Heritage forms the heart of enhanced masterplan for Manston

Stone Hill Park will re-open part of the main runway at the former Manston Airport for heritage aviation as part of significant enhancements to its masterplan.

The proposals – which will be included in a separate planning application to Thanet District Council in the New Year – follow on from a pledge by the owners to explore all viable means to both honour and celebrate Manston’s aviation history.

Residents will be consulted upon the enhanced scheme at public consultation events taking place at the Holiday Inn Express, Minster on Monday, 20 November and Pegwell Bay Hotel, Ramsgate the following day.

Those attending will be brought up to date on the existing live application as well as viewing and giving feedback on the main elements of the revised proposals now being considered, including:

  • At least 2,500 homes within the Local Plan period with an ultimate capacity of around 4,000 homes for all stages of life, helping to reduce development pressure on Thanet’s countryside. These will include starter, family and retirement homes; homes to buy or rent and potential for custom-build and a small number of properties that could allow residents to park up their vintage plane.

  • A multi-million-pound investment boost to Thanet’s economy, including a redesigned advanced manufacturing business and technology park, located opposite Manston Business Park that together will create a single large employment zone, creating thousands of jobs and training opportunities.

  • A new home for Manston’s two museums – subject to their agreement – to a new ‘Spitfire Quarter’ located next to a retained 1,199 metre section of the former runway dedicated to vintage and heritage flights.

  • A new country park offering significant areas of publicly accessible space, including the remainder of the retained runway, re-purposed as a unique outdoor recreation, exhibition, event and market space similar to Templehof Airport in Berlin.

  • The East Kent Sports Village where an Olympic-sized swimming pool, an outdoor surf lake and an array of sports pitches, are planned with sports firm Match Day Centres signed up to run a new football centre.

  • Thanet’s most green and sustainable development to date with new homes that are energy and water efficient and designed for a changing climate with trim trails, cycling and walking routes.

  • Three new schools and all the community facilities needed for this unique new village to flourish, including GP surgeries, local shops and cafes plus an opportunity to connect the site to a new link road to Westwood Cross.

Stone Hill Park’s public exhibitions events will run from 3pm to 8pm, with members of the project team on hand to answer questions. Those residents not able to attend the events will also be able to view the exhibition boards and complete feedback forms online here at www.stonehillpark.co.uk

Stone Hill Park joint owner, Trevor Cartner, said: “We are moving ahead with significant enhancements to our masterplan, and are looking forward to fully sharing our updated proposals with the public.

“We have been committed from the start on ensuring the aviation past of this site is honoured, including providing the freehold for the Spitfire and Hurricane Museum and offering the same to the neighbouring RAF Museum under the existing plan, once agreement was reached on the adjacent road junction.

“In March we asked the public what more Stone Hill Park could do and engaged with local politicians and Thanet community groups, including pro-airport campaigners to get their ideas. Our job since has been to see what is both viable and deliverable.

“Our team now includes former Air Marshall Clifford Spink CB CBE, a former senior RAF Group Commander as a key advisor. He is working alongside our masterplanning and expert aviation advisory team, including York Aviation, to further progress these plans.

“The work he and others in our team are doing will be reflected in what we put forward to Thanet District Council in the New Year with new heritage attractions, sitting alongside the other elements of our new settlement proposals delivering thousands of much needed homes; thousands of hi-tech and manufacturing jobs; acres of new open space and a destination sports and leisure village.