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Manston is now a political football, and will be kicked around until Infratil take their ball home.

Cllr Bayford, who was Leader of the Council when both of Manston's night flying proposals were received, is now indulging in the time-honoured political tradition of finger-pointing, name-calling and blame-shifting.

Tit for tat at TDC

Manston is now a political football, and will be kicked around until Infratil take their ball home.

Cllr Bayford, who was Leader of the Council when both of Manston’s night flying proposals were received, is now indulging in the time-honoured political tradition of finger-pointing, name-calling and blame-shifting.

The Conservative group at Thanet District Council have long been percieved as friends of the airport, but even they balked at the truly awful proposal submitted in 2010. When the 2011 proposal came in, they commissioned yet another consultancy to analyse and report on it – this is the recently released Parsons Brinckerhoff report.

The oversight and monitoring of Manston by TDC has been pitiful. TDC’s non-renewal of the S106 through the years has been a woeful dereliction of duty. This has been happening under both Red and Blue administrations.

There are no heroes in this story – blame can be splashed in every direction. Conservative and Labour members (AND Officers, let us not forget) are all culpable. I’m not interested in who is to blame. I don’t even want them to say sorry. I want them to DO sorry – clean up the mess, do it right, and do it now.


Manston Airport – Open Letter from Bob Bayford

Leader Clive Hart’s latest press release concerning consultation on Infratil’s night-time flying policy is simply breathtaking in its distance from the truth.

He claims that I had created ‘a monster of a process’, clearly ignoring the fact that the approach to consultation was determined by an in-house group of officers together with myself and (Labour) Councillor Mike Harrison, the then chair of the Airport Working Party. A draft process was then taken to that working party, where members made their contribution before final agreement. Hardly my process!

During the formative stages, a number of principles were established, with Cllr Harrison’s full agreement. Amongst these were:-

  1. That the substantive consultation had to be carried out by an independent, well-respected organisation. This was to remove any suggestion of TDC bias in the results.
  2. That any reports produced by the airport in support of their proposals would be subjected to a rigorous ‘peer review’ to establish their veracity.
  3. That the consultation should be ‘zoned’ to ensure that weighting was afforded to those most affected by night-time flying but that opinion had to be sought from not only the rest of Thanet but also those other residents and businesses in Kent who had an interest in Manston’s expansion. To facilitate this wider consultation, KCC were contributing £40,000 towards the cost and Canterbury City Council £5000.
  4. That getting the consultation right was more important than rushing to a conclusion.

As far as I am aware, these principles were all endorsed by the working party.

The timing of the consultation was always going to be determined by when the airport submitted its policy proposal and the subsequent submission of noise impact and economic impact reports. The peer review of the latter was published on 23rd of January, which clears the way for public consultation.

The only money spent by TDC to date is the cost of the peer reviews. In my opinion, whatever the future may hold with regard to Manston, it was vital that any reports produced for the airport should have been subjected to expert, independent scrutiny, to inform the Council’s stance on the airport’s activities.

I am frankly surprised by the present leader’s stance on this issue. On the one hand, he suggests that there is no need for the Council to consult but then proposes a half-baked consultation, guaranteed to produce a biased outcome.

Whether the Council can, at this stage, make any binding decisions on the airport is irrelevant. TDC has a civic leadership responsibility to have a view on the airport’s expansion and operational ambitions. It is a topic that elicits strong opinions on both sides of the argument. The eventual fate of the airport will have economic and environmental consequences for many. TDC must give a lead, having considered the public’s views and Infratil’s proposals.

Bob Bayford

Leader, TDC Conservative Group

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No comments

  1. Maurice Byford

    Lets face it, they are all incompetent.

  2. What has happened to the Bureau Veritas review, which appears to have been swept under the carpet and ignored because it was not favorable towards night fligts. Has the report ever been published?

  3. You can see the whole Bureau Veritas report at:http://www.scribd.com/collections/2767531/Bureau-Veritas

  4. I really feel night flights from Manston would be very unhealthy for the residents of the village of Minster and surrounding aeas. I have experienced and still do the after affects of being awakened during the night many times by the door of the apartment block where I live. I was almost suicidal over this, and I certainly would not want anyone else to suffer what I suffered and still do.Yvonne Chapman