Thursday, 15 May 2014

Ann Gloag and the closure of Manston airport, Thanet District Council elects Iris Johnston as leader and a few other ramblings about toady’s events.


While on the one hand I have sympathy for those who have lost their jobs at Manston Airport or because of the closure, I am becoming increasing concerned about some of the internet comment directed towards the new owner Ann Gloag who is the owner of a very large brownfield site in Thanet.

Now I am fairly certain that a lot of the people who have said things because of the airport closure are very keen on aviation but don’t actually live here in Thanet.

I should like to make it clear that having engaged in a considerable amount of research relating to this issue I have formed the impression that Ann Gloag is a respectable and responsible businesswoman who has always acted within the law and who makes large donations to charity. 

I have considerable reservations about the RiverOak offer I have tried very hard to find any verifiable connection between RiverOak and aviation and have come to the conclusion that RiverOak have experience in funding housing, private medical centres and shopping malls in America.

I have however discovered some of the same people were involved in something similar, see http://www.bo.de/wirtschaft/wirtschaft-regional/die-grossen-unbekannten Tony Freudmann, Sanjeev Joshi and Daryn Soards also come up as names in this story http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-27411419

Had a bit of flack in my bookshop today from people who said they couldn't understand the German website linked above I had assumed that everyone who couldn't read Geman would use an online automatic translation site like https://translate.google.com
  
My take here is that if Ann Gloag intends to build Gloagsville at Manston then we want here on our side and to develop the Manston site in a way that is most beneficial to the whole of Thanet.
 
I will ramble on here while keeping an eye on unfolding events at TDC

Update video of meeting 



This should help you keep an eye on the council meeting to elect a new leader at TDC




71 comments:

  1. A "press area for bloggers"? There is a deal of difference between a journalist with years of training and someone who merely wants to tap out a few words to share with their chums.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh I see - that would make it easier to pick them out 7:45

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a sad sad day for Thanet.

    Still, Ramsgate will have some musty old tunnels to remember our WW1 & WW2 heroes by, so who needs a thriving airport eh?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Peter I assume you followed the links in the post and read the two articles, so as a supporter of the offer for Manston, what do you make of them when viewed together. For example do you think the offers should have been accepted? Do you think Roger Gale and Co should have checked things out better?

      Delete
    2. Yes to question 1, no to question 2.

      Delete
    3. I deleted the comment below becauuuuse it looked silly there dangling on its own!

      I was just wondering Michael, would having just light aircraft using the runway need the same level of infrastructure that was/is there to support it?

      Delete
    4. never was any intention of accepting any offers always was her intention to close it and new planning chair & vice chair will be her puppets when it comes to the housing votes for planning, the first 900 or so application will be in very soon if not already in the post

      Delete
    5. They should rebuild / reopen Ramsgate Airport.

      Delete
    6. SG I think the main thing that scuppered Manston was people trying to have something too big with vast expenses, the business rates on the airport were around half a million per year. Now I think the time to consolidate the aviation activates there into something smaller and more viable is over. The bankruptcies at Manston date back into the 60s as does the government funding. As I said now is the time to try and get the best out of future development.

      9.28 so you read the articles too I assume, do you think the offer was viable?

      Peter I have added a picture to the post for you.

      Delete
    7. From now on I'm 100% Tory as far as Thanet politics go... as Tory as you are Labour Michael!

      Delete
    8. Well Peter I have already said that I am voting Conservative in EU elections as the only Thanet candidate if MEP is Conservative and she seems pretty good to me, I haven’t made my mind up about the parliamentary and TDC elections yet, but will probably vote Labour in the parliamentarys unless anyone better than Will is fielded in Thanet South.

      Delete
    9. Is the new / old chair of planning not the same person who chaired the Manston Action Group?

      Delete
    10. Manston gone and Mayor gibson and cllr Moores - what a marvellous start to the weekend!

      Why did Gibson resign 6 weeks ago but then wait to vote for the labour leader? And why is Moores hanging on for another 12 months? Thanet politicians seem to resign and then take another role or cling on as long as possible for the cash.

      Still, at least we may get rid of Macgonigal now.

      Delete
    11. Anon sorry to spoil your weekend but no one has gone and no one has resigned as a councillor apart from possibly in your imagination

      Delete
  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think you are rather regarding Ann Gloag through rose tinted specs if you think she gives a tad for local opinion or is anyway negotiable over what her plans are for Manston. She came on the scene towards the end of last year making purring noises about developing the airfield's potential, clearly just to keep the staff on board in the short term, but in just five months announced her intention to close it while, behind the scenes she had been in meetings with Hart over building houses. Even to her most ardent admirer it must be blatantly obvious that asset stripping was the plan from the outset.

