Manston airport to feature film studio and 2,500 homes and be renamed Stone Hill Park owners reveal


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The former Manston airport will be transformed into a film production studio according to plans revealed by the site's owners today.

The newly named Stone Hill Park will feature 2,500 homes alongside the movie-making facilities, which the site's owners said could be the base for a future Bond flick.

Trevor Cartner and Chris Musgrave, who bought the 800-acre patch last year, said they also plan to build a 50m Olympic swimming pool and are in discussions with various clubs about moving there.

Manston owner Trevor Cartner said filming a Bond movie at film studios there was "not beyond the realms of possibility"
Manston owner Trevor Cartner said filming a Bond movie at film studios there was "not beyond the realms of possibility"

Mr Cartner said he had met representatives of a consortium looking for an appropriate site for a new film studio that included representatives of digital and animation businesses.

While the discussions were at an early stage, he was confident that it was a serious proposition.

He said: "The enterprise we have talked to approached us as they are looking for a site in the South East.

"They are talking about 1,000 to 2,000 jobs and with Thanet Parkway, we would have excellent transport links."

A 50m swimming pool and film studio form part of the plans for the site
A 50m swimming pool and film studio form part of the plans for the site

Asked if he could envisage the next James Bond film being produced in Thanet, he said "it is not beyond the realms of possibility".

The identity of the consortium has not been disclosed but it is understood that it is considering going public within weeks.

The new name Stone Hill Park is a play on the original name of the village on the site, which was known as Mannestone, meaning farm on the top of a hill.

The development will also maintain its aviation roots, with the re-creation of a heritage grass runway, which vintage aircraft will be able to use on a number of days each year.

The updated plans for Stone Hill Park
The updated plans for Stone Hill Park

Parts of the original runway will also be retained.

The Spitfire and Hurricane Museum and RAF museum will also remain in place.

Spokesman Ray Mallon, the former mayor of Middlesbrough who was hired last month, said the proposals were the only viable option for the site.

He reiterated the message that a much-speculated compulsory purchase order (CPO) to buy the land by Thanet council would fail if the intention was to reopen it as an airport.

He said: “A CPO will be extremely costly and will fail.

Owners Chris Musgrave, left and Trevor Cartner, right, addressed the media with spokesman Ray Mallon, the former mayor of Middlesbrough
Owners Chris Musgrave, left and Trevor Cartner, right, addressed the media with spokesman Ray Mallon, the former mayor of Middlesbrough

“Statute is quite clear that in pursuing a CPO in order to establish a viable airport on site, Thanet District Council would have to have the funds to cover not only the legal and compensation costs of obtaining the land but also to provide the finance to support long term the establishment of a viable airport.

“The district council’s own figures put this cost to local taxpayers at £76m and, with no company coming forward to provide suitable indemnity, the council was quite right not to pursue this avenue in the past.”

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