RSP (Riveroak Strategic Partners) have today submitted their application for a Development Consent Order. This long-awaited submission seeks to compulsorily purchase the airport site with a view to upgrading and reopening Manston, primarily as a cargo airport.
RSP’s submission needs to demonstrate to the Planning Inspectorate that Manston Airport is a Nationally Strategic Infrastructure Project (NSIP) with a capacity of at least 12,000 air cargo movements per year.
An RSP Statement states:-
RiverOak Strategic Partners submits Development Consent Order application
RiverOak Strategic Partners has today dispatched 63 documents, containing almost 11,000 detailed pages of proposals and plans to re-open Manston Airport as an air freight hub with complementary passenger and general aviation services, to the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol. The Development Consent Order application includes a full Environmental Statement, a four-volume Economic Assessment, detailed plans and drawings of all aspects of the proposals and a full report on the one non-statutory and two statutory consultation exercises, undertaken across 2016, 2017 and 2018, to which over 4200 responses were received.
Copies of the DCO application were despatched by courier for hand delivery to the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol, marking the start of the ‘Acceptance’ stage of the DCO process. There will now follow a period of up to 28 days for the Planning Inspectorate, on behalf of the Secretary of State, to decide whether or not the application meets the standards required to be accepted for examination. This is the first airport DCO application to have been made under the Planning Act 2008.
George Yerrall, Director of RiverOak Strategic Partners, said: “This is a hugely important moment for us, but I also recognise that it is a significant moment for many people across Thanet and East Kent too. On behalf of all of the directors of RSP I would like to thank the entire team who have worked incredibly hard, over several years, to get us to this point – and also extend my thanks and appreciation to all those in the community that have supported us on this journey.
“We must now wait for the Inspectorate’s decision as to whether we proceed to the examination stage of the DCO process. We have certainly endeavoured to do everything we can to deliver a grounded, detailed and evidence-based application that will meet PINS’ requirements, and I therefore hope and expect that today will mark the start of the next phase of our commitment to reopening Manston Airport and, in doing so, help to deliver the employment and prosperity for East Kent that it so richly deserves.”
The suite of documents, on which RSP have consulted, projects movements of up to 17000 cargo, plus 10000 passenger, by year 20. Their plans include upgrading the runway, building 23 new stands, a new terminal, new cargo facilities and aircraft maintenance hangars as well as developing the Northern Grass for airport related businesses. They plan to improve the surrounding roads in order to improve access to the airport and to also relocate the museums to a designated Museum Quarter.
Their documentation can be found here – http://rsp.co.uk/documents-page/
What happens next.
There will now be a 28 day period in which the Planning Inspectorate will review the application and decide whether or not it meets the criteria to go forward for examination.
If the application is rejected, RSP will have 6 weeks in which to issue a legal challenge to the decision.
If the application is accepted, there will follow a Pre-Examination period of approximately 3 months within which people can register to become an interested party by making a relevant representation.
The opening and closing dates of the registration period will be published on the project page along with all of RSP’s application documents.
An Examining Authority is appointed at this stage, and all Interested Parties will be invited to attend a Preliminary Meeting run and chaired by the Examining Authority.
The day after the Pre-Examination period ends the all important Examination period commences.
The Planning Inspectorate has up to 6 months to complete the examination of the application. During this stage Interested Parties who have registered are invited to provide more details of their views in writing. Careful consideration is given by the Examining Authority to all the important and relevant matters including the representations of all Interested Parties and any supporting evidence submitted. Obviously, this is the stage at which the current site owners, SHP, will have their interests represented and contest the plans of RSP.
After the Examination is concluded the Planning Inspectorate then has up to 3 months to prepare a Report which will include a Recommendation for the Secretary of State.
The Secretary of State then has a further 3 months to decide whether or not to grant or refuse development consent.
Finally, once the decision has been issued by the Secretary of State, there is a 6 week period in which the decision may be challenged in the High Court.
The whole process is explained clearly in a short film – https://youtu.be/4COj1N0kbfA
The Manston Development Consent project can be found and followed online here –