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Tag Archives: Regional Growth Fund

Council reveals unsuccessful bid to develop Manston services

It's like pulling teeth

Kent County Council has been forced to reveal details of its unsuccessful £10.8 million bid for Government money to develop services for Manston airport.  Campaigners, No Night Flights, challenged KCC's refusal to release details of the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) application.

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£600k airport ‘sweetener’

The government has been urged to offer a £600,000 "sweetener" to an unnamed commercial airline planning a new daily service from Manston airport, it has emerged.

The airport operator Infratil is in advanced confidential talks with an unidentified airline which has plans for a twice-daily service to an unnamed European destination from next April. Now it has been revealed Kent County Council and operators Infratil pressed for a taxpayers’ handout to underwrite the costs of the service for three years, according to documents released under the Freedom of Information Act.

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A closer look at that bid

The once-secret KCC funding bid

Bureaucracy being what it is, KCC and Infratil were obliged to spell out in detail the brazen cheek of their cash plea. Do please remember that Infratil is a New Zealand-based investment company, and that whatever profits it can (finally) squeeze out of this lemon of an airport will be going straight back to their antipodean investors, still smarting from years of multi-million pound losses.

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KCC’s empty begging bowl

In the middle of last year, the Government (in the form of the Department for Business Innovation and Skills - BIS) launched the Regional Growth Fund (RGF). The RGF aims to "support projects and programmes that lever private sector investment creating economic growth and sustainable employment. It aims particularly to help those areas and communities currently dependent on the public sector to make the transition to sustainable private sector-led growth and prosperity".

Across the length and breadth of our proud nation, there was a cacophony of snorts and oinks as snouts were pressed to the trough, greedy for their share of the £1.4 billion on offer. KCC was there, looking for a handout to support their crackpot proposal for a Parkway station at Manston, and some free money for the airport. Here's why they failed:

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Airport campaigner’s anger over ‘secret’ bid

Town planners refuse to release details of rail proposal

Campaigners against Manston night flights were left fuming this week after county council officials refused to release details of their bid for a new train station at the airport.

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Manston boss and KCC make bid to government for east Kent regeneration cash

The second RGF funding bid

Manston airport's chief executive has called on the Government to recognise east Kent's economic problems when allocating the next round of Regional Growth Fund cash. Charles Buchanan is working with Kent County Council to submit an improved bid after a previous application for £10 million was rejected by the team in charge of distributing the £1.4 billion pot.

The Manston bid was for a parkway railway station serving the airport, an extension of the high-speed rail network between Ramsgate and Ashford, and cash to fund a daily air service to an undisclosed "European hub" airport. But the application was dealt a further blow last week when Lord Michael Heseltine - chairman of the RGF inependent advisory panel - hinted at a roadshow in Margate that Kent bids were at a disadvantage because the county's residents can travel short distances to London for work.

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