Stone Hill Park response to AviaSolutions Report

The report by AviaSolutions cuts through the fog of confusion, deliberately generated by some, to reach a clear conclusion - an airport is not viable on this site.

Talk is cheap, airports are not.

Riveroak and their supporters have talked the talk but have again been found wanting when given the opportunity to prove they have access to the £300m-£400m finances required to get an airport up and running - just as they were found wanting in two failed CPO attempts.

We would urge anyone with an interest in this site to read the Avia report. It’s a meticulous, independent, evidence based analysis of whether the site can be viable as an airport.

It uses actual freight and passenger figures from the past as well as industry recognised projections for the future. Leading aviation experts have been interviewed at length before conclusions are drawn.

These conclusions take into account the possible options concerning the expansion of Heathrow, Gatwick; both or neither.

The report illustrates how RiverOak just seem to be plucking numbers out of the air:

  • They talk of attracting 500,000 tonnes of cargo, a tenfold increase on anything achieved in the past and contrary to the meticulous market projections of Avia.

  • They talk of attracting two million air passengers within two years, again a tenfold increase on anything achieved in the past and contrary to all credible market projections.

  • They talk of plans costing anything between £300m-£400m, but have failed to produce a shred of evidence to the public, to Thanet District Council or to Avia that they have such finance available.

RiverOak failed to deliver on their pledge for statutory consultation in September, they have promised this will take place in January 2017. We await with interest their estimate of how many flights, and in particular night flights, two million passengers and 500,000 tonnes of cargo will require.

They are like salesman going door to door to sell property that they don’t own.

Serious questions also need to be asked of the two MPs who continue to back this US company, come what may, regardless of all the evidence stacked against the long term viability of what they propose.

Sir Roger Gale in his backing of RiverOak keeps rolling the dice hoping a double six will turn up. It never will but he keeps gambling with the social and economic fabric of the area.

He has offered to stand down if RiverOak fail to win the DCO. That is his most sensible contribution to the debate so far. It should be a resignation resulting in an immediate by-election rather than waiting to retire in 2020.

Presumably Craig Mackinlay will hold himself to the same standard. His comments with regard the integrity of the Avia report are a disgrace.

Despite admitting he had only read two pages of the 86 page report, he described it as ‘bogus’ and said he was “very critical” of it.

He told BBC Radio Kent: “If you are paying the bill you can get reports written in a way that you may wish to have them read at the end of the day.”

Mr Mackinlay needs to be clear whether this is how he has commissioned reports in the past and is therefore judging others by his own standards.

Thanet needs MPs who will fight for what the area desperately needs, jobs and homes – not MPs who waste their time on flights of fancy which drain the public purse and have zero chance of ever getting off the ground.

Instead of shooting the messenger they should accept the reality that an airport is not viable.

What is deliverable and clearly viable – socially, economically and environmentally - are our plans for a mixed use development, creating much needed homes and jobs with new areas of open space as well as significant community and leisure facilities.

A development that will bring a multi-million pound boost to the local economy and hard pressed local councils.