As you may be aware, there has been a vigorous campaign by the Save Manston group to buy the Manston Site. Not with their own money, obviously.
Many of us believe that plans for a compulsory purchase order (CPO) of the site will be costly in the short term – £80K already just to explore the legality of a CPO, and the cost of a viability study into the airport. Worse still, the whole process would be long and complex, and in the long-term could prove costlier and more dangerous.
Things are moving rapidly and with the American company River Oak throwing their hat into the ring as a prospective partner (in a back to back CPO agreement), it is looking like there will be a great deal of pressure put on councillors to go for some kind of initial deal with them. This could mean that River Oak, already offering their lawyers in lieu of the council seeking legal advice (dodgy?), could involve themselves in the proceedings. Potentially, we could see TDC simply rubber-stamping plans decided by others. At the very least, we need to act in order to slow down proceedings and ensure that it is our elected representatives who are making these decisions, and on the basis of independent and expert advice.
TDC are going to be making decisions – on 31st July – based on a viability study which firmly rejects the potential for Manston to be viable as a passenger operation and which opts instead for a cargo hub and ‘airport city’ model. This would inevitably bring back the whole issue of night flights and a huge amount of pressure will be brought to bear on councillors to offer open-ended guarantees about flying through the night. This is why the No Night Flights group still has an active interest in the Manston Site.
The viability study, of course, is more in the vein of ‘what can we do, at any cost, to keep Manston open as an airport’ rather than ‘is it worth keeping it open’. Councillors again need to be supported in ensuring that discussions in TDC recognise the difference.
What’s on the cards is ‘an airport city’ with associated factories, plants, parking etc in the heart of Thanet with old, noisy cargo planes overhead at all hours of the day and night. To date, the Labour Group have reiterated their anti-night flights stance but Sir Roger Gale, the local Conservative group, River Oak and, of course, the Save Manston Airport group are putting on huge amount of pressure to get them to back down from this and support ANY save Manston plans at whatever cost.
Cllr Iris Johnston believes that there are only a couple of dozen people that are against the plans for a CPO and/or saving Manston at any cost. We need to set the record straight on that score. This is the time to make your voices heard. Again.
2. Turn up to either/both important meetings this week:
- Ramsgate Town Council at the Custom House on Wednesday 30th July at 7pm; and
- Thanet District Council in Cecil Square on Thursday 31st July at 7pm.
Please speak to your friends and neighbours and get them to help.
It’s time to be generous with your common sense!
firstname.lastname@example.org – Madeline Homer (acting CEO of Thanet District Council)
email@example.com – Cllr Iris Johnston (Leader of Thanet District Council, Labour)
democracy.thanet.gov.uk/mgCommitteeMailingList.aspx?ID=151 – the rest of the TDC Cabinet
www.WriteToThem.com – All your elected representatives, from here to Brussels.
No Night Flights Committee