East Kent needs a functioning airport at Manston, warns MP

Manston Airport has been a running sore in east Kent politics for years

Manston Airport should remain a strategic freight and passenger facility, says North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale.

The Conservative this week welcomed a proposal by the RiverOak Strategic Partners consortium to acquire the airport from its current owners.

Having closed in 2014, the airport is owned by Ann Gloag, a co-founder of Stagecoach, and plans have been mooted for 4,000 homes on the former RAF base.

RiverOak has resubmitted an application to force Gloag to hand over the site under a Development Consent Order.

Sir Roger said: “I hold to the view that Manston Airport is, in the national as well as the local interest, needed as a strategic freight and passenger facility serving the south-east.

North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale

“This re-submission underscores the importance of the necessary changes made to the draft Local Plan to honour undertakings given to the electorate and to protect the airfield from alternative development.

“The UK has a desperate shortage of air freight capacity and only Manston can offer the length of runway and supporting facilities needed to provide for the business that is currently haemorrhaging from Britain to mainland European airports.”

Supporters of the airport say it is necessary to support freight carriers who are struggling to be accommodated at Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted.

However, the airport owners – known as Stone Hill Park – believe RiverOak will not succeed in its attempt to force them to relinquish Manston.

Their applications for homes plus some business use is currently with planners at Thanet District Council. They say it will deliver much-needed housing and employment opportunities as well as leisure facilities and an aviation history centre.

Thanet Council is currently preparing to vote on its draft Local Plan, the document which is key to determining the fate of the airport.

In 2015, the authority became the first ever Ukip-controlled council, but is now under no overall control.


  1. Sir Roger Gale and Craig Mackinlay. are standing in the way of progress, Manston has been closed for four years, having had three failed operators and going 100 million in debt. What they want to do is run freight so aircraft will fly day and night that will be the only way they can compete and reach the figures they quote, if they get their way thousands of residents will lose their right to a nights sleep, their quality of life, air pollution will increase, schools will have lessons interrupted, property values fall, and roads blocked with lorries. The owners of Manston have a far better plan for the old airfield, leisure facilities wave making machine swimming pool jobs and apprenticeship’s for our young people plus the desperately needed housing that will not take up farmers green fields


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