    In the last couple of months we have seen that the weight of local public opinion has been behind keeping the airport open. Our politicians from district, county and parliamentary level have been approaching her with that object in mind, but has it made any difference. No, not in the slightest, so what makes you think she would consider public opinion now? All this lady will listen to is those requirements of an infrastructure type necessary to get her plans approved. Matters not to her that some people accuse her of commercial vandalism because she is about making money, not winning friends. Oh, and do spare us the 'gives to charity bit' for so did Max Gifford and Gary Barlow. It is all part of the game.

    As for your opinion of the offer, does it matter. If Ann Gloag was genuinely open to offers it would not matter a toss to her whether the prospective buyer had experience at running airfields or a viable business plan. She simply had other plans and her latest excuse for turning down an offer she had intimated she would accept, that most of the staff had other jobs to go to, has been exposed as a blatant lie by Unite.

    Sadly, the airfield has gone and what happens next is down to Ann Gloag, not you or I. If you doubt it, tell me, just what has public opinion achieved over Pleasurama, TEF, animal exports or the Royal Pavilion? Things just go on regardless of what we do or say and my gut feeling is that most of us in Thanet are going to sadly lament the passing of Manston as an airfield.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The airport hasn't gone yet, it's just closed. The campaign continues, led by Sir Roger Gale and Laura Sandys. Watch that space...

      Delete
    2. Hope you are right, Peter, but the signs are not good if the present owner will simply not consider offers. The added problem now is that any buyer would incur considerable costs bringing it back up to CAA standards of staffing whilst generating no income. Then they have to entice back the customers who have moved away and that might not prove easy.

      Delete
    3. The noisiest people of late are the ones who support the airport. The silent majority who are fed up with the false hope and promises are now glad to see the back of the airport.

      I think the eastenders actor summed up the whole sorry affair by saying "I have no idea where we are" when he emergency landed yesterday. Exactly the same thoughts of manston as the millions of passengers who travelled from every other airport in the south east over the last 15 years

      Delete
    4. Yet not ONE of you "majority" are prepared to stand up at meetings or use your own name on the internet... and that's because you're just a very tiny minority! I've many friends, family and colleagues who live in Ramsgate, and every one of them wants the airport to stay.

      Delete
    5. I did post back in October that this could well be start of an asset stripping process William http://thanetonline.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/manston-airport-bought-by-ann-gloag.html however I think a major issue here is that any new owner of Manston takes over liabilities as well as assets.

      My feelings are that Infratil where looking for a new owner for their UK airports who would give them a clean break from an unprofitable part of their business which was becoming an embarrassment difficult to explain to their shareholders.

      In the end they sold one airport for £1 to the Scottish government and the other for £1 to Ann Gloag, I think it just possible that they may have rejected some better offers and I guess that you may wish to ponder why.

      Anyway William you have been involved politics for a while and presumably you followed both of the links in the post above, so what do you make of the two articles taken together?

      Delete
    6. Peter, Rogers track record in getting a parkway station at manston or only trying to find a buyer AFTER it's been sold AFTER it's been on the market doesn't fill me with confidence, but you know best.

      After all , your support of the airport must have meant you were a regular face on the KLM flights?

      Delete
    7. No, but I bought plenty of produce from the cargo planes! I haven't even left this country in nearly a decade, but if I did I would've flown from Manston or got the ferry from Ramsgate...

      And what about you Mr Cowardly-Anonymous?

      Delete
    8. I've flown 50+ times in the last few years, all from other airports. I buy locally grown produce where possible, uk grown otherwise. I specifically look out for thanet earth produce.

      That supports local jobs and keeps air travel taxes in the uk.

      Delete
    9. I've yet to find Thanet Earth bananas and oranges.

      Delete
    10. Indeed, though it's surely just a matter of time.

      Perhaps thanet earth could expand and build greenhouses on the widest runway in the country. That would be a good use for it, no?

      Delete
    11. Only if they reopen Ramsgate Airport... or extend Maypole!

      Delete
    12. Peter, why do you always claim majority support? You did with Tesco (on which I do agree with you) and now with Manston (on which I don't), not that my opinion matters any more than yours. A straw poll of like-minded family and friends is hardly scientific. I could claim the vast majority think you make far too many comments. Yes, I am another cowardly anon - but not a fat one.

