The investment firm that has been attempting to buy the defunct Manston Airport is to use a development consent order (DCO) to try and purchase the site.
RiverOak Investment has been attempting to buy the airport since before it was closed in May 2014. It had offered to be the indemnity partner for the local authority, Thanet District Council, to carry out a compulsory purchase order (CPO) of the site. When the United Kingdom Independence Party took control of the council in May this year, it had promised to carry out the CPO, but went back on its promise in October.
RiverOak Investment, which has set up a company to manage its interest in Manston, RiverOak Aviation Associates, is now using a DCO, which, under the Planning Act 2008 is designed to simplify the process of gaining planning permission for projects classed as ‘Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects’.
RiverOak says: “It is the view of RiverOak and its advisors that the reinstatement and development of Manston is a project of national significance as envisaged in the legislation and guidelines.”
The investment company says it believes Manston could be used as a major airfreight hub, a reliever for the London airports, an aircraft recycling and engineering centre, a base for at least one passenger carrier, a flight training school and a base for executive travel.
The local member of parliament, Sir Roger Gale, who represents Thanet North, has welcomed the move, saying “I hope that RiverOak will be allowed to succeed where Thanet Council has failed.”
He applauds RiverOak’s determination and commitment to purchasing Manston and says he hopes that aircraft can be flying from the airport by early 2017.