Manston Airport sold to RiverOak, seeks to develop site into an air cargo hub

posted on 3rd July 2019 by Justin Burns

Stone Hill Park – the owner of Manston Airport – has sold its interests in the site to RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP) – who want to develop the site and reopen it as an air cargo gateway.

A letter published on the Planning Inspectorate website at Thanet District Council said contracts for the former airport in Kent, which closed in May 2014, were exchanged on 2 July and completion of the purchase is expected to take place on 11 July.

The letter added: “The applicant will provide a fuller summary of its overall case in the light of this significant development, which may not be until completion has taken place.

“Any submissions made after July 9 will be made to the Secretary of State for Transport.”

The Manston Airport site is subject to a Development Consent Order (DCO), examining RSP’s proposals to reopen Manston as a freight hub. RSP will now be able carry out survey work needed to conclude the DCO process.

Stone Hill has agreed to withdraw its objection to the DCO as well as two outstanding planning applications for housing and mixed use on Manston, and no longer participate in the Local Plan Enquiry.

RSP director, George Yerrall said: “It has been a long process with SHP and we felt the time had come for the parties to come together to negotiate a settlement of the ownership issues.

“We now look forward to focusing on securing development consent and making rapid progress towards the re-opening of Manston with all the economic and other benefits we believe it will bring to Thanet and East Kent.”

Since Manston closed in May 2014, there has been a strong local campaign to reopen the airport, with RSP offering to act as an indemnity partner to fund a compulsory purchase order by Thanet District Council.

Stone Hill Park chairman, Trevor Cartner said terms for the sale of the former Manston Airport site have been agreed.

He added: “We wish RSP good luck in their own aspirations for the future of the airport. At some point in the near future we will restructure our company and invest the capital released into other major regeneration projects throughout the U.K.”