Sunday, 23 March 2014

Sunday ramble, Manston Airport, Blind Faith and other closures

I guess before I get going on this one I had better state my position on Manston, there are several years of blog posts to back this one up, see http://thanetonline.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Manston%20Airport

My take is that the best option would have been a fairly small regional airport with a high emphasis on historic aircraft, in retrospect with running losses at the moment of around £10,000 per day I can see this wouldn’t really be viable.

My take on the night flights business has always been that any night time flying allowance would have to relate to the amount of daytime activity and handing the airport the same night flying allowance as a major hub airport was never on.

There is always business that no one else wants, live animal exports being a case in point at the moment, and if you produce a situation where you open the way for what no one else wants without insisting you also get attractive business, it is very easy to wind up exclusively serving unattractive business.

The recent KLM business seemed to be founded mostly on avoiding uk airport taxes, which isn’t necessarily the best way forward for Thanet.

So now we face the situation where Manston Airport is most likely to close within a month or so and I guess the way to go with this one is to do anything that will benefit the local area.

I don’t think there is anything much that government could do to stop an unprofitable business from closing down.

Now although Manston looks green, in terms of future development it counts as a brownfield site, this means that there will be considerable limitations on what government could do to prevent or control development there.

Another aspect is that Manston is on the water abstraction source protection zone, which makes it more expensive for business development there.

Another closure which happens today is AMF Bowling in Margate, something I find particularly concerting as This is a leisure business in a town where the councils are doing all they can to expand leisure.

I also gather Edinburgh Woollen Mill in Margate is closing. 

I am wondering if in terms of what local government can do the focus should be more on supporting what is viable and taking a more realistic approach to what is inherently doomed to failure.

The desire to be a transport hub, both with Manston airport and Port Ramsgate does seem to be related to a long term failure to accept the geography of the area.

One of my family injured their ankle recently so was on crutches for a while and when I asked how this was going, the answer I got was, no real problems apart from Ramsgate town centre where the pavements are dreadfully uneven and the incidence of dog poo very high.

This seems to be at odds with Ramsgate really being the last remaining market and shopping town in Thanet. Perhaps the owners of Westwood Cross have been lobbying the council. Perhaps this explains the town centre rubbish collection on market day and the pavements in the town centre being much worse than they are in the residential parts of the town.  


We are now one month on from the council’s decision to terminate the Pleasurama development agreement, which involved them going down the road of them presenting the developer with a definite schedule of works that the developer had to comply with or open the council’s position to terminate the agreement for non-compliance.

I don’t know how this is going, but there has been no activity on the site, so obviously the developer hasn’t done anything to show their intent to do anything with the site. 

A bit more research on drinking water in Ramsgate before Ramsgate had a waterworks possibly around 1880.

“TR 3764 NW Ramsgate SOUTHWOOD ROAD Water Tower of Ramsgate Water Works. Water tower Erected 1881, Stevenson + Valon, engineers. Red brick and terracotta with cast iron water tank 80 feet by 50, 60 feet high.”


The water is held in the Thanet aquifer (underground reservoir in the porous chalk) by the surrounding seawater, the water back about as far as St George’s church is brackish and not drinkable. So I guess before a piped water supply the drinking water was taken from wells and distributed by horse drawn water cart.  

I know I have read an article in Bygone Kent magazine on the water wells in King Street but it doesn't seem to appear in the index, the issue number would do as I have a full set. 

I will ramble on here.

     

35 comments:

  1. The Council gave permission less than a year ago for change of use of the AMF building to Class A1 retail. For those interested (and able to use UK Planning) the reference is 12/0882.

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    1. James I don’t think that application was for any specific retail use, just the property owner Great Arm Properties opening up wider options for re letting the site

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    2. Sounds like regeneration in Margate is very weak. What's happening with Pleasurama as it's almost a month since the lease lapsed?

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  2. Still awaiting word when civil engineer type person to be appointed. As a schedule cannot be drawn up until this person is appointed I do not understand how serious the officers are in determining this agreement.

