Planning Inspectorate to examine Manston proposals

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Manston Airport before it was closed in 2014

The Planning Inspectorate has accepted the application to examine reopening Manston Airport, primarily as a cargo airport with capacity for at least 12,000 movements per year.

The airport located in the Thanet district of Kent closed on 15 May 2014, and there has been a local campaign to reopen Manston.

US investment group, RiverOak Investments put forward plans to reopen the airport with an emphasis on cargo and aircraft recycling, offering to act as an indemnity partner for Thanet District Council to fund a Compulsory Purchase Order, but the council rejected the proposals saying the US firm did not provide the required information.

RiverOak is now attempting to take control of Manston, which the site owners are proposing to turn into housing in a project known as Stone Hill Park, using a Development Consent Order (DCO).

UK-registered company RiverOak Strategic Partners was established to manage the DCO, and had already an application to the Planning Inspectorate in April this year but withdrew it in May due to not satisfying requirements for information about parts of the application including funding, national significance and environmental statements.

The Planning Inspectorate says the application was accepted by the secretary of state or housing communities and local government on 14 August, with chief executive Sarah Richards saying: “After careful consideration we have decided on behalf of the Secretary of State that the application submitted by RiverOak Strategic Partners Ltd met the required tests set out in the legislation to be accepted for examination.”

She says it is now for the applicant to publicise when members of the public can contribute to the examination process by registering with the Planning Inspectorate as an interested party to give their views.

RiverOak Strategic Partners director, George Yerrall says: “We are extremely pleased that our proposals have been accepted for examination and we look forward to the next stage of the DCO process.”