Stone Hill Park, Kent
Stone Hill Park was formed as a joint venture between Chris Musgrave, Trevor Cartner and Stagecoach co-founder Dame Ann Gloag OBE to advance proposals for a comprehensive redevelopment of the former Manston Airport site in Thanet.
The vision for the scheme was a new settlement that would transform the historic WWII airfield into a sustainable new community delivering much needed homes, jobs and training opportunities, aviation heritage attractions, a new country park and The East Kent Sports Village.
In May 2018 the second of two planning applications was submitted setting out proposals for up to 3,700 homes built over a 15-20 years period; 46,000 sq. m of advanced/hi-tech employment space; with a heritage airport for classic and vintage flights connected to a new museum quarter.
The proposals also featured schools, a 120-bed hotel, space for a higher education campus and a repurposing of the main runway as a recreational and community space.
Work on the scheme came against the backdrop of a campaign to re-open Manston Airport with RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP) seeking compulsory purchase of the site from Stone Hill Park in pursuit of alternative proposals for a dedicated cargo airport.
This resulted ultimately in an application by RSP for a Development Consent Order (DCO) in April 2018 to advance its cargo hub project, with the government expected to announce its decision in May 2020.
In July 2019 Stone Hill Park agreed terms with RSP for the sale of the Manston Airport site, setting in place strong covenants to protect its previous investment in the site. The sale resulted in SHP withdrawing its planning application.
As part of the deal, Stone Hill Park has retained a contract with the Department for Transport – part of the government’s contingency planning for cross-channel disruption – to manage the site as a holding area for lorries. This contract is due to expire on Dec 31 2020.