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Science, Art, or just Crystal Balls?

Time for a bit of time travelling. Cast your mind forward, if you will, to a point in time a couple of years after the Olympics. Not the London Olympics, the next lot, in Rio de Janeiro. Whoosh... you're in the year 2018. It's hard to know what your life will be like then, or what the world around you will be like.

Any idea how much it will cost to fill up your car, or what you'll be filling it with? Or how many people will be living in your house? Or who will be running the country? As the marvellous Yogi Berra  put it: "It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future."

Manston’s Master Plan

Science, Art, or just Crystal Balls?

Time for a bit of time travelling. Cast your mind forward, if you will, to a point in time a couple of years after the Olympics. Not the London Olympics, the next lot, in Rio de Janeiro. Whoosh… you’re in the year 2018. It’s hard to know what your life will be like then, or what the world around you will be like.

Any idea how much it will cost to fill up your car, or what you’ll be filling it with? Or how many people will be living in your house? Or who will be running the country? As the marvellous Yogi Berra  put it: “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

Nonetheless, if you’re running a business, you’ve got to chance your arm and make some kind of predictions about the business world you’ll be operating in, and what you’ll be doing to ensure that you survive and thrive. Manston Airport is no exception – their current owners (Infratil) developed a Master Plan for just this purpose.

The first draft was published in October 2008, and “considered in detail” developments at the airport up to 2018. It also considered “to a lesser degree of detail” developments up to 2033. As we know from our recent adventure in time travel, forecasting this far ahead is bold, if not foolhardy.

The final version of the Master Plan was published in November 2009, and it is this version that underpins all Manston’s predictions about business growth. And this where the wheels start to come off.

A glance at the differences between the two versions shows what a hit and miss affair this Master Plan is. The two versions cover the same period, and just 13 months separate them.

A word that is often used to describe Manston’s Master Plan is “aspirational”. I think “make-believe” is more accurate. If you have a better description, please add it in the comments below.

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