Manston Airport plans exposed as aviation fantasy

Stone Hill Park’s newly appointed legal and aviation experts have exposed RiverOak’s airport plans as both unlawful and an aviation fantasy.

The new legal & technical team includes:

  • Three national and internationally recognised aviation expert consultancies with huge freight and passenger airport experience - York Aviation (whose work RSP has incorrectly relied on in support of their plans), Altitude Aviation and Oxera Consulting.

  • The UK’s No.1 planning & DCO law firm, Pinsent Masons*

  • Leading Planning Q.C., Martin Kingston Q.C.

  • Planning and environmental advisors, GVA, WSP and AECOM, each of whom are market leading specialists

  • Specialist heritage aviation advisors including Air Marshall Cliff Spink, a retired senior Royal Air Force officer who is a renowned Spitfire air display pilot at national air shows, and a former RAF Conningsby Station Commander and Tornado Detachment Commander during the first Gulf War. He has close links with Manston and Kent and is focusing on the enhanced heritage aviation component of Stone Hill Park’s master plan.

They have sent a 41-page legal and technical dossier to the Planning Inspectorate summarising that:

  • RSP’s cargo hub plans actually fail to meet the Nationally Significant threshold as they have measured the wrong starting point for the airport’s capacity. Their application for a development consent order (DCO) cannot lawfully proceed

  • RSP ‘misrepresented’ cargo views of nationally respected aviation firm, York Aviation, who have joined Stone Hill Park’s team in exposing RSP’s plans as a Freight Fantasy.

  • RSP have been unlawfully trying to get around new tougher environmental impact assessment regulations. A raft of new assessment would be required.

  • The DCO consultation material was so threadbare it does not meet the ‘satisfactory standard’ legal test.

  • The DCO consultation process has been manifestly inadequate and non-compliant. The public was not given enough information about widespread aircraft noise, traffic gridlock, air pollution, health risk, housing and business blight and environmental impact. The public was not told that new greenfield sites will be used for 6,000 new homes as RSP’s plans preclude use of the Manston site for housing

  • RSP are unrelated to the original applicant, RiverOak, so there has been a change in applicant. The new applicant, RSP, lacks the relevant experience, financial or other credibility, and their backers are shrouded in mystery. They need to put up money to demonstrate they can fund their proposals including costs of compulsorily acquiring Stone Hill Park’s land, providing noise mitigation to businesses and residents, and paying compensation for loss in property value caused by their plans.

Stone Hill Park are continuing to progress their plans for the new settlement on the site. Stone Hill Park and its team of experts is working with the Council to progress an enhanced the masterplan for the Site to deliver:

  • at least 2,500 high quality homes for families, young people and older people, with the potential for further homes

  • an enhanced Advanced Manufacturing Park creating thousands of new jobs including hi-tech businesses occupiers

  • a beefed up and regionally significant sports, leisure and tourist destination village

  • an enhanced country park for health, fitness and wellbeing

  • an improved aviation heritage component to the scheme.

  • Stone Hill Park will seek to recover all costs it incurs in relation to this DCO process.

  • Pinsent Masons’ Planning Law team has been voted as the UK’s Number 1 Planning Law Firm for the past 4 years (2014 – 2017) in Planning Magazine’s annual survey, and is a Tier 1 Planning & DCO practice in Legal 500 and Chambers Legal Directories.

The 41-page document, now lodged with the Planning Inspectorate, outlines how RSP’s plans cannot be considered as a “Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project” and cannot proceed any further. As a result, any application by RSP would need to be thrown out.