      Delete
    13. Michael, the two articles are irrelevant to my earlier comments which centre around Ann Gloag's intentions. If you were selling your bookshop and somebody offered you the price you wanted, would you really be concerned about their previous business experience. As long as you got your money, and you would not give up possession until you did, nothing else matters.

      This is asset stripping and the desires of the people of Thanet do not come into the frame, either on keeping it as an airport or as to its future development.

      Interesting how our local Labour party, having refuted suggestions that their negativity towards the airport has contributed to its demise, has fallen apart at the seams now that demise has come about. Be interesting to see how Iris manages to hold things together for the last year of this administration though I rather think no one else will be pushing too hard to take on the leadership before the next election. Almost better to fight that one as opposition than as the encumbent.

      Delete
    14. Meanwhile, Thanet Flying School have announced that they will continue... from Lydd!

      Labour in Thanet are finished for the forseeable future. Bring back Sandy!

      Delete
    15. Same thing really William if I sold this business I would have future liabilities as well as assets and frankly I wouldn’t sell to someone who appeared to have a track record that was different from what they said.

      I really don’t think that it would be possible to finance and restructure a major American air freight hub without the American media becoming aware and there being some mention of this on the internet.

      Conversely when I researched the three names that had been involved, well you can see what came up.

      Peter I assume that when Infratil offered Prestwick to the Scottish government for £1 they offered Manston to the UK government for £1 also, and if I remember rightly they are mostly Conservative.

      Delete
    16. Michael, if you seriously believe Ann Gloag turned down River Oaks offer over her concerns about possible future liabilities falling back on her rather than her intention from the outset, to make heavy bucks out of asset stripping our airport, you are far more gullible than I suspected. There is also no way of knowing whether Infratil offered the airfields to either the Scottish or Westminster parliaments for £1 or whether the approach was the other way round, but why spoil the chance for another dig at the Conservatives.

      Do think about it though for a moment, why, in the middle of massive defence cuts, would the government buy back an airfield they disposed of over a decade earlier? Interesting though to see that Lydd, in the middle of a marsh prone to fog and at the end of a B class road, has a commercial future. Does it really have a better catchment area than Manston? Are Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch actually bigger than Thanet?

      Delete
    17. I'm amazed how Lydd has been chosen over Manston too. Not only are the roads bad and the catchment area small, but it's also impossible to get to by train. Nearest (small) train station is in Rye, 9.74 miles away by road. That's like having Herne Bay as the nearest airport to Manston (actually slightly closer at 9:34 miles!).

      Delete
    18. This doesn't include the Hythe-Dungeness mini railway of course, which is largely a tourist attraction.

      Delete
    19. Well William I have just been looking at the various internet offering of those trying to get Manston reopened as an airport with pictures of Ann Gloag to put on your dartboard and so on, which I don’t really think are going to help any objectives.

      Frankly I have no idea if when she bought the airport she intended to run it as an airport, asset strip it build Gloagsville there or sell it on for a profit.

      I see my job as a blogger as being to try and find a fairly unbiased route through the maze of a verity of local issues, most especially picking out information that is both pertinent to the issues and has been excluded from the main stream media.

      In the series of events that relate to Manston there seems to be a clouding over of some of the issues.

      In the first instance it may be reasonable to assume that the intention was to endeavour to run Manston as an airport, if this was the case then I would say that the main factor that scuppered this was the Davies Commission leaving Manston out.

      In view of this happening very soon after Ann Gloag acquired the airport and being a major game changer it does seem pretty obvious that some alternative plan had to be formed.

      Now as soon as the plan to close the airport comes on the scene then one would expect our local politicians to try and find another airport operator to try and buy the airport and to continue running it as an airport.

      Where this all breaks down is that instead of doing this, what they actually did was find a real estate company with a well documented history of planning and arranging finance for housing developments, retail developments and building private medical centres and no verifiable connection with airports whatsoever.

      When you add to this the information that the government were subsidising Manson to the tune of £8,000 per day I have my reservations about aspects of this being quite right and sensible.

      Now added on to this has come things like the 1,000 houses planed for the northern pasture, a plan that apparently came as a great surprise and caused the leader of the council to resign, despite the plan having been in the airport’s website for over a year and actually formed part of the plan to revitalise the airport, I have further reservations.

