Monday, 19 May 2014

Manston Airport Closure and Thanet District Council’s Compulsory Purchase.

With the whole issue of Manston Airport and its closure my intention all along the line is to try and plough some middle ground and endeavour to inject some reality into what has become a very emotive issue.

Mostly trying to cover areas where the mainstream media seem reluctant to venture and to try to foresee future problems.

I am supportive of a regional airport that people can actually fly from, I have major reservations about any attempts to make the airport into a large cargo only hub, or to attempt to try and expand the airport into London’s third airport. I also have major reservations about any nighttime flying quota, especially one that isn’t related to economic growth.

It is all too easy to offer facilities funded by the public purse which have no real and current commercial application and so just wind up with the business that no one else wants. Port Ramsgate is a prime example of this, the only commercial port activity there at the moment being live animal exports.

This morning I received a press release from Sir Roger Gale which on the surface at least doesn’t appear to make sense, I have considerable reservations about press releases that contain factual inaccuracies and this one seems to contain a whopper, here is the link to the press release http://thanetpress.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/manston-time-for-compulsory-purchase.html

The problem I have with it is that Manston Airport doesn’t have planning permission as an airport and operates under a S 106 agreement, my understanding here is that the main problem in terms of the airport getting planning permission is that The Environment Agency are unable to give it an environmental permit “EP” because successive airport operators have delayed doing the expensive work required to obtain one.

This begs some awkward questions about any compulsory purchase, which I will endeavour to outline during today, as I get time.

1 Does the council intend to grant planning permission for the airport?

2 Would they have to obtain an environmental permit “EP”?

3 Would the council be prepared to fund the work necessary to obtain and EP?

4 Assuming the running costs of the airport were the same as when Infratil were running it £20k per day, funded £2k by airport charges, £10k by Infratil and £8k by the UK government via the MOD, does the council intend to reopen and fund the airport?

5 Would the UK government via the MOD £8k per day funding still be available?

6 Does the recent surrender of the airport’s Civil Aviation Authority Licence impact on the site’s status as an airport in terms of compulsory purchase? 

7 Assuming the council compulsory purchased the site is there any way having sold on or leased to a third party all or part of the site that the council could guarantee continued use for aviation or would the council have to run the site as airport operator to ensure this?  

There is an irony inherent in my writing this post, in that when an aeroplane flies overhead, far from complaining I am out the door with the camera trying to get a shot of it.

Further to this I run a bookshop with what I think is the largest stock of aviation books priced to compete with the aviation books on the internet, so I and many of my customers have a reasonable understanding of the history of Manston and find it difficult to comprehend that basic information about the airport wasn’t/isn’t understood by our local politicians.


Anyway today’s post should have been about the publication of the reprint of “Wings Over Westgate” by Geoffrey Williams, an interesting local aviation book which relates to why Manston became an airfield in WW1.


The previous first edition of this book has been out of print for some time copies selling for around £20 while the new reprint sells for £12.50.

Here are some more pictures of the aviation stock in my shop to help you understand what I mean.
  










109 comments:

  1. And would a CPO be used as a backdoor way to hand the airport to Riveroak? Could taxpayers yet again have to help fund a commercial venture?

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  2. All a bit 'how long is a piece of string' and clearly the answers are not yet readily available. As the press release states, much research needs to be done, but it is refreshing that the new leader of TDC is opposed to housing for, in my view, that before jobs is the last thing Thanet needs. We already have empty housing stock and other new developments on the go without adding to the pressure on our infrastructure.

    Perhaps a mixed revamping of Manston, retaining a small airfield, flying schools and light aircraft mainly, the museums and some leisure facilities may be better in the long run. What about a Duxford type field, expanding the historic aircraft side by utilising the airfield buildings and offering flights in interesting aircraft. Duxford is never short of visitors and something like that could be a plus for the area.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. William I could see some sense in what Iris said, i.e. make an appointment with the new owner and discuss options for reopening as an airport. What worries me here is what Roger has said in his press release would seem to be that he and the other local politicians are contemplating, or at leased have publicised taking the hostile approach of a cpo before exploring the other options. Do you think that this could be something to do with the forthcoming MEP elections, or do you think there could be some other reason for jumping the gun in this way?

      Sorry about the deletion pated in the reply to John below in error

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    3. I think Roger Gale genuinely believes Manston as an airport should be part of Thanet's plan and he is passionate about it. I really do not think the EU elections are anything to do with his approach especially as both main parties locally now seem to be in accord about saving Manston. The implied threat of a CPO, if all else fails, may well be a case of putting cards on the table to bring parties to the negotiations under no illusions that not airport development is going to be an easy ride.

