Air Cargo Hub wins Manston Thanet Local Plan/DCO Battle

Isle of Thanet News

The sale of the Manston airport site to the firm aiming to bring cargo aviation and associated businesses to the site has been completed this evening (July 9).

Contracts were exchanged between RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP) and former landowners Stone Hill Park last Wednesday but could not be completed until permission was given by the Secretary of State.

This was needed due to  a special development order designating the Manston airport site for use as a lorry park to cope with possible post-Brexit jams at the Port of Dover which is contracted to run until December 31, 2020.

Permission was received today.

Completion of the transaction, which means RSP subsidiary RiverOak MSE owns more than 95% of the site wanted for the airport plans, took place at 7.30pm.

SHP had owned 742 acres of the site which totals around 770 acres with plots belonging to other interested parties. RSP paid the firm £16.5million for the site. SHP had previously submitted a planning application to create up to 3,700 homes, business and leisure and associated infrastructure.

A Planning Inspectorate panel, led by Kelvin McDonald, has been examining the Development Consent Order bid being made by RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP) to  acquire the site and create the cargo hub.

That examination, which opened in January, concluded today.

The DCO is still needed for the cargo hub project with a decision from the Secretary of State expected by January 2020. However, the compulsory purchase part of the application for the SHP owned land – equating to 98% of the site – is now defunct, although other landowners will still need to be compensated.

Issues surrounding national need, night flights and noise and blight compensation still need to be considered under the DCO process.

The land sale deal means SHP will withdraw its objection to the DCO. It will also withdraw its two outstanding planning applications for housing and mixed use on Manston and will no longer participate in the Local Plan Enquiry.

Tony Freudmann, of RSP, said: “We completed our transaction at 7.30pm. It is a great feeling.”

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