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Transport Select Committee set to hear evidence on Manston…

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Evidence on the closure of Manston airport will be heard by select committee members this afternoon

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THE Transport Select Committee will hear evidence relating to the closer of Manston airport later today.

Airport owners, politicians and campaigners will all speak at the hearing, which forms part of a wider inquiry into the role of smaller airports.

The session, held at Portcullis House, will begin at 4.05pm, with evidence from witnesses including Manston Skyport director Pauline Bradley and RiverOak Investment partner Tony Freudmann.

At 4.50pm, the committee will hear from Kent County Council leader Paul Carter, Thanet council leader Iris Johnston and North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale.

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Finally, at 5.35pm, evidence will be given by representatives from campaign groups Save Manston Airport, Why Not Manston and No Night Flights.

Stagecoach bus tycoon Ann Gloag closed Manston last May, axing 150 workers in the process. The airport had been losing a reported £10,000 per day.

Current owners, Discover Park chiefs Chris Musgrave and Trevor Cartner, acquired a majority stake in the site in September.

Mr Musgrave and Mr Cartner are planning to oversee a £1 billion redevelopment of the former airport, with the aim of providing 4,000 jobs across a mixed use development.

American firm RiverOak Investment has proposed reopening the airport as a cargo hub, with additional facilities for maintenance and aircraft recycling services at the site.

Following a protracted process investigating whether RiverOak was a suitable indemnity partner for a compulsory purchase of the site, a Thanet council report concluded in December the company lacked “appropriate financial status” to operate an airport.

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