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KCC slammed in Transport Select Committee’s Manston airport…

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The Transport Select Committee report said KCC held responsibility for aviation in the county

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KENT County Council’s reaction to the closure of Manston airport has been slammed by the Transport Select Committee’s report on smaller airports.

Released this morning (Friday), the report criticised KCC for a lack of action, despite passing a motion to support Thanet council in efforts to retain the airport and holding responsibility for aviation in the county.

The report stated: “Kent County Council has the legal and financial resources to assess complex CPO cases.

“Despite having agreed a motion to support Thanet District Council, it failed to deploy those assets.

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“In failing to support Thanet District Council’s scrutiny of the proposed CPO at Manston, Kent County Council also failed to fulfil its strategic oversight function as the local transport authority.”

The select committee suggested by intervening in the situation, the Department for Transport showed: “the extent to which Kent County Council failed to fulfil its strategic oversight role.”

Findings welcomed Thanet council leader Iris Johnston’s commitment to due diligence, but questioned whether a district council had the funds, legal or financial expertise to handle the case.

The report also concluded, despite her minority shareholding in Lothian Shelf 718, the company which owns the site, Stagecoach bus tycoon Ann Gloag still holds equal decision making power with majority shareholders Trevor Cartner and Chris Musgrave.

The committee advised: “Ann Gloag places the joint venture agreement between herself, Chris Musgrave and Trevor Cartner to redevelop Manston in the public domain to make it clear who would benefit from the proposed redevelopment of Manston and to repudiate allegations of asset-stripping.”

The committee agreed there was no case for the government to purchase airport, but the Department for Transport should review what powers it has to intervene in cases where strategic transport assets are at risk.

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