Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Some old Thanet photos Manston DCO consultation 3 issues.and correspondence.

The photos should expand if you click on them
Two difficult do you know where in Thanet? photos

Margate performers at the end of WW1 apparently.

As blog followers will know I wrote to the Department for Transport the other day I think it important to understand here that this correspondence is not about whether I am for or against various uses for Manston but about the 3rd consultation process for the RSP DCO wosisname ticking the boxes so it is at least valid and not a waste of time for everyone concerned.

For anyone who doesn’t understand this, the old Manston Airport site is currently owned by the people who rescued the Pfizer site at Sandwich where 2,500 local people work. It is now the main site in the area for employment so is probably responsible for a lot of other local jobs. Their plan for the Manston site is basically a mixture of light industrial units, housing and leisure including a historic aviation leisure atraction that uses part of the old runway. 

Since before they bought it there has been a firm or firms called RiverOak or RSP trying to buy it, for some reason back when Manson was on the market the owners wouldn’t sell it to RiverOak. RiverOak say they want to use the site an airfreight hub I can't see how the figures for that would add up assuming they have to pay the compensation you would expect. Land compensation and property blight compensation.

Since the current owners bought the site RiverOak under various slightly different company names have tried to use various level of levels of government to get hold of the site using permutation of the compulsory purchase legislation.

The latest one is a thing called a Development Consent Order, DCO, a DCO has never been used for airport expansion although it looks as though the Heathrow third runway is further along this road as they have already put together their compensation scheme for people adversely affected by the noise and air pollution.

The key to a DCO is that it is a front loaded process, which means that the applicant is supposed to consult with the local community, hammer out any snags and present a workable package to the government.

So first here is the correspondence I sent to the government department (pins) now published on their website with their response

I got this as an email from which I replied to

From: []
Sent: 08 January 2018 14:23
Subject: Re: Manston Airport

Hi Richard
Since your reply on Friday the applicant has published their statement of community consultation and started sending out the paper notifications (see attachment) as per their statement.
I haven’t had time to look at your reply or their documents properly but wished you to note that.
1 The cards are being sent to all residents in Ramsgate population 40,000
2 They contain an invitation to a one day consultation event at a venue that holds about forty people.
2 The cards refer to additional environmental information on the RSP website but the PIER on the RSP website is the 2017 one and not the updated one.  
Obviously time is rapidly running out on this one, and while I do hope to have time to read the documents and respond to them, I thought it was important to alert you to obvious errors in the process. 
Best regards Michael

since publishing the big arrows and things appeared but as they are not in my editor but some I am having trouble removing them
This resulted in an email from RiverOak who were copied in to my email to pins

To michaelchild
CC ManstonAirport
Dear Mr Child

Thank you for your email.

Taking into consideration feedback from the consultation in June and July 2017, as well as dialogue with the local authority, we are sending postcards advertising the consultation to all properties within 3km of the airport boundary and also all properties in the towns of Ramsgate and Herne Bay. Both event venues were used during the previous consultation and we had over 400 people at the Ramsgate event. The venue has been carefully chosen as being in central Ramsgate and accessible by public transport and by wheelchair users.

The updated PEIR, along with the full suite of 2018 consultation documents will be available on the project website ( from the start of consultation on Friday 12th January.

Kind regards


RiverOak Strategic Partners

Manston Airport consultation team



I had heard that there had been no dialogue with TDC so wrote to them

On 10 January 2018 at 11:21, <> wrote:

Hi Iain

We seem to be back in RSP consultation time, third one if you count the non statutory and very time consuming in terms of ongoing crying wolf that you can’t ignore if you have an investment in the area. As I live in Ramsgate, have a business here and children in a good school here I obviously can’t.

I have looked at both the Statement of Community Consultation and the written notification that RSP are sending out (a copy of this should be attached if I remember at the end of writing this) and both documents seem to have been prepared without local community understanding and some sort of editing of errors.

The most basic issue is that they appear to be posting out for the first time to local residences where in excess of 40,000 live an invitation to a one day event at a venue that holds about 40 people.

The last time the held an event at this venue there was no postal notification and in the course of the day about 400 managed to attend, including me. With that many people the event was packed even using the outdoor area adjacent to the rooms (something I don’t think will work in winter) and frankly with half that number attending it would be difficult to engage in a meaningful dialogue.    

I think it is unreasonable to send out a postal invitation and expect less than 1% of the recipients to turn up.

The postal document (which I gather some people have already received) refers to documents which are not on the RSP website although similar documents relating to the 2017 consultation are and are not clearly labelled as such    

I also note that they are already having web publishing issues with the statement having been published and obviously not checked I have only tried it in Chrome which is the most popular browser used locally, but.

Page 1 the header template hasn’t been hidden properly

Page 2 is a blank template

Page 3 starts a third of the way down the page.

