Gale`s New Year View Thanet 2013 – Thursday 27th December 2012
The future of improved rail links to Thanet, of Manston Airport, and Arlington House, and Dreamland, are all in the balance and very likely to be determined during the course of this coming year.
I have made no secret of my belief that a genuinely High Speed rail link to Thanet is vital to the economic development and the realisation of the job-creating potential of Manston Airport, is essential. Without this vital transport link it is likely that any regeneration will take a very great deal longer and might falter completely and, of course, a fast rail service would be a huge asset in the marketing of the Discovery Business Park that my colleague Laura Sandys has worked so hard to promote.
The launch, in April, of the promised KLM service between Manston and Schiphol airport is promising and could give our airport the shot in the arm that it needs but that task would be made immeasurably easier were we to be able to offer a sub-one-hour service between Thanet and London and the prospect of attracting other aviation business and of seeing aircraft actually based at Manston would be within reach.
This, like the refurbishment of Arlington Tower and the Square and Dreamland, requires a degree of political will and determination on the part of the District Council. While not all of the cards are in the hands of the local authority it is possible for TDC to either send out a can do” message or, alternatively, to offer a negative not wanted here” signal or, almost worse, indecision.
Investors and developers need a clear sense of direction and purpose. I believe that, on the back of so much that has been achieved as a result of the opening of the Turner Contemporary, a positive future for Margate and the surrounding area is within reach for the first time for very many years. By the end of 2013 we shall know, I think, whether the opportunities on offer have been seized with both hands or whether the pass has been sold. Time for all with an interest in the future of the Island to set aside petty differences, to put an end to the tail wagging of the dog and to pull together.