Meeting: Manston’s aviation future

Manston airport campaigners plan to prove that the site has a viable aviation future at a public meeting next month.

Thanet Liberal Democrats have organised the event for February 4 at Margate’s Winter Gardens from 10am until 2pm.

Lib Dem member Russ Timpson says there are various “ambitious activities” that could take place at the former airfield and is keen to discuss the options while the consultation period for Thanet’s draft local plan is running.

The local plan – a blueprint for housing, business and infrastructure up to 2031 – suggests designating Manston airport for mixed use development – ending a caveat for aviation only.

A report to council Cabinet members last month said: “The site has the capacity to deliver at least 2,500 new dwellings, and up to 85,000sqm employment and leisure floorspace.”

An application for mixed use development of the site has been submitted by current owners Stone Hill Park. The proposal includes a business park focused on advanced manufacturing – including digital and emerging energy firms – up to 2,500 new homes, plus national sports and leisure facilities with about one-third of the site reserved for parkland and open space.

American firm RiverOak has alternative plans to retain aviation – including cargo business – and is in the process of submitting a Development Consent Order to the Government.

The homes would be part of 17,140 needed by 2031, although some 1555 dwellings have already been delivered.

Mr Timpson is hoping to persuade the public, and the council, the remove the mixed use plan for the site and concentrate on the aviation possibilities.

He said: “This technical meeting, supported by groups fighting to save the airport, will take place in the Winter Gardens (Queens Hall) Margate, from 10 am till 2 pm on Saturday 4 February 2017. It will be a platform for relevant subject experts to explain how Manston Aviation Hub could generate a viable business and revenue streams for Manston from cargo handling, aircraft recycling, pilot training and private flying, and a spaceport.

“Overall it will amount to a clear statement of the case for accepting that Manston can be a sustainable, viable aviation services hub, bringing employment and innovation to Thanet for many years, and making full use of a valuable existing asset.

The meeting has been organised by Thanet Liberal Democrats – but is in no way a political platform and there will not be any political speeches.”

Anyone who would like to attend can book a free ticket here.

Article taken from Kent Live (http://www.kentlive.news/this-public-meeting-aims-to-prove-how-manston-can-be-a-viable-aviation-site/story-30030291-detail/story.html)