I don’t know if there is anything missing that should be in the blank bits, any ideas?

As this is a sort of virtual pdf with a very small and unlabelled download button on it I assume most people wouldn’t realise it only functions as more than a picture of the page if you download it.

And of course we are back where we were in terms of not just using a navigable and searchable html website for the consultation, that ordinary local people could use. I am assuming that we are back to huge files that the computers I use for publishing large and complicated local history books will have difficulty running consecutively.

Anyway the question is, as I believe that TDC are the main consultees to the format of the Statement of Community Consultation and the way the consultation engages with local people, what went wrong? What was the dialogue about this between RSP and TDC and and can you send me a copy with anything sensitive redacted?

I would have thought that the minimal information on the postal drop would need to explain that the lowest number of flights would be 10,000 with the possibility of night flights, so that local people would understand that this is an important issue.

There are bound to be noise and air pollution aspects that will effect, quality of life, life expectancy, productivity in local business and concentration issues in local schools. 
Best regards Michael

Who replied

 Iain *******

Dear Michael,

Thank you for the email. The Council's response to both Statements of Community Consultation can be found via the following link: on the right hand side of the page.

The Council will review all comments received about the adequacy of the consultation including your email to inform its formal response (the Adequacy of Consultation statement) which is part of the NSIP process.

Kind regards
Iain ******
And finally I sent this off to pins

To manstonairport
CC manston, g.yerrall *****@****

Hi DCO team at pins

I have now managed to peruse the Statement of Community Consultation more thoroughly and have written both to TDC and RSP expressing some of my concerns, which I have copied to pins.

So far in this 2018 consultation process, in terms of accessibility and in terms of RSP listening to previous feedback, replying to it in a meaningful way and acting on the issues my current concern is the accessibility of the information presented on their consultation website.

You will probably remember my concerns about this issue during the previous consultation and it would appear that the same type of problem is occurring already with the Statement of Community Consultation. I have only tried it in Chrome which is the most popular browser used locally, but.

Page 1 the header template hasn’t been hidden properly

Page 2 is a blank template

Page 3 starts a third of the way down the page.

I don’t know if there is anything missing that should be in the blank bits, do pins?

As this is a sort of virtual pdf with a very small and unlabelled download button on it I assume most people wouldn’t realise it only functions as more than a picture of the pages if you do download it.

This is a similar problem to the issues I highlighted previously and I am hoping that because of the front loaded nature of the DCO it will be possible to address this issue before the larger documents such as the 2018 revised PEIR are published.

Apart from pins, TDC and RSP is there anyone else I could contact in order to achieve a consultation website that ordinary local people can access using the equipment they are likely to have, smartphone, tablet or home desktop computer?

Obviously a group of huge pdf files will not be navigable, searchable or in any normal sense accessible on the internet for local people in any normal way that people would expect.

What is needed is an ordinary html website where large documents like the PEIR are presented in the form of a series of linked pages, small enough to open in a conventional browser, with a search form and an index presented as a series of links to the information contained within the PEIR.

Further to this there is the issue of publishing the pages so the conventional search engines like Google can find the content, so that it isn’t hidden from people using the internet locally, by this I mean that it just isn’t good enough to put information on the internet if no one can find it unless they know the title header or url of the document.

By way of example the airfreight hub proposed by RSP would generate noise pollution in Ramsgate and as the previous PEIR discusses this issue and has been online for some time, one would expect that putting, noise pollution in Ramsgate, into the Google search form would lead you to the information published on the internet by RSP.

This doesn’t in fact happen because of the way RSP have published the 2017 PEIR to the internet. They have in fact hidden the information in a way that you can only find it if you already know where it is hidden, I don’t think this is desirable when the information being available on the internet is stated as an aspect of the DCO process. 

Frankly any help with this one from pins would be helpful, RSP don’t appear to have link to their website designer on their website, which would normally be my first point of contact when reporting a broke webpage. 

Best regards Michael


  1. You do a good job elucidating the pollution and compensation issues. I have written myself about these in recent times in the Thanet Extra in similar vein as Simon Crow. However Still hoping the Airfield can be preserved - unfortunate that transpires as a competition between RSP and SHP that could determine its continued existence.I write as a homeowner close, to you in the Conservation area and as occasional customer who is obviously affected by the outcome as indeed a close relative in Nethercourt who maybe similarly affected.

  2. W F Berry Albert Street Ramsgate, F H Welch High Street Ramsgate

  3. The picture of the horses coming up the street which you didnt know where it was, the clue is on the right on the poster which says HER. its looks like a pub to me, and i found one used to be called Hertford, also make out part of tomas and wooten!!!! so the Hertford could only be in Hertford street, and this photo is taken in Albert st where it crosses Hertford st
    heres a link,1.415109,3a,75y,26.3h,87.66t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s5-COUZIXgavp7ES39kFAUQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656


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