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Minister John Hayes announces review over Manston Airport

The government is to appoint a consultant to review the decisions taken so far about the future of Manston Airport.

Transport Minister John Hayes made the announcement during a visit to the airport site today.

Mr Hayes said: “I recognise the strong interest in keeping Manston Airport open which is why the government is leaving no stone unturned in the battle to secure its future.

Transport minister John Hayes

Transport minister John Hayes

“Today I can confirm my department will appoint a well-established consultant to review the process so far on decisions about the airport’s future.

“While it is down to Thanet District Council ultimately to agree a deal, the government is doing everything possible to support them in finding a way forward.

Thanet District Council considered a Compulsory Purchase Order on the site but has been unable to agree a suitable indemnity partner.

The Department for Transport will now commission an independent consultant to review the process on its behalf.

An invitation to tender for the work will be issued tomorrow. 

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

The Manston Airport terminal building

The Manston Airport terminal building

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.

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

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

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