Thursday 5 July 2018

Viability of Manston

Following on from the last post the decision as to which option to choose still remains on whether there is evidence that an airport is viable at Manston up to the end of this Local Plan period which is 2031. The choice that Members at TDC have is option 1
This is the safer option according to officers but would still mean farmland being given over to land for housing. 1000 at Birchington, 1000 at Westgate and various other sites in Thanet along with 2500 on the brownfield site of the former Kent International Airport. Then there is Option 2

This option retains Manston as a brownfield site as currently there isn't a DCO in progress as it was withdrawn as failing to meet the requirements for a NSIP, but moves the housing to Birchington 1600, Westgate 2000, WX/Haine Road 1200 more ad other village sites.

TDC officers believe that there are risks in choosing this option primarily because there is no report on Manston written since 2014 that shows aviation being viable.
Since 2014 there have been 2 TDC reports about aviation and one TDC report about the finances of Riveroak. There has been a KCC report on viability, and 2 viability reports commissioned by Stone Hill Park the owners of the land. Here is a summary of them

For those with the perseverance here are the reports summarised in more detail

The first is the HM Government report into choosing increased capacity in the South of England and in which (despite the previous owners Infratil submitting a report) Manston effectively gets kicked into the long grass. The red is NNF's comments.

Then comes the Falcon report which said in summary that Manston would not be viable under any circumstance during the period 2014-2031 and during the period of consultation the airport closed with the loss of 144 jobs.

Next Riveroak tried to convince the administration (under Labour) to let them become a CPO partner and despite much handwringing TDC refused, The MP for North Thanet demanded Price Waterhouse Cooper conduct an examination of the process and despite some criticism of TDC found Riveroak to be unsuitable as a CPO partner

Kent County Council, who had paid out much tax revenue during the period 1998-2010 final washed their hands of Manston in March 2015 with this summary
In May of 2015 the local elections were dominated by the support for Manston with various parties saying "vote for me and we will reopen the airport" however many of the electorate being sceptical of politicians promises decided to give Chris Wells and the UKIP party and they duly swept to power.
Once hit by the reality of governing they realised that Riveroak were very poor and proving they were actually viable so Chris took the plunge and started the whole process again including a TDC sponsored report from Avia on the viability of aviation at Manston.

Because of the sensitive nature of the report from Avia the UKIP administration decided to ask for public responses and when these were received Avia were asked to produce a final assessment which was published in 2017
Riveroak had by this time decided to forego the CPO route and to use the more demanding DCO route and to argue that reopening Manston would be a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) and had commissioned Dr Sally Dixon to "prove" Manston was viable. This was done in a series of consultation exercises and reports however TDC can only use reports they themselves have commissioned. This means Sally Dixon's work cannot be used and neither can the following reports 2x SHP and one by No Night Flights as posted below.


Bob Bayford and the Tory party should by rights only be making decisions on Land Use based on evidence however it appears that "But Airport" votes seem to be the deciding factor as on the 2nd July 2018 Cabinet endorsed Option 2. This will probably lead to the Ministry at examination finding the Local plan as unsafe.

York Aviation

Altitude Aviation's critique of Azimuth

And last but not least from the executive summary "No Room for Late Arrivals"