      Delete
    20. Think to are getting close, Michael, for the reasoning and ramifications behind Thanet politics are beyond the understanding of even those of us that are slightly involved. Whatever Clive Hart's reasons for going, and only he knows for sure, I can tell you first hand that no matter what one tries to do the constant stream of negative and, at times, extremely rude and personal comments do wear you down. It worries me that some of the more able councillors seem to be throwing in the towel and announcing they will not stand next time whilst there is silence from some more intellectually challenged. No doubt they will soldier on contributing little or nothing to the benefit of Thanet. Sadly it is the ones who try, who engage with the public and who accept more responsibility that become the target of the bad mouthing fraternity. One cannot help but feel that those noisy minorities thrust on the people of Thanet the standards of governance that they do not deserve. Less it be that they, the majority, are to blame by their apathy sometimes, although that can hardly be said about Manston.

      Quite how our local MPs were supposed to find a buyer for Manston at such short notice, when Ann Gloag announced so quickly after taking over that she was closing the place, beats me. After all, hadn't Infratil been trying for a very long time previously. At least they tried and they should not be condemned for that and what Riveroak might have made of the place we will probably never know now, so conjecture is pointless.

      Will the government save money by this closure. Who knows for sure, but they will now need somewhere along the south coast for military aircraft taking part in exercises and shows to use whilst the Search & Rescue and Customs aircraft will have to find a home somewhere. No doubt Shoreham or even Lydd will pick up a bit of government funding as a result, all military fields having gone in the indecent haste to sell off the family jewels in the valuable south. That is not politics but cynicism for successive governments have been equally guilty in selling of the prize real estate stock.

      Delete
    21. strange that there has been a failure to find another ferry despite months passing and the port remains empty. When will we see some Plan B for this space.
      I suspect there will be little time before plans are hatched for Manston

      Delete
    22. They're unlikely to build houses on the port... Quite right that Manston should be given priority, before it's too late.

      Delete
  6. Peter. Manston is closed. Your argument is lost. Get over it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And you're fat. Get some exercise.

      Delete
    2. You have absolutely no idea who I am, but glad to see you've gone straight to insults rather than move on.

      Perhaps your anger would be better off being focused into something more positive, like campaigning for something community based in the new manston housing estate?

      Delete
  7. Another one bites the dust!

    http://www.thanetgazette.co.uk/Ramsgate-mayor-resigns-Labour-Party/story-21104758-detail/story.html

    ReplyDelete
  8. What I find a little disturbing is less the loss of the airport per se but the loss of yet more jobs to the area. The fact that this site is now to be considered for a large housing project seems ridiculous in light of the fact the local employment opportunities have shrunk. No further large housing projects should be given the go ahead without planning for job creation. Of course, it could be argued that jobs will be created by the building industry, but these will be low wage and temporary. What people in Thanet desperately need is long term quality employment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And people trained to work at airports tend not to make ideal bricklayers and roofers.

      Delete
    2. Long term quality jobs, Thanet does not have a history of attracting big employers. There is no way you can argue manston was stable, certainly not when it's losing £10k a day.

      Houses would create a short term building boom, but depends what you call short term. Kings hill has been building for 20 years. I think some highly skilled building jobs are on a par or surpass what existed at the airport.

      Delete
    3. As I said in the post I had reservations about the offer, any verifiable connection between RiverOak and aviation would have been a plus as would any explanation of two connected linked news articles in the post.

      I did avoid publishing them together and pointing out the link between the two until after the airport finally closed, but do feel that they go some way to explain why the offer wasn’t accepted.

      We have had problems with non UK company involvement here, Pleasurama being an example.

      Now I am not sure what Ann Gloag has planned for the site and I don’t think anyone else has, the plan for building on Manston’s northern pasture has been on the airport’s website for over a year and I would expect any new owner to discuss this with the council, so I see nothing there.

      Delete
    4. If the development at Kings Hill is an example then its not just about the trades needed to erect the house, a lot of other employment follows. People living in a 1000 dwelling development have a large disposable income between them and need and use many local businesses that can spring up. Kings Hill have medical facilities,schools, sports facilities, supermarkets, garage, pubs and places to eat and I am sure there will be call for plumbers, decorators, gardeners, window cleaners, taxis and many more trade even organised cycle tours.

      Delete
    5. There you go again, 5:41, spouting a load of nonsense about Kings Hill. The old RAF married quarters area is now a sink estate and the new houses built at Kings Hill suffer above the national average of burglaries as a result. Is that your idea of a shining example for the development of Manston.

      As for other businesses, why have they not used the thousands of acres of industrial site development land already available in Thanet?

