Conflicting plans for Manston

Manston airport

SHP and RSP have very different proposals for Kent’s former airport.

Manston airport in Kent is fresh in the mind for many. Last month, it made national headlines when the government tested using the site to hold lorries in preparation for the queues that some predict could stretch as far as 29 miles from the Port of Dover in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Few reading those reports will have known that rumbling in the background, there was another controversy surrounding Manston. The former RAF base turned hub for low-cost commercial flights to European destinations has been closed since May 2014.

The site – 800 acres of brownfield land close to the town of Manston – is a rare thing. So it comes as little surprise that it has become embroiled in a dispute between two companies eager to build very different schemes on it.

Stone Hill Park (SHP), the site’s owner, aims to build a development of the same name comprising up to 4,000 homes, a business park and sports and leisure facilities.

Meanwhile, RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP), a Connecticut-based company, has submitted a development consent order (DCO) to the Planning Inspectorate in a bid to force SHP to sell it the land and enable it to build an aviation-focused cargo hub.

So how are the plans progressing? And which project is likely to be delivered?

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