Two years after the airport closed, US investment business, RiverOak, began trying to get control of the site from its owners through the process known as a development consent order (DCO).
In documents it submitted to the Planning Inspectorate had RiverOak saying that it believed 18 flights or fewer per night would be an acceptable number for residents to handle. It stated that the airport could carry between 500,00-600,000 tonnes of air freight a year by 2035 which would equate to 10,000 – 20,000 flights annually.
As Ros McIntyre, long-time NNF committee member, said – “RiverOak is not planning to reinstate what was – instead the plan is for a massive increase in cargo traffic. Its plan is for the UK’s biggest dedicated cargo airport and a huge industrial estate on what is now undeveloped land. This will be a noisy, polluting, over-developed space that will do nothing for the heritage of the site, nothing for the environment and nothing for the future prosperity or quality of life of local residents.”
Martin O’Hara, another long-time NNF campaigner complained of the poor consultation events held by RiverOak in July.
“The favourite answer to residents’ questions seemed to be ‘we’re not at that point yet’.”