Kent airport make-over could involve major housing
The current owners of the former Manston Airport site close to Ramsgate in Kent have unveiled illustrative proposals for the 300-hectare site which involve a mix of residential and commercial space as well as extensive parkland.
The former RAF airfield has a 9,000-foot long runway and was the only facility in south-east England aside from Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports with a runway capable of handling the largest long-haul aircraft
The site is owned by a joint venture company whose main shareholders are regeneration specialists Trevor Cartner and Chris Musgrave as well as Ann Gloag, co-founder of the Stagecoach Group.
The joint venture claims its designs are based on the redevelopment of European airports like Flugfield Boblingen in Stuttgart and Tempelhof Airport in Berlin. The company has talked about creating thousands of jobs and hundreds of new homes.
Last year consultancy Indigo Planning submitted a report to Thanet District Council suggesting that around 1,000 new homes could be located on previously developed land immediately north of Manston airport (beyond the B2050 road) that is within the airport’s ownership but was surplus to its then operational requirements.
Considerable controversy surrounded the sale of the airfield last year and whether or not it should have been retained as an operational airfield. There was also public disquiet over an aborted move by the district council to compulsory purchase the site.
Two months ago the Department for Transport appointed a consultant to examine the decision-making process surrounding the fate of Manston airfield.
A recent report from the Commons Transport Committee was highly critical of the role of Kent County Council which the all-party group said failed to deploy its legal and financial resources adequately to support the district council CPO assessment.
The MPs also said the top tier authority had failed to fulfill its “strategic oversight function” in a case involving” a strategic transport asset”.