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  3. At what point will those who backed Manston, and told us it had great prospects, admit that they were wrong? I think that a memorial stone, should be sited in the centre of the redundant airfield, and engraved: "Coppock's Folly." Perhaps we could use some of the pillars from Pleasurama to construct the folly?

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    1. At what point will someone who's anti-Manston post under their own name?

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    2. Anon or not on Manston why does that matter? The question was when will the pro-Manston lot admit they were wrong? EUJet, Infratil and Gloag have all gone bust. Along with a dozen of airlines there. the Gazette is right to describe it as Betrayal by our councillors.

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    3. OK anon, 8:51pm, What do you see as the future for Manston?

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    4. Manston is a brownfield site. It needs to be marketed as such. The key problem with doing this is that TDC never discussed or agreed on a plan 'B', although this question was raised when they were preparing the local development plan. Plan 'B' would have to set out what kind of development would be acceptable if the airport were not to prove viable. As usual TDC has made a bad mistake in not including a plan 'B' because the airfield's owners will be in a strong position to seek permission for housing, by pointing out that there is nothing in the development plan about an alternative to the airport.

      Unfortunately, as the airfield remains in private hands, what will and will not be done there is not something the council can fully control.

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  4. The Music shop in Broadstairs has gone, along with the Dolls House shop and the photo shop in the High Street is closing. This follows closely on the demise of the big furniture shop and the coffee shop that was once war games and sci-fic is now a greengrocer. Can anything survive long term in the graveyard that Thanet has become. If its new, protest against it, if its been around a while stop supporting it. That way there is always plenty to whinge about.

    Perhaps old Timmy has got a point when he keeps uttering 'TIME FOR CHANGE.'

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    1. There's ALWAYS been shops changing what they're selling, always will be. As long as they don't remain closed then I don't see what the problem is.

      Great to see a new greengocers opening, same happened in Birchington last year (think yourself lucky, there's NO greengocers in Margate!).

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    2. Thanet is looking like a pensioners graveyard - or at least the waiting room. Clive and Bob etc have completely failed.

      From Westwood Cross to Manston to Pfizer to Dreamland to the Port, everything they touched has turned to dog poo and one decade at least has been lost.

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    3. Westwood Cross is thriving, Dreamland is reopening, Pfizer isn't in Thanet.

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    4. Be interested in whether the funding is there for opening DL so far not much has happened. what the word on the street with this Peter?

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    5. WC has destroyed the Thanet town centres (and isn't fully let), Dreamland is derelict and no plans for reopening and Pfizer isn't in Thanet by about 5 metres and has lost over half its jobs. You're deliberately talking nonsense Peter.

      And Manston and the Port and EKO and Chinagate raise serious questions over KCC and TDC's handling of regeneration, apart from there not being any.

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    6. I see that our resident anon has emerged from the rancid deep and is orgasmic with schadenfreude.

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    7. Time for me to take another break from this blog until Michael sees sense again.

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  5. oh yes it is it belongs to Mr Gales constitution

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  6. Michael, Here is a chance for a needed debate on the future of Manston. But that cannot happen while the anon is switched on. He drives everyone away, which is his aim.

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    1. John granted poor old anon can’t see any further than looking for some sort of recrimination, while agreeing with you that the next stage isn’t to try and get those like myself who supported Manston to say that they shouldn’t have done so, but to look for solutions to a huge local brownfield site, do you have any ideas?

      Frankly with a privately owned brownfield site I don’t really know if there is much that the public or the public sector could do to influence what use it is put to, do you?

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    2. Holyer has done far more than anyone to reduce this blog to his petty insults and repeat posts... Nobody was playing any blame game as far as I can see other than refuting the rather ridiculous claims even now from Holyer etc that Manston is a success.

      While those who did support Manston can hardly claim their views have much to offer or are credible. They couldn't have been more wrong repeatedly. This blog should be left to Holyer talking to himself and Michael going in circles.

