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RiverOak admits night flights may be ‘unavoidable’ amid fears Manston plans would ‘devastate’ Ramsgate

PUBLISHED: 12:45 13 June 2017 | UPDATED: 12:45 13 June 2017

RiverOak Strategic Partners' plan for Manston airport

RiverOak Strategic Partners' plan for Manston airport

Archant

A public consultation into proposals for the former airport was launched earlier this week

Bosses at one of the major parties working to re-open Manston airport admit controversial night flights may be “unavoidable” amid fears their plans will “devastate” nearby towns.

A statement by The Ramsgate Society outlined objections to RiverOak Strategic Partners’ (RSP) proposals, which have this week been put out to public consultation, as it works to obtain a compulsory purchase order for the site, owned by bosses behind the Stone Hill Park project, through a development consent order (DCO).

The company last month published a report pledging some 30,000 jobs over the next two decades, though the site owners said figures in the document “exposed” RSP claims that the plans would not require night flights.

Stone Hill Park aims to deliver 2,500 homes and leisure facilities, while insisting the area’s history and heritage will be respected and maintained and has frequently dismissed the possibility of Manston returning to aviation-only use.

A spokesperson for The Ramsgate Society said: “The UK’s only successful cargo-focussed airport, East Midlands, has more than half of its cargo flights come in at night – in other words, between 11pm and 7am.

“That is the nature of the air cargo market. To persuade cargo airlines to move to Manston, RSP will have to offer night flights.

“Whatever your views are about the current owner’s plans for a mixed use redevelopment of the site, RSP’s plan has to be resisted.

“It will devastate the town we cherish and which the society, the town council and others are all seeking to regenerate and conserve its rich heritage.

“The noise impact alone of heavy, probably old, 747s flying low in and out of the airport, roughly every 20 minutes, will be enormously intrusive and destructive to the lives of all those residing and working in and around Ramsgate.”

In response, RSP director George Yerrall said: “From an operational point of view, RiverOak considers night flights to be undesirable.

“They are more costly to operate and require employees to work less sociable hours.

“Consequently, RiverOak will seek to minimise night flights and incentivise airlines to fly during the day by levying additional charges and requirements on any night movements.

“However, we recognise that night flights might be unavoidable in certain operating circumstances.

“Therefore, whilst our proposals work on the basis that air freight operations would be predominantly during the daytime, we are assessing the possible impact of a small number of night flights.

“Our final DCO submission will take account of feedback from the statutory consultation, further development of our design and business plans and any night flight proposals will be comprehensively assessed within the environmental statement.

“We urge the local community to attend our consultation events, fill in feedback forms and share their views about the airport to help inform this process.”

More information about the consultation can be found here.

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