Monday, 18 September 2017

Penguin in Ramsgate Harbour, Manston DCO minor update,

Says on this one,“Penguin” yacht belonging to the artist-author, Donald Maxwell, who wrote and illustrated “Unknown Kent”, “A Detective in Kent”, and many other books. He was in this port owing to damage in a gale, and had been hauled up on the slipway at Moses’ shipbuilding yard, the last craft to use it.

With Manston it seems that there are various truths, in the case of this Ellington Park photo the plane was horizontal and the tree leaning but adjusting the photo seemed appropriate.

I have been badgering on about the snags of opening a freight hub, mostly those related to air pollution, so time for an update.

Manston DCO update
Back in mid July we had a consultation about turning the old Manston Airport site into a major airfreight hub.
At the moment the site is owned by a company called Stonehill Park, this is essentially the same people who bought the old Pfizer site when Pfizer were going to pull out and close. This was a success story which even meant that Pfizer kept a small part of their operation going there, a lot of other companies moved there too and at the moment Discovery Park, which is what they called this enterprise, is the main site for employment locally.
Stonehill Park have submitted plans for a mixed use development, this means industrial units and housing, as is usual with large developments this will include doctor’s surgery and schools. Here is a link to their website
The outline planning application has been submitted and you can view it by copying the application ref is OL/TH/16/0550 and putting it in the TDC planning website search box, here is the link to it
The people who want to turn the site into an airfreight hub, obviously don’t own the site and Stonehill Park don’t want to sell it.
The people who want to turn the site into an airfreight hub have been various permutations of a property investment firm called RiverOak.
This started out with an American RiverOak they tried to buy the site from previous owners and were turned down, they subsequently tried to get TDC to buy the site using a compulsory purchase order but were turned down.
During all of this RiverOak changed to a UK branch of the American company and has now become RSP RiverOak Strategic Partners
At the moment they are trying to get the Department for Transport to buy the for them using a thing called a Development Consent Order, DCO.
This is the DCO remit on the Department for Transport’s website:-
“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.”
New Information
Things have been pretty quiet since mid July, but now documents have started to appear on the Department for Transport’s website, I would guess because everyone involved is back from their holidays.

The consultation attracted around 2,000 responses and the DfT have published their summery of their first meeting with RiverOak since the consultation, here is the link
I think one issue here will be whether the consultation was done properly and if it will have to be done again.
What were the old main issues, aircraft noise and water drainage seem to be being addressed by the statutory bodies.
RiverOak say they will submit the application by Christmas.
There is a letter from Save Manston Airport Association which says that they were happy with the consultation process which so many people complained about, here is the link:-
It’s a bit hard to follow what their point is here and as a lot of the issues I had were to do with the applicant’s website not working properly, something the RiverOak accepted and does leave one wondering whether Save Manston Airport Association were happy with it because they didn’t actually try to use it.
Then there is my follow-up which is mostly related to the particulate air pollution issue.
Since I wrote this there has been a new study published in the proceedings of The National Academy of Science give a relationship between measurable pollution levels and the number of years it will knock of people's lives. 10 micrograms per cubic meter of particulate matter pollution reduces life expectancy by 0.6 years.

There is also an increasing body of research pointing to particulate air pollution as one of the main causes of dementia. 

So I have tried and am still trying to get RiverOak to look at mitigating the air pollution associated with an airfreight hub, it’s a case of writing to them and getting no reply, see

Now we are coming close to being able to tell just how much having an airfreight hub at Manston would knock of off local people’s lives, i.e how much earlier people living in the Thanet towns will die if the freight hub is built than if it isn’t.  

I have added the following to help understand the housing and employment issue 

The Thanet employment figures for April - March 2017 i.e. latest published. So does this mean we would need 50% more of everything, schools, hospitals, housing, or if there are 50% more people in employment, Economically Active† 65,000 74.3 80.8 78.0
In Employment† 63,000 71.9 77.7 74.2
Employees† 47,300 54.2 65.2 63.2
Self Employed† 15,700 17.6 12.1 10.6

Unemployed (Model-Based)§ 3,700 5.5 3.8 4.7

Work wise in the bookshop today, here is what went out

After work my walk didn’t go quite to plan, I got up onto the clifftop in front of Wellington Crescent and considered the coast of France, which you can see, but I can’t photograph that well, this was followed by what felt like rain coming on, 
 not sure how much these will expand or what you can see of France
 oh well

Anyway I took a few pictures of the ships at sea and the firemen at The Bench then scurried off back home snapping Destiny’s knitted poppies on the way, here is the link to the photos  

Oh what happened? I thought rain was imminent and in the end it didn't rain, so I feel a bit wosisname.