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  3. Are you not playing games here a bit, Michael. Section 106 is part of the Planning Act and is a way securing use of land for a purpose that might not otherwise be granted. It is often used to facilitate affordable housing or where a usage predates planning but a regularisation of usage is desirable. Hence, Manston, created as an airfield in WWI, did not require planning consent back then but a consent under S106 was afforded on the switch to civil airport use. Thus it has consent under the Planning Act. As for its CA licence, that has been surrendered by the present owner, presumably to save the high fees involved, but there is no reason to suppose it would not be granted again should such be desired.

    William's suggestion of a leisure visitor attraction along the lines of Duxford is an interesting one.

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    1. John the S 106 is normally used as part of an existing planning consent or as a temporary measure while a planning consent is considered. I guess a major problem here is that the planning consent would be part of the legal case for a cpo.

      Obviously as an airport with a planning consent the value for a cpo would be seen as just that and I guess somewhere in the £5m to £10m would be a likely valuation for cpo purposes.

      However as a brownfield site that was subject to a S 106 while an EP was acquired which would eventually have lead to a planning application for an airport, followed inevitably by a public enquiry and eventual planning consent or refusal, then there may be a different perspective.

      Manston off the top of my head is what 70 acres and residential building land around £1m per acre.

      Frankly the notion that the local authority would have any realistic powers to prevent the owners from building residential accommodation on the site is just ridiculous, if the council turned the application down then the planning inspectorate would overturn the decision.

      China Gateway is a case in point here, where what was planned was individual industrial units processing their industrial and human sewage, each having an advanced septic tank, the purified results then running into the Thanet aquifer, (our drinking water supply)

      The council planning officers were concerned that the planning inspectorate would overturn a refusal so passed the application with a 106 specifying that the development had to use the main drains like the rest of us.

      I would most like to see a regional airport with expansion of the historic aircraft facilities, but then this interests me.

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    2. I think you have lost 0 from the number of acres. That would be interesting if TDC go for a CPO and it gets value by the assessors at £1 million per acre.

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    3. Whoops anon should be 700 making a value of £700,000,000, thanks for pointing our the error.

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    4. Comes down to interpretation of the planning status of a 106 and, in this case, historic usage would be a strong argument in favour of the CPO. Neither should one assume that a brownfield site is automatically going to get planning for housing where need is questionable and infrastructure and employment simply do not exist.

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    5. John you may unfamiliar with my modus operandi here on this blog, I think you can safely assume that I don’t just post ideas off the top of my head and will have discussed the matter with some of the people who would have to make this work.

      I think it would be fair to say that “jumped the gun” came up.

      Anyway I have sent the questions in the post to the council as an official customer feedback enquiry, which should take not more than 10 working days for them to answer unless they choose to treat it as a foi request, which normally takes about a month.

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    6. You have totally lost me somewhere along the way, Michael, for I was discussing the 106 and planning. Quite where "jumped the gun" fits in with that I have no idea and I seriously wonder if you do, unless, of course, you are answering the wrong person.

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    7. John I guess the answer is that any cpo for Manston would be very difficult because of Manston having no planning permission, the Airports Commission report has pretty much scupperd the public interest factor which is a critical part of a cpo too. My take is that at this point the local MPs saying that the district council is contemplating a cpo is very much jumping the gun.

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    8. Michael. You yourself have used the "S106 as a means of regularising usage" argument in the past with regard to Manston. This John Morgan chap seems to know quite a bit about planning law but probably not as much as a book shop owner

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    9. Tim, honestly I don’t know which is why I have put the questions to the experts at the council, obviously I discussed it with the council first and formed the impression that their not having an in-house lawyer at the moment didn’t help. I also formed the impression that the officers concerned would have preferred to explore whether a cpo was in any sense a viable approach prior to any public announcement.

      With respect this John Morgan chap is at the moment just another anon, and not even signed in so that anyone could comment under that tag and impersonate him, I have little faith in the opinion of anyone who uses social media without taking the most basic of precautions and would expect this sort of action only from those who retired years ago and has lost touch with itc.

      My respect and the weight I give to comments here relates to identity in the real world, with real public figures where their id links to their business and public lives like say Simon Moores, below this are people who have some sort of connected identity like Peter, below this are those like yourself who are anonymous but often comment under a signed on name tag, below this the open non de blog like John and at the bottom of the heap just anon.

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    10. Gee, thanks, Michael, for your pecking order of credibility must put me somewhere near the top of the pile. Hence, and for the record, I tend to agree with John Morgan, whoever he may be, about the S106 being part of the Planning Act and a way of regularising usage where planning consent was not originally a requirement.

      On available expertise, the lack of an in-house lawyer is not a reason for officers to duck an issue, there being other means of obtaining professional advice, and it should not be forgotten that the Broadstairs Town Clerk, all part of our local team, is actually a qualified lawyer.

