Saturday, 27 February 2016

Manston Airport DCO, CPO update.

Once again I don’t think it matters which side of the fence or fences you sit on with this one, with all of the information it is difficult to keep up with what’s happening.

As I imagine most of you know the American firm RiverOak and TDC tried to reach a position where TDC would use the CPO process to buy the airport site at Manston so that RiverOak could then run it as an airfreight hub.

What eventually happened was that RiverOak were unable to meet the criteria that the council wanted and so RiverOak were dropped by TDC as an indemnity partner (firm that finances a council to do something).

The next stage as far as RiverOak were concerned was to start the process using the UK government instead of the council that could eventually lead to RiverOak acquiring the airport site via a CPO, this process is called a DCO and the CPO would eventually become part of the DCO.  

The prayer for the DCO published on the UK government’s website at is:-

“About this project

The upgrade and reopening of Manston Airport primarily as a cargo airport, with some passenger services, with a capacity of at least 12,000 air cargo movements per year.”

About three weeks ago I published what the government’s planning inspectorate have said so far about the project on this blog, here is the link, if you haven’t already read it

Yesterday RiverOak published an update on their website:-

“RiverOak Investments update – 26 February 2016

The RiverOak Investments senior team met with key officials of the Department for Transport (DfT) in London on Tuesday morning and, separately, met with the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol, for a second occasion, on Tuesday afternoon to discuss our intended Development Consent Order (DCO) application in respect of Manston Airport.

In addition, RiverOak is pleased to announce that it has completed the selection of its professional advisory teams for the DCO process. We will be working with internationally recognised professionals in the fields of airport master planning, town planning, environmental impact, valuation, financial accountancy and audit.

These firms will be supported by the UK’s leading legal specialists in the field of Development Consent Orders, by an aviation industry-recognised team of researchers and statisticians and by leading public affairs and public relations consultancies.
Full details of these consultancies and their senior advisors will be published in the coming days.”

Here is the link to their news website

For the first time RiverOak have put this press release up in an interactive form, where you can leave comments, see

There is comment moderation and so far no comments have appeared, I left a comment there yesterday, asking if comments there form part of the statutory DCO consultation process, my comment and their response haven’t appeared yet.

TDC’s response to the breakdown of the CPO with RiverOak as an indemnity partner has resulted in TDC seeking a a new indemnity partner.

Here is the latest from TDC :-

“The council recently carried out a soft market testing exercise to seek interest in becoming an indemnity partner for the compulsory acquisition of Manston Airport.

A Prior Information Notice (PIN) calling for expressions of interest was published in the Office Journal of the European Union (OJEU) on Friday 15 January.

Parties had until Tuesday 9 February to register their interest. A total of five expressions of interest were received by this deadline.

The interested parties then had until Friday 12 February to submit responses to a follow up questionnaire. These questions were posed to operators in the market to establish the extent of their interest, capacity and capability. A total of three valid submissions were received.

The findings of this exercise are to be reported to Cabinet.”

My own thoughts on this one still go along the lines of I don’t think an airfreight hub will cut the mustard in terms of viable commercial location and environmental compliance.

I also think the CPO compensation, which isn’t based on the value of the airport as a business, like the last sale was, but is based on an independent land valuation i.e. 700 acres of brownfield in southeast England, would be too high to make viable as a business, given that the money would be sourced from investors in RiverOak.     

This time instead of using old pictures of Manston to illustrate the post I have used a couple of pictures of some of the aviation books in my bookshop today, the photos should expand if clicked on and then clicked on again after they have expanded once, you may even be able to read some of the titles.

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