Manston Airport – Leader`s letter
May 11th 2012
North Thanet`s MP, Sir Roger Gale, has described as “contradictory nonsense” a letter sent by the Leader of Thanet Council, Cllr Hart, to the Chief Executive of Manston, Charles Buchannan.
“This letter” says the MP “which has been widely circulated by TDC to the press, purports to support the development of Manston for commercial purposes. In fact, and Hart is of course well aware of this, the position taken by Thanet District Council at its Thursday meeting and the disingenuous nature of his letter, fly in the face of the recommendations of TDCs own commissioned report and pays no attention whatsoever to commercial reality. In pandering to the rump of his party and to a handful of motley “independent” councillors Hart is placing at risk the huge employment potential of one of our greatest available job-creating assets.
At the very moment when the Department for Transport is looking seriously at Manston for Olympic and post-Olympic potential development and is considering a further upgrade of the rail links between Manston and London Hart is effectively saying “We do not want this business”.
We all recognise the need to strike a balance between the environment and job-creating development but TDC is not seeking to strike that balance in any meaningful way based upon the evidence of their own report.
These statements tell me that this Thanet administration simply cannot be trusted either to reflect the truth of the report to its own electorate or to put the need for regeneration and job-creating development above partisan short-term populist headlines.
The Council not only has no “Plan B.” It does not have any plan at all and it is a tragedy that while the coalition government and KCC, working with East Kent`s MPs, are busting a gut to help to get the economy of East Kent moving in the right direction a bunch of political Luddites appear determined to undermine the effort that is being made in spite of them.
Even at this late stage I urge Hart to re-visit his own report, get around the table with those trying to take Thanet forward, put the party-political agenda of his administration to one side and start to negotiate a serious plan to enable not only Thanet but the UK to take advantage of an aviation asset that the Country simply cannot afford to squander or lose.”