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Future of Manston Airport in Ramsgate to be discussed at Westminster today

The future of Manston Airport will be under the spotlight at Westminster today when MPs take evidence from both its new owners and those who want it to be kept open.

Members of the transport select committee will also hear from the leader of Thanet council Iris Johnston and Kent County Council leader Cllr Paul Carter.

MP Sir Roger Gale, Thanet North MP and representatives of the Save Manston Airport Group are also due to attend.

Manston airport

Manston airport

Representatives of the American consortium RiverOak, which has been pressing to become a partner with Thanet council in a joint CPO, will also attend.

Today’s inquiry forms part of a wider examination by the select committee into the role of regional airports in improving transport connectivity in the region.

Although the select committee has no powers to directly intervene, supporters hope that the hearing will give them another chance to present a case for retaining Manston as an airport.

Members of the Save Manston Airport campaign group

Members of the Save Manston Airport campaign group

Following the decision by the previous owner Ann Gloag to close the airport last May, the site was sold on to regeneration specialists Trevor Cartner and Chris Musgrave.

The pair are part of the Discovery Park consortium responsible for developing the Pfizer site in Sandwich.

They say they have no ambition to run the site as an airport but have set out plans for a mixed use scheme which they claim will create more than 4,000 jobs.

North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale at Manston Airport

North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale at Manston Airport

Thanet council’s ruling Labour administration recently decided not to pursue a Compulsory Purchase Order in partnership with RiverOak, saying it was not viable.

That decision has been disputed by RiverOak, who have offered to meet all the costs of any CPO.

Our political editor Paul Francis will be covering today’s meeting from 4pm. Follow him on Twitter @PaulOnPolitics.

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