Kent County Council to receive key presentations on future of Manston Airport after controversial delay

PUBLISHED: 17:18 13 November 2017 | UPDATED: 17:21 13 November 2017



Copyright © Ian Pollen

RiverOak Strategic Partners and Stone Hill Park will each make their case to councillors on November 21

County Hall will receive presentations by two big players in the Manston Airport saga next week after being controversially delayed by more than two months.

Councillors were set to be presented with a vision for aviation use on the site by RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP) back in September, outlining ambitions to re-open Manston as an air freight hub and pledging to create some 30,000 jobs by 2020.

It is working to obtain a development consent order (DCO) and an application is expected to be submitted before the end of the year.

Members were also expected to receive a presentation from representatives of Stone Hill Park (SHP), which wants to provide some 2,500 homes and leisure facilities on the site, and last year submitted a planning application to Thanet District Council, which is still currently being considered by officers.

However, SHP chiefs decided to pull the plug on the presentation, and KCC then decided to also postpone the appearance of RSP as well, claiming it would make more sense for the growth, economic development and communities cabinet committee to be presented with both sides at the same meeting.

The decision angered Thanet North MP Sir Roger Gale, however, who accused the council of lacking “courage”, adding that Dover District Council had received a presentation from RSP back in July, without an accompanying exhibition by the SHP team.

In the two months since the row erupted, Thanet District Council’s cabinet has agreed to allocate the site for mixed-use development, and not purely aviation use, in its local plan - a document which helps guide decisions on whether or not planning applications can be granted.

SHP described it as “a victory for common sense”, while RSP insisted there was a long way to go, with the full council still yet to vote on the revised plan, and the fact that a successful DCO, with compulsory acquisition powers, would effectively over-ride the local plan anyway.

The presentations will take place at County Hall on Tuesday, November 21.

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