      Delete
    6. Is Kings Hill to the West of Maidstone? Almost in London. Thanet is in need of a large employer to take in thousands of employees. Cummins had a workforce of about 700 when I was there, we need a few more like it, where a multitude of transposable skills can be used.

      Delete
    7. Kings Hill 35 miles from London. Crime rife in Kings Hill? judge for yourself, 6 burglaries in the last reported 6 months and only 2 drug related crimes.

      Delete
    8. Come on, Anon, at least deal in facts. Kings Hill is roughly 12 miles from the south London boroughs of Beckenham, Bromley and Bexley and talk to social workers from Tonbridge & Malling about crime around the old RAF West Malling patch.

      Critics of Manston have always gone on about the distance from highly populated catchment areas. That cannot be said of Kings Hill. Most people living in that area are within easy commuting distance of London, not to mention Maidstone and Croydon, both being big financial services centres. Work is not a problem for those that want it unlike Thanet where, not only is there none, but employers do not wish to come either.

      Delete
  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  10. The ship has been heading for the rocks for months with the crew fighting among themselves it is now on the rocks with the crew jumping overboard if enough jump off our ship will be re-floated,for years now Manston has driven a wedge into Thanet with meetings and consultations between them that want it and them that do not but it is sadly history now and our elected councillors should prevail on Ann Gloag to meet up and discuss the future of this site residents in this Isle should have a say in its future and must know what is planned,
    Stargazer

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What "wedge"? A handful of anonymous nobodies against it, and the rest of Thanet for it!

      Delete
    2. I just hope that those who were against Manston can sleep at night.

      Delete
    3. Depends how comfortable their padded cells are I guess.

      Delete
    4. I'm sleeping like a baby. It's lovely and quiet and the value of my house has gone up by 20% since Thursday.

      Delete
    5. No more than 250 attended the public meeting.
      Less than 150 turned up to support staff on their last day.
      A hard-core of 5 or 10 'supporters' have made noise on the blogs.

      The rest of Thanet are delighted it's gone.
      Now, Peter, that last statement is probably as preposterous as your claims.

      Move on.

      Delete
    6. You still wearing those daft trousers that have had a row with your ankles? Yes, I (and most others) know who you are, despite your cowardness.

      Delete
    7. And do you have any proof that house prices have increased? Or is this another one of your fantasies?

      Delete
    8. Has anybody any idea how many lined the road past Manston on Thursday 15th? I was there and cars were parked three deep in places and people were being interviewed on camera but not by any TV station that I'm aware of.

      Delete
  11. How's the online dating going Peter?
    Been stood up recently???

    Buffoon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Afraid so... still I'll be getting some p*ssy from elsewhere next week, so I'll decline your own offer.

      Delete
  12. Ann Gloag the Joan of Arc for Ramsgate,
    Stargazer

    ReplyDelete
  13. Iris is awaiting a phone call from Ann Gloag.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Dear All, Mrs Gloag phoned me back this evening and we have had over half an hour of conversation. I felt she absolutely appreciated our position in Thanet with high unemployment and the great economic value of having our own local airport. Her secretary will be contacting Annette tomorrow to arrange a visit to TDC in about ten days time. On a personal level I found Anne to be approachable and we shared the same history of campaigning on Women and Children's issues.

    I feel I should now leave this with officers and Cabinet Colleagues until I return on Wednesday.

    Kind regards, iris

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Even better are the possible compulsory purchase plans.

      Delete

Please note comments that may be libellous, comments that may be construed as offensive, anonymous derogatory comments about real people, comments baiting internet trolls, comments saying that an anonymous comment was made by a named real person, boring comments and spam comments, comments in CAPs will be deleted. Playground stuff like calling real people by their time stamp or surname alone, referring to groups as gangs, old duffers and so on will result in deletion. Comment that may be construed as offensive to minority groups is not allowed here either, so think before you write it, remember that the internet is a public place, that it is very difficult to be truly anonymous and that everyone who uses it leaves a trail of some sort. Also note the facility to leave anonymous comment will be turned of during periods when I am unable to monitor comment, this will not affect people commenting who are signed on to their blogger accounts. When things are particularly difficult on the commercial spam front I may turn comment moderation on for periods.

If you feel that someone has left a comment that is offensive and directed at you personally please email me (link on the sidebar) asking to have it removed, you will need to tell which post and the date and timestamp of the offending comment. Please do not reply to the offending comment as I will assume you continuing the dialogue as meaning that you want the comments left there.