by the apparently anti-airport Leader Paul Carter, “strongly supports” the plans of ‘Stone Hill Park’ to build a mixed development on Manston Airport. However, it appears amongst their requirements are:

  1. Financial contributions to primary and secondary school requirements, at £24.7 million (today’s prices).
  2. Financial contribution to the proposed Thanet Parkway rail station, as yet unstated.
  3. Provision of an older persons’ care home with at least 60 beds.
  4. 16 self-contained flats for people with learning disabilities or mental health needs.
  5. Improved Community facility, including capital equipment of £177,000.

Presumably these are based on the current outline planning application figures for housing, so could alter.

Posted today on Thanet Councils Planning portal:

“The County Council strongly supports the proposed redevelopment of the Manston Airport site led by Stone Hill Park Ltd. The proposals represent a unique opportunity to transform the vacant site at Manston and make a significant contribution to the delivery of homes and jobs in the Thanet District and the wider prosperity of the East Kent sub region. KCC notes that the objectively assessed housing need for the Thanet District has increased from 12,000 to 15,600 homes (to 2031) and therefore additional deliverable housing sites will need to be allocated to meet the shortfall.

KCC has historically provided unequivocal support to the owners of the site following their acquisition of Discovery Park, Sandwich from Pfizer in 2012 and the economic and social success of this venture is well documented. The mixed use development proposed at Manston will complement the commercial offer provided at Sandwich.

KCC Officers have actively and constructively engaged with the applicant and the consultant team as part of a series of ongoing pre-application discussions. Following the submission of the planning application and statutory consultation period, Officers of the County Council have taken the opportunity to provide an update on a number of technical matters as set out below. As the preparation of the scheme evolves and various supporting assessments and studies are completed, there will be a need for the County Council to update its position in autumn 2016.”

However, KCC have indicated some significant areas of the plans which need improvement and/or additional financial contribution from SHP.

  1. KCC considers that the current level of transport assessment does not provide sufficient detail with which to make an informed decision in relation to highway and transportation matters and would welcome further discussions in relation to the above.
  2. As the proposed development progresses and particular demand placed on the project is identified, it can be considered that a proportionate financial contribution towards the construction of the Thanet Parkway Railway Station will be appropriate.
  3. KCC requests £6 million towards the construction of each new primary school, as well as the provision of land for each school, at nil cost to the County Council. A total financial contribution of £12 million will be required for primary education provision and should be recovered through the associated planning obligation. This is costed at current prices and will need an appropriate uplift to reflect sector inflation between now and the point of commissioning the schools.
  4. The proposed development is forecast to generate 500 additional secondary pupils, these cannot be accommodated within existing capacity in the area.To mitigate the additional impact, the County Council proposes the provision of additional places in a new secondary school in the Thanet District. It is requested that the cost of this additional capacity, at £25,458 per pupil is incorporated within a planning obligation.The number of pupils generated and resulting total contribution required will be dependent on the final housing mix; based on the current 500 pupil forecast a total contribution of £12.7 million is requested. This is costed at current prices and will need an appropriate uplift to reflect sector inflation between now and the point of commissioning the schools.
  5. It is noted that the application proposes up to 250 age-restricted dwellings.  The County Council welcomes the principle of the proposed development incorporating an element of age-restricted housing and confirms that there is need for such provision in the local area.  The tenure type and level of support provided for residents will be an important factor in ensuring that the broad proposals for age-restricted dwellings meet the specific needs of the local area.  Therefore, KCC recommends the provision of an older persons’ care home of a minimum of 60 beds in the area, as well as supported accommodation for people with learning disabilities or mental health needs in 16 self-contained flats.
  6. The County Council notes comments provided by Historic England dated 29 June 2016 and supports its view that the cultural heritage assessments undertaken are incomplete and do not adequately set out the significance of the heritage assets and buried archaeology that will be affected by the development proposal. Therefore, it is recommended that further work is undertaken to robustly analyse the background and data model for the proposed development site in order to understand its archaeological potential.
  7. In its response to the District Council dated 21 June 2016 the County Council – as Lead Local Flood Authority – raised concerns regarding the submitted outline Drainage Strategy and recommended the following: the undertaking of further ground investigation works; the preparation of a detailed Surface Water Management Strategy; and the provision of Conditions should the District Council be minded to grant planning permission.

The full submission can be viewed here: OL_TH_16_0550-KCC_GROWTH__ENVIR___TRANSPORT-402762

There is still a long way to go and much that needs addressing. County Councillors are elected every 4 years, the next being in 2017.
We continue the campaign to fight this development in order to realise our joint goal to re-open Manston Airport.

Please keep sending in your objections to the mixed development plans here: