Thanet Star

Who can we trust on Manston?

Taking off Jet

Labour said they were all in favour of Manston but when it came right down to it their head was quickly turned by the offers of income from the house builders who currently hold the land. Then UKIP came in with big promises only to do exactly the same thing and betray the one thing they promised.

UKIP's attempts to do what they said seemed to have been limited to a half-hearted report (and failing to pay their own council tax) followed them by giving up entirely.

On the other hand, the Lib-Dems have been consistent. In fact, South Thanet candidate for the Liberal Democrats, Russ Timpson, seems to have done more work on his own than the entire UKIP led TDC.

After claiming that the TDC report on Manston was narrow and blinkered Lib-Dem Russ Timpson called a public meeting to prove how Manston can be a viable aviation site.

Not long after that meeting, UKIP broke their only real election promise.

UKIP had claimed that they were the only ones that could get Manston up and running. Instead, UKIP quickly showed that they had no idea what they were doing. Rather than fight for what they promised, they gave in and edited the local plan to line up with what their new chums, Stone Hill Park, want.

This raises the question - were UKIP ever serious about supporting Manston. Or were UKIP always going to betray their promise and support non-viable houses for which there is insufficient water supply?

What about the Conservatives?

Not so very long ago, most of Thanet UKIP's inner circle were all local Conservative party members (Tories). News on the grapevine is that UKIP and Conservative plan to throw their lot in together in the hope of securing equal shares of Thanet's KCC seats. Which means either UKIP plan to give the Tories their seats without a fight or they are both realise they do not stand much of a chance alone.

Can we trust the Tories to deliver on Manston? Sir Gale MP might fight the good fight when he has the time but locally Thanet's conservatives are not "all that". Aside from throwing in with UKIP to try and save their hides, they also had their last TDC leader sent to prison for corrution.

If you can trust the blues after that, you are braver than I.

That pretty much leaves Green and Liberal Democrats.

Greens have largely been anti-airport on environmental grounds but don't have any answers to what Manston could safely be used for. There is not enough local water to supply all those houses. If we see house building at Manston, we could all possibly pay the price with a local water shortage.

Tory, Labour, UKIP, and Green have all told us to trust that they have a plan. Yet not one of them has had a clue how to make it happen. On the other hand, Russ Timpson and the Liberal Democrats have been clear they have been working the problem. While there is no final plan yet, Lib-Dems have worked tirelessly to actually look at the facts. Something the other parties seem unable to do.

The Lib-Dems have been consistent in that they have never backed one particular option but have always said that they want to see Manston used for aviation. Ideally, without any night time flights. Indeed, many of the options that they have put forward would include very few actual flights at all - training, aircraft recycling, technology hub, and Space Program.

Manston as a Space Hub?

Could Manston launch us into space?

Space Program? Yes, I know. That might seem fanciful but Manston's airport was one of the few emergency runways for the US Space Shuttle. Plans are afoot for the UK to build a commercial Space Hub. Serious grant money is up for grabs for a short amount of time. Russ Timpson proposed that Thanet enjoy that grant money. All UKIP did with the idea is say the right things and then forget about it.

UKIP's inaction, not to mention the failure in this of Thanet's two Tory MPs, means that Thanet is not even in the running at this time. Only Thanet's Liberal Democrats had the vision to see this opportunity. If only we had listened to them...

We could have had the best technology hub in the country. We could have had jobs. We could have had investment. We could have had an airport without night flights. We could miss out because Thanet's political right seems to lack the balls to make a Space Port happen.

Liberal Democrats have a long history of being right even when that was a deeply unpopular thing to do. Thanet, I think could do with some politicians that are right for a change.

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Public Comments

This Helpful Normal comment was left by Dave [score: 2]:

Since you are standing in the KCC elections you must make it clear by adding the imprint when publishing material such as this whether in print or online. But I am sure as a candidate you know the lection rules.
03/04/2017 19:37:58

This Normal comment was left by David Walsh [score: 0]:

Save Manston Groups won the 2015 election by voting McKinley in as MP, and UKIP in as the elected council. That was the best option to have representation at national level and local level. Election financial scandals had no real effect on the outcome of the election; the will of the people required that Manston should be returned as a working airport (freight, passenger or spaceport to be decided). It was a reaction against KCC and Paul Carter funding the owners (?) of Manston, and their plans for landbanking until everybody got fed up of campaigning. Luckily this did not happen, When something is so right, then it is worth fighting for. But for many who predicted that the issue would be dropped by politicians and kicked into the long grass, as is usually the case, it was time to wait. For those living outside Thanet, it was a time to say that we still support those fighting for the airport, but we cannot fully commit to the process, because local support is more important than best wishes from strangers. Now that Dover District Council have come out in favour of retention of the airport, and there are still discussions to unite Dover, Thanet and Canterbury councils, I believe it is possible for a united East Kent to attract a greater say in bringing back Manston as a competitive freight handling airport, Funding and influence and determining our future will be easier together, despite the funding of London Heathrow's runway, and their intention to compete on air freight. . ..
04/04/2017 12:26:51

This Normal comment was left by Jacqui Ansell [score: 0]:

Wrong geograpical location for either a spaceport or a profitable airport therefore anyone who tells you otherwise has their own personal motivation (and not the wealth and health of Thanet residents at heart). The value in the brownfield site lies in development for housing. Whoever gets their hands on it the outcome will be the same.
05/04/2017 13:12:29

This Informative Normal comment was left by Thanet Moll [score: 3]:

Manston Airport WILL reopen as a freight hub because it is a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project, desperately needed in the UK and especially in the South East.

Cargo firms are fed up with being pushed further and further back in the queue at all of London's airports. RiverOak have stayed with Manston Airport since before it shut and have openly stated recently that they have many big-name aviation investor waiting for the green light from the government. They are still very much in the picture, as the recent Public Inquiry at TDC proved.

As a private equity company, they are used to working quietly in the background until they are ready. Lots of reports to finish before satisfying Stage 1 of any Development Consent Order (DCO) process.

Don't give up hope. Manston Airport IS Returning!
05/04/2017 13:13:28

This Normal comment was left by Dave [score: 0]:

Thanet Moll you are behind the times. Riveroak have sold out their interest in Manston to a company who's main backer are in Belize. So your arguments regarding them working in the background are null and void as far as Manston is concerned. Maybe the price and risk was too much for them. You may care to find out for yourself what kind of financial regeme operates in that country.
05/04/2017 19:24:45
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