  1. Michael, Just a quick point of fact. You state that Manston Aerodrome is owned by 'Stone Hill Park'. However, the Parliamentary Select Committee on Transport disagrees with you. The committee concluded on evidence that Manston Aerodrome is owned by Ann Gloag who retains sole control of the site

  2. Hi Michael, your post focuses on how an increase in air traffic may affect the health of local people but what of the health of those who are unemployed and their families. Currently Thanet has the highest rate of unemployment (by a couple of % points) in the whole of Kent. Those without work and on low incomes. Have the worst diets. Use medical services more than the rest and have far lower expectations (That will probably filter down through their children) than the rest of the community. Is it right to completely ignore different parts of our community? Shouldn't we consider all. As we move towards a decision on whether a Freight Hub bringing jobs, many of them skilled and the knock-on affect that those jobs will have on the greater community. Before we write off this opportunity. It's a new project on an old site. Along with the technical improvements the local community can argue for assurances on flight times and types of planes used. Which will no doubt be far easier than trying to control the noise and other damage to ourselves and the surrounding area, that the alternative scheme,1000's of additional new houses lived in by people who have to commute many miles away to find work would bring?

  3. Ah well John I suppose Parliamentary Select comities have more resources than I do, any chance of a link to the information?

    1. Michael, You can find it via the save manston airport site. I used to have the link but after watching the hearing three times I no longer have it.

    2. Michael, You are a frequent visitor to the SMA site and I find it difficult to accept that you have never watched the select committee hearing. I suspect that you are dissembling, again.

    3. Sorry John, another fail on my front, you have to appreciate I have 3 children in full time education and a business to run, so watching videos of meetings is mostly something I just don't have time for.

    4. Michael, I take your point. But the busy life with which you excuse yourself does not seem to preclude you from commenting regardless.

    5. John I think the ordinary Companies House check is good enough for me, this says that it is a local company with directors that have a pervious good track record locally which has resulted in a large quantity of jobs locally.

      If you are suggesting that there is anything wrong or dodgy about this company, then I can’t find it.

      The important issue, unless you have investments in either RSP or SP, which I doubt, is the balance between likely improved local employment with resultant higher local standard of living against the environmental downside which usually goes with wealth producing activity.

      It’s neither your fault nor mine that since Manston Airport closed there has been a considerable change in the way particulates from jet and diesel engines are viewed and the results quantifying the mortality rate associated with this are appearing in the public domain on a weekly basis.

      The latest results from various studies that haven’t got into the public domain yet are showing a link between dementia and particulates. This interest me as I really wasn’t aware of dementia being a significant problem when I was a child in the 50s and 60s and have been wondering why it seems to be such a problem now. Do you think this is the case too?

  4. Spanner like all of these things it’s a balance between the jobs you would get if it doesn’t happen and those you would get if it does, combined with the life expectancy increase from the prosperity against the decrease from the pollution. The alternate scheme is a mixed use development which does have housing for those employed on the new site. The RSP plans are saying there will eventually be huge amount of jobs many times the number of unemployed in Thanet but with nowhere for the employees to live.

    On the health front, rough calculations based on the latest research would suggest the greatest concentration of particulates would be south Broadstairs perhaps reducing life expectancy in the order of four years and tapering off each side meaning perhaps only 6 month or a year in some parts of Thanet, but basically killing many times more people than the 2,700 out of work.

    Of course the science is relatively new and related to the existing levels of particulates which are probably knocking a few months of our lives anyway, which cancels the other way against additional life expectancy from the generated prosperity.

    The fundamental problem though is the massive volume of fuel burnt at a major airfreight hub means best practice is not to have a lot of people living within about 10 miles upwind of it.

  5. So if I have got this right Stone Hill Park Limited own the Manston site (their web site says so).
    Directors Cartner and Musgrave have the majority holding in SHP limited, again their web site says so.
    At the select committee on the 2nd Feb 2015 at 16.36 the third director in SHP limited, Pauline Bradley was questioned and stated that there is a charge on the company to Anne Cloag via one of her companies but she has no financial control over SHP limited.
    So should SHP limited fail as a company the land would revert back to Anne Cloag.
    From a development point of view I guess investors would be reassured by the presence of a person with deep pocked being involved in SHP.
    But at the end of the day as far as the DCO is concerned its immaterial who ultimately owns the site if a compulsory purchase is granted.
    Link to the select committee video, its a bit of a long one so may not work.

    1. I think you have, or at least as much as anyone can understand the reality of company ownership which usually has something that looks dodgey to those who don't and trawl the companies house website adding 2 and 2 with a result of 5. Tax haven companies based in countries, or even American states with a history of being bases for money laundering are another matter.

    2. Michael, You have just told me that you are too busy with family life and your shop to study these company matters. Yet here you are commenting regardless.

    3. Cranforduk, I do not know whether or not you have as you say got this right. However, I am confident that the Parliamentary Select Committee have got this right. I will be guided by them.

    4. You've got it right, cranforduk. In the same way we consider ourselves as home-owners, even though the building society has a call on the property if things go wrong.

    5. Jimmy Beaumont, I get the impression that you have not actually seen the recording of the Parliamentary Select Committee which investigated the true ownership of Manston Aerodrome. The committee disagrees with you.


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