Local newspapers (and their online editions) have been awash this week with the news of a surprise “new investor” interested in acquiring the Manston Airport site.
It emerged on Wednesday that an unnamed American logistics company had approached Thanet District Council (via a German intermediary) with a £100m plan to act as an indemnity partner for a compulsory purchase of the site. The news was that this company plans to base 12 planes at Manston.
Of interesting note is that this news was released by Chris Wells (TDC Leader) the day before the Kent County Council elections, for which he was standing in the Cliftonville seat (and which he ultimately lost to the Conservatives).
Thanet North Parliamentary candidate Sir Roger Gale, stalwart supporter of the campaign to return aviation to Manston Airport said of this new emergence:
“If there is indeed another serious player on the field then I would strongly advise that they make contact with me and, more importantly, that they seek to make common cause with RiverOak Strategic Partnership as the company that has already carried out the necessary Environmental Impact Assessment and has the Development Consent order process in hand.”
Chris Wells said:
“We have made it very clear from the beginning that providing an inward investor can show proof of funds, then we are duty-bound to work with them in the best interests of our residents”
Avid readers will remember that Chris Wells spent £50,000 of Thanet rate-payers’ cash on the Avia report, which when cross-examined by RSP’s legal team at the recent public inquiry into change of use of buildings at Manston Airport, was found to be deeply flawed. Despite Cllr Wells’ best attempts, it is no basis to use to permit the building of at least 2,500 houses on Manston Airport (in the removal of the Saved Policy protecting the Airport for aviation use only from the Local Plan).
We wait to see how this one pans out, and what more the local media has to report on it.