Town planners refuse to release details of rail proposal
Campaigners against Manston night flights were left fuming this week after county council officials refused to release details of their bid for a new train station at the airport. Opponents fear the £10 million proposal is part of ambitious plans by the airport’s owners to expand capacity and introduce night flights that would go directly over Herne Bay.
Rosalyn McIntyre, 49, of Beacon Hill, has written to national regulator the Information Commissioner in an attempt to force release of the proposal. Ms McIntyre, an independent member of Canterbury City Council’s standards committee, said:
“The council has said releasing the bid document would hurt the commercial interests of the bidder. But the bidder, Kent County Council, is a publicly-funded local authority. Under the Regional Growth Fund, which is where the money will come from, only KCC is in a position to apply for projects in Kent. What information provided to support a bid for public money that will be used to develop a railway station could be so secret?”
The authority insisted the information was commercially confidential because it related to a joint bid between KCC and the private sector. But Ms McIntyre blasted the response. She said:
“There has been no consultation about this bid and no democratic input whatsoever. It is extraordinary that KCC should be allowed to bid for a sum of this size without any democratic mandate.”
A new airline passenger service began at the airport on May 26. Domestic carrier Flybe is operating the new route from Manston to Belfast.
HB Times 2nd June 2011 Ed Targett ed.targett@KRNmedia.co.uk