Manston Airport – Report A recipe for delay and
inaction” 29th July 2014
North Thanet`s MP, Sir Roger Gale, has this (Tuesday)
morning described as a recipe for delay and inaction” the report commissioned
by Thanet Council`s officers and relating to the future viability of Manston
It is not clear to me who the consultants spoke to or on
what basis they have reached, in a matter of days, conclusions that seem to
have been plucked out of the air.” Says Sir Roger.
Had they spoken to those of us who have studied Manston
over a period of time and in some detail they might have reached rather
different conclusions. As it is observations have been made that
are in some cases factually flawed and appear designed to give comfort to those
who want to kick Manston Airport into the long grass and deliver the housing
and industrial estates that the present owner and some local politicians appear
to want to achieve.
Manston already has very considerable and powerful political
support on a cross-party basis at national and local levels, has a commitment
to improved rail links funded by the taxpayer, already has motorway links that
appear to have been ignored, has massive local backing and has an operator
ready, willing and able to buy and operate Manston as a freight hub and
subsequent passenger airport.
References to the need for hundreds of millions of pounds
of investment” and a fifty-year business plan” smack of the views of those at County
and local level who wish to deter a Compulsory Purchase Order and suggestions
of discussion and negotiation with the present owner are, in the light of
experience, I think both naïve and risible.
The Planning Minister indicated to me in terms that
back-to-back” Compulsory Purchase agreements are both commonplace and legal
and I hope and expect that elected Thanet District Councillors, on both sides
of the chamber, will continue to show the robust courage that they have
demonstrated to date and, on Thursday, approve the pursuit of a Compulsory
Purchase Order so that we can take Manston forward into a future as the viable
airport that it ought and needs to be.”