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Lexis+ AI

BDB Pitmans secures future of Manston airport

BDB Pitmans secures future of Manston airport


BDB Pitmans successfully advised RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP) on securing the redevelopment of Manston Airport into a state-of-the-art air freight facility

Law firm BDB Pitmans has played a pivotal role in the long-term plans of RiverOak Strategic Partners to redevelop Manston Airport in Kent. After a seven-year planning battle, the Court of Appeal dismissed an application from a resident challenging the Development Consent Order (DCO), which was granted in 2022 by the Department for Transport. This decision allows RSP to proceed with their plans, which include 19 wide-body stands, four narrow-body stands, eight business aviation hangars, and three recycling hangars.

The DCO, initially granted in 2020, faced multiple challenges, including a redecision in 2022 and further legal scrutiny. Despite these hurdles, the project, which aims to reintroduce air freight services by 2027, is now set to move forward.

Angus Walker, a partner in BDB Pitmans’ Planning & Infrastructure team, has been advising RSP throughout this process. He remarked on the extensive timeline, emphasising the need for reform to expedite the delivery of essential infrastructure projects in the UK. "That it has taken seven years to reintroduce air freight to Manston is emblematic of the challenges facing infrastructure schemes in the UK," Walker stated. "Whilst the politics that surround infrastructure schemes cannot and should not be avoided, reform is needed to speed up their delivery given that they are so important to the economic future of the UK."

Tony Freudmann, a director at RSP, expressed confidence in the project's potential to boost the UK’s air freight capacity and provide a sustainable economic lift to East Kent. He extended thanks to Walker and the BDB Pitmans team for their guidance over the past seven years. "We have always remained confident in our proposals and unshaken in our belief that we can create something very special at Manston which delivers both important capacity for UK air freight – and a sustainable economic boost for East Kent," Freudmann said. "It is time to turn our plans into reality."

With the DCO firmly in place, work is expected to begin shortly, marking a significant milestone in the transformation of Manston Airport. The airport, which ceased freight operations in 2014, is set to become a crucial hub for air freight once again.

Lexis+ AI