News: Anger about private meeting
From Kent Live:
Campaigners who want the Manston airport site to be returned to aviation use intend to rally at a Thanet council meeting tonight.
Members of the planning committee are due to discuss an appeal against a council decision to refuse change of use permission for one building and non-determination on applications for a further three buildings at the airport site.
Lothian Shelf (718) Ltd has launched the appeal for:
- Non-determination of an application for temporary change of use of Building 1 (referred to by the LPA as Building South of Terminal 1 (Hanger 1)
- Refusal of an application for the proposed change of use of Building 2 (referred to by the LPA as Building 870)
- Non-determination of an application for change of use of Building 3 (referred to by the LPA as Manston Airport Cargo Centre & Responding Vehicle Point)
- Non-determination of an application for change of use Building 4
No press or public
Members of the Save Manston Airport association (SMAa) are angry that the committee is being advised to vote to exclude the press and public from the discussion.
Chairman Beau Webber said: “The suspicion is that the committee is going to be asked to reverse its previous decision, at which a large proportion of the Councillors spoke in favour of retaining Manston Airport for Aviation, and at which the gallery was packed with Save Manston Airport association members, as well as other groups supporting Manston Airport for Aviation.
“Placing a meeting as significant as this beyond public scrutiny raises significant questions re the constitution of TDC, and the stated openness and transparentness that UKIP claimed would be the hallmark of their administration.”
North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale has also expressed his concern and told Conservative Party leader at TDC, Bob Bayford, that he would back a party vote against the exclusion.
American firm RiverOak, which hopes to gain the site through a Development Consent Order which is currently in the process of being applied for through the Government, has also written to TDC to ask for the meeting to be postponed and for the papers on the item to be made available.
The firm has sent a pre-action letter through lawyers Bircham Dyson Bell challenging the recommendation to withhold the report and planned discussion.
But Thanet council says the issue needs to be held in closed session because of ” Information relating to the financial or business affairs of a particular person and Information in respect of which a claim to legal professional privilege could be maintained in legal proceedings”.
An appeal hearing with the Planning Inspectorate was cancelled earlier this year.
The Planning Inspectorate has decided that the appeal will now proceed as a Public Inquiry with a date pencilled in for at 10:00 on 24 January 2017 for 4 days.