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Delay for Riveroak's bid to reopen Manston Airport

By Julia Collins

The company which aims to reopen Manston Airport has delayed submitting its bid to take control of the site until the new year.

RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP) plans to reinstate Manston as a working airport, initially for cargo, by acquiring the site through a development consent order on the grounds it is a national asset.

It had hoped to submit the application to the government to take control of the site by the end of the year.

Manston Airport
Manston Airport

Instead it will hold another round of consultations in Ramsgate and Herne Bay during January, with exact times and dates to be confirmed.

It will submit an application to the Planning Inspectorate later in the year.

Director George Yerrall said: “We have been busy considering the 2,200 responses received to the consultation that took place in June and July, which followed the non-statutory consultation in June 2016, and at the same time our plans have undergone further development.

"We are also taking the opportunity to update our environmental assessment in line with the latest EU Directive, in respect of which we will also welcome comments.”

The consultation document will set out a proposed noise mitigation plan, new areas of environmental assessment, and details of where the plans have changed since the consultation in the summer.

The Manston Airport runway
The Manston Airport runway

Further consultations will be held later in 2018 as part of the air space change proposal that RiverOak will be submitting to the CAA.

Beau Webber, the chairman of the Save Manston Airport Association, said: "Today's revelation that RSP will be carrying out targeted consultations about proposed flight paths demonstrates that they do listen to local residents.

"Although final agreement on flight paths will not take place until RSP and the CAA engage over the aerodrome licence, this clearly demonstrates the thoroughness with which RSP are approaching the whole DCO process.

"These consultations will set the scene for the proposals that RSP take into the discussions with PINS (Planning Inspectorate National Service) and the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority).

"Although this will inevitably further delay the submission of the DCO application it is more important that all the Ts are crossed and Is dotted before PINS start examining the application.

"We look forward to learning more details of the consultations in due course."

Legal representatives for Stone Hill Park, which has plans to develop the site into a new town with homes and offices, have criticised the proposal by RSP for the airfield to reopen.

They held a public consultation on their latest plans for the site, which includes a heritage runway area along with homes and businesses, earlier this week.

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