Ahead of Tuesday’s (30th August) Overview & Scrutiny meeting at TDC’s Cecil Street HQ, those diligent public servants have released the lawyers’ letter that quashed discussion of night flights in Council in mid-July. This three-pager from solicitors firm Bevan Brittan (full text available here) sheds some welcome light on the consultation process, and explains why they think the motion crossed the fine line between predisposition and predetermination.
This is creeping into angels-on-pinheads territory, and the best thing to be said for the absurd and revolting predetermination rule is that it is about to be swept away and binned as an abject failure and an afront to democracy. However, until that happy day arrives, it’s still the law of the land and the majority party on the Council happily took the lawyers’ advice.
More interestingly, in the middle of this letter is a brief description of the consultation process. I must admit, I’m rather peeved that the most we’ve been told about the crucial consultation process regarding a decision that will affect the lives of tens of thousands of people has come by a circuitous route from a bunch of lawyers based in London, Birmingham and Bristol. When will TDC have the sense and decency to speak to us directly? It says:
“I also understand that a lengthy further consultation is planned around this which will include the issue of night flying and which consultation will go outside the boundaries of Thanet District Council to ensure that those who may be affected outside the District Council’s boundaries have an opportunity to give their views, and that this consultation process has been partly funded by contributions from other Authorities in the area and from Kent County Council.”
The two eye-catching bits of news in that are:
- “other Authorities” is plural, and
- the inclusion of KCC.
As you will see from the map, there are many District Councils (“Authorities”) in KCC’s area, but the two most directly affected by Manston’s plans are Thanet and Canterbury. So who, other than Canterbury, has chipped in for the consultation process? Concievably Dover (as they are represented on the airport Consultative Committee), but I don’t think any of the others can lay claim to a legitimiate interest.
Kent County Council’s involvement is entirely consistent with its eagerness to bulldoze ahead with any and all developments at Manston, as part of its over-arching strategy of making south Thanet into Kent’s industrial park.