Stone Hill Park, the owner of the former Manston Airport site in Thanet, Kent, UK, has unveiled a new masterplan for a mixed-used development that will see a number of homes and leisure facilities built on the land rather than the reopening of the airport.
The international airport closed in 2014 after ongoing financial difficulties, but a number of local campaign groups have urged Thanet District Council to purchase and reopen the airport through a compulsory purchase order (CPO). Stone Hill Park insists that the reopening of the airport is not a feasible business proposition.
Ray Mallon, spokesperson for Stone Hill Park, said, “The application outlines a carefully designed, mixed-use site that is sympathetic to existing settlements and preserves the heritage of the former Manston Airfield.
“The development will bring much needed jobs, homes, leisure and community facilities to East Kent, as well as a multi-million-pound boost to the local economy and local public bodies.
“The debate over the future of this site has caused confusion and, at times, distress for local people – as well as economic uncertainty for the area.
“Repeated studies and market testing exercises have shown that aviation is not feasible on this site. It’s now time for the council to focus on what is feasible and best for the future of this area.
“For the avoidance of any doubt, Stone Hill Park has been approached by one party that is exploring numerous possible infrastructure projects across the country and assessing which, if any, are feasible.
“I would describe them as credible speculators, exploring, with an open mind, the possibility of aviation use on the site. We have held one meeting with them during which the feasibility of an airport was discussed, along with our plans for mixed development of the site – plans that we have now submitted.
“I have no doubt that if this party commissions a feasibility study on this site, it will reach the same conclusion as all the previous reports, studies and market testing exercises – an airport is not a sustainable proposition,” concluded Mallon.