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    3. Michael, pse see anon at 9:42. I see little point in discussion while this anon is allowed to roam free on here.

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    4. If Manston ceases to remain an airport, of whatever type, Military, civilian or whatever, then that will be a sad day for all of us who respect its history. it was from Manston that six Swordfish aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm departed in February 1942, in a snow storm, to attack the Scharnhorst, the Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen, in what was known as the Channel Dash. Only three men out of eighteen survived and a posthumous VC was awarded to Lieutenant Commander Esmonde for his heroic leadership.

      Over the years we have seen The USAF and their Sabre squadrons, Battle of Britain days with fantastic air displays, V bombers, Concorde, A380 air bus and much more besides.

      Hawkinge has a very fine and comprehensive museum but the airfield is no more, though of course it was only a small airfield compared to Manston. I would hate to think of Manston becoming just another housing estate and something more fitting should organised, though at the end of the day it's all about money.

      On a final note, if all that the plague known as anon can do is whinge at those who support Manston, then perhaps he, or she, might like to offer some intelligent comment to the debate.

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  7. Bemused of Birchington,

    I'm with you all the way on this.

    We have no need more housing estates.

    If not an airport then I would like Manston to kept as an open space, possibly a Country Park, if sponsorship can be found. It could support a flying school for gliders and light aircraft. The museum could stay and expand, similarly the cafes and restaurants. There is room for a skateboard course and the like.

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  8. I think you will find its comments like "On a final note, if all that the plague known as anon" that drive people away from blogs. What a disgraceful way to describe all the different people that comment under Anon. Its not just one person and its very easy for anybody to set up an assumed name which is still anonymous.

    Thanet has 3,500 social housing dwelling and 8,500 on its waiting list so if you think Thanet needs no more social housing then you are ok Jack.
    I cant see the current owners of Manston not wanting to make a healthy profit so whatever scheme to provide the likes of open spaces and skate parks will only happen if substantial housing is allowed.
    I cant image that the owners will try to copy EKO and the likes and provide even more unused business premises.

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  9. Well said 11:33 this bog is in danger of becoming just for downmarket pensioners whining about Manston in the 1950's and why is it not like that anymore. Profit is less of an issue at Manston as the site only cost £1. Gloag will be want to be rid of it and certainly the cleanup costs. TDC should buy it for £1 - as with Dreamland - and protect the aquifer. Quite frankly the less they do with it the better as they only mess things up.

    Neither houses nor business premises projects are needed or have succeeded in decades. And an airport has proven disastrous. Or it could be left derelict like the Hoverport, Port etc.

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  10. Er, did I say I was against more housing? I think not, just not at Manston. There is so much more that can be done with the site than plonk down more houses. And as for driving people away from blogs, I can choose what newspaper to read, and if I wanted to drive people away from blogs then why should my comments be any less pointed than anyone else's in case I might drive someone away. It doesn't seem to have worked for you anon at 11:50 am. And I think you may find that there is one particular anon in this theme who is the anon at 9.42 to whom I was referring. And of course by having an identity, albeit a pseudonym, by using it I can be challenged much more easily across the blog world.

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  11. Michael, you have oft complained about the lack of engagement on blogs by councillors, but is it surprising when you allow that well known Ramsgate anonymous to hold forth. Like Peter and John, I am out of here until he is banned.

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    1. William,

      Here, here.

      Michael, You have let in 'HIM' (11:50). That's it for me. There is little point in discussion while he is allowed to rant free.

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    2. The blog's looking up.

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    3. What you really mean, Anon 6:28, is that the blog is now the preserve of the fruit and nut party.

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  12. Does anyone know if the Manston radar and meteo systems are separate entities that could carry on working even if the airport is closed?

    Are they financed separately or does the airport have to provide these services to be able to operate?

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  13. Bad news for Tim! http://www.kentonline.co.uk/thanet_extra/news/buyer-comes-forward-as-manston-14667

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  14. Oh Lordy! Mama Air all over again? In the words of Cuba Gooding - "Show me the money!"

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