Home ... NNF ... Manston ... Clive Hart, night flights and pre-election pledges

Here's a snippet from a recent interview with Clive Hart shortly after he managed to take leadership of the Council from Bob Bayford. The rest of the article, which you can read by clicking the link below, covers a wide range of topics of interest to Margate, Ramsgate and the rest of the Thanet.

This excerpt is about night flights, and is therefore of interest to a lot of North East Kent. I think Clive Hart is being overly cautious about the tricky question of predetermination, which is fine. What I am more concerned about is his apparent inability to deliver the whole of his party when it comes to a vote on night flights.

Clive Hart, night flights and pre-election pledges

Here’s a snippet from a recent interview with Clive Hart shortly after he managed to take leadership of the Council from Bob Bayford. The rest of the article, which you can read by clicking the link below, covers a wide range of topics of interest to Margate, Ramsgate and the rest of the Thanet.

This excerpt is about night flights, and is therefore of interest to a lot of North East Kent. I think Clive Hart is being overly cautious about the tricky question of predetermination, which is fine. What I am more concerned about is his apparent inability to deliver the whole of his party when it comes to a vote on night flights.


If Mr Hart is confident he can deliver all the pledges made by his group at May’s elections, there is one important exception – night flights from Manston airport.

Labour’s manifesto in May was clear. The party would oppose any scheduled flights after 11pm and before 7pm. This distinction to the Conservative’s policy, which promised their councillors a free vote on the controversial issue, was credited by Labour for ousting the Tories from Ramsgate seats – the town most affected by night flights – helping to produce the hung council.

Mr Hart is a little coy on the subject of the airport owner’s application for night flights, which has now been made to Thanet council.

He explains that to say his party will vote no to night flights could be construed as “prejudging” the issue if the application by Infratil becomes the subject of a planning application. This would disbar them from a vote.

“There is a caveat about the airport. There is the policy we stood on in May, but if the matter does become a planning application my members have to take every bit of evidence into account, like I do on all matters, I would have to weigh the pros of jobs, over cons of the environment.”

In reality, Ramsgate’s Labour councillors are highly unlikely to vote yes to night flights. Colleagues from parts of the district not under the flight paths could, however, if they felt that the airport’s promises of jobs outweigh the impact of the flights.

Might some of the electorate feel that this line is something of a U-turn, or at least a backtrack on May’s unequivocal “no to night flights” stance?

“They may,” says Mr Hart, smiling awkwardly.

Mr Hart says that the matter of night flights may not become a matter of a planning application and the district council is seeking legal advice on whether regular flights between 11pm and 7am would constitute an “intensification of use” or not.

Maidline Homer, director of community services, should have the answer to this question by the new year.

thisiskent 16th Dec 2011

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  1. Local Resident

    Well it looks like Deja-vu all over again, this time with Flybe! It is not fair on the Airline companies to keep being attracted to Manston under false pretences and promises from the previous and present airport owners which they cannot deliver on. Manston is just not economically feasible as anything more than a minor player, and no matter what promises are made, all airliners finally come to the reality of making a loss there is not good business, so pull out.Many have tried to make a go of it at Manston over the years and every single company has vacated within a few years of starting trading. There are better sited regional airports for passenger flights nearer the capital, and always will.The catchment area for Manston makes it a dead loss. It is too far and long in traveling time for anyone out of East Kent. The only trade viable is freight, which is not flight path resident friendly because of the old noisy and polluting planes they use. It is not socially acceptable to allow night flights for freight at most airports and would not be at Manston either. They must fill the day slots first in any case!

  2. local resident

    Like all sensible people I would welcome a large number of new jobs in Thanet. However I believe that the only reason for an application for night flights is to fly freight on old and noisy aircraft. Come on thanetians wake up! How many extra jobs will there be, not many I'm sure. We are being misled in this. Lets compare that to the loss of visitors to the area because of the noise at night.

  3. Maurice Byford

    Local businesses are not backing the plans, the Chamber have a weak business leader who is actively encouraging businesses to support the Manston expansion on the basis that it will create massive growth in the area.Which shows the complete ineptitude of the Chamber Business Leaders! Apparently they have yet to master basic reading skills and are apparently unable to intepret business plans!!With regard to whether or not this is going to happen, I am afraid that is still a strong likelihood. The mechanics as I understand it is that Manston already has the green light for night flights by previous council head nodding. There seem to be a number of legal loopholes and mistakes by the council which could be railroaded over if infratil feel the need to just go ahead.The duplicity of councillors should not be ignored either.

  4. M.S.LOCKWOOD

    Flybe has flown!! So back to the old tub thumping of the need for night flights!!So how many jobs have been lost because of Flybe flying off?? With the demise of Flybe there are now more day time slots available THEREFORE until all of these are filled there is ABSOLUTELY NO NEED FOR NIGHT FLIGHTS. Can Mr Buchanan say definitely how many jobs will be created instantly by night flights, can he publish these figures and the Job Spec's to go with them but more importantly will he guarantee these??? I think NOT. Manston is not in the job creation business but in business to make a profit!!!All these, so called, Business Leaders in Thanet should really take carefull stock of what they say. Thanet is all about the word TOURISM not about night flights these are not tourism. Come on you Business Leaders get BUSY get out there and consider all the other things this dismal failure of an airport can provide in the way of attractions such as a Centre Parks type, a Disney Land, Equestrian Centre, Go Karting, expand the private/ pleasure side of the airport for private light aicraft, helicopters, hot air ballooning (not the hot air of Mr Buchanan and certain councillors though!!) these are but a few suggestions there are many more.