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    11. I don’t think they are ducking the issue, it is more a case of me not wanting to waste their time so I tend to ring them up and ask them first, on the whole they recommend a course of action, which in this case is an official feedback request, which should give them time to find the answers.

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    12. But I thought you said they were of the opinion that Roger Gale had jumped the gun or did I misunderstand you?

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  4. Yes William Duxford. It's part of the imperial war museum, and charges people £17.50 to get in.

    Do you think this would work at Manston?

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    1. Make that £27.50 on the day 16 and over and £18.50 for children. I have feeling its a bit too pricey for Thanet.

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    2. 'Like Duxford' is very different to saying 'the same as Duxford' for clearly that would be impossible. However, an historic aircraft centre with museum exhibits and flying examples on a smaller scale could be viable. Think something between Duxford and Hawkinge and with the added facility of affording a base for flying schools, light and executive aircraft usage. Not too big and thus much more viable.

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  5. Anyone else notice the inside pages of the Sunday Times yesterday? 'Veteran oil baron Algy Cluff is part of a rescue bid for Manston Airport and hopes to work alongside Ann Gloag to rescue the airportt'.

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  6. As Janice Atkinson reminded me earlier today, UKIP came up with the CPO suggestion weeks ago. Roger Latchford's idea perhaps? Whatever, it will be fantastic news for Thanet, and Ramsgate in particular.

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    1. And Nigel Farage was at the Manston RAF museum raising awareness today. Good to see all the parties in agreement for a change.

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    2. Actually Peter I don't think the Red Hall Mob (Christine, Barry, Louise and all the rest) agree. If they do, they haven't exactly done much to save Manston.

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    3. I really don't know who feeds you info 5:39 but they need to get the sack. If I'm "red hall" the so is Bob Bayford and Martin Wise as they have been there for the same event I attended. Only once!! So please get a life

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    4. I thought that was a strange comment too, though it is true that you, Louise & some other notable locals haven't said much either way on the airport.

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    5. Peter I have been up to my neck in organising the Ramsgate Front Festival, It is this weekend and much to do. I hope you are spreading the word

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    6. You know I am, on blogs and (especially) on twitter.

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    7. any way Peter its not necessary nor is it helpful to espress an opinion on everything happening in Thanet. For instance I never comment on which party I might vote for. Others may speculate but it isnt any of their business

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    8. Fair comment Barry. That's why I generally have little to say about Ramsgate seafront, as I've other priorities.

      Everyone knows I'm a Tory!

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  7. It's hilarious watching the anti-Manston mob (all 3 of them) on other blogs getting their knickers in a twist over the possibility that it might actually be saved. Made my day! : )

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    1. Peter there was indeed a no night flights group and they were quite large, this led to the council having a properly regulated public consultation, which was all of people in the two MP’s constituencies. The results of the night flights consultation before weighting was 2,275 responses, which included a full address and postcode. The majority were opposed to the implementation of regular night-time flying, with approximately 73% opposed, 26% in favour and 1% not clearly stating a position.

      I really don’t think there is an anti-Manston mob, although I would guess there would be plenty of people who have reservations about any sort of aviation activity regardless of any economic benefits locally. I would guess that the recent desire to create a freight hub using a company with no verifiable connection with aviation, that no one could fly from, or a poorly conceived attempts to antagonise the owner, could polarise some sort of collective anti-Manston feeling.

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    2. You're right Michael, "mob" is too strong a word for 3 people who hide behind their computers and have probably never even met each other.

      Do you know what happened to Steve Higgins? There seems to be all sorts of rumours, though perhaps he also chooses to comment anonymously for reasons unknown?

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    3. Peter I don’t really think there is much point in trying to second guess the identities of anonymous blog commentators or trying to form any sort of ongoing relationship of enmity with them. Looking at all of the comments on this post to date I can’t really find anything much you could object to, apart from perhaps people disagreeing with your point of view.

      The no nightflights blog seems to be still at http://hernebaymatters.com/nnf-blog/ I would guess still being run by the same people.

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    4. But don't you find it strange that not one of them ever comments either on blogs or on twitter under their own name? I certainly do.

      The Herne Bay blog isn't run by Steve Higgins of SMEG (Stop Manston Expansion Group) fame. That blog also still exists... but is private: http://stopmanstonexpansiongroup.blogspot.com/

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    5. Peter the people who comment on the blogs come and go, and no I don’t really give it much thought, the no night flights issue is an old one and resolved by public consultation, which I guess would be difficult to change without the council carrying out another consultation, something that would seem unlikely as the result wasn’t a close one.

      You have to appreciate that a council run consultation is very different from support for a web run campaign.

      As far as customers in the shop go, there has been surprisingly little mention of Manston either way, which does make me wonder if the very strong internet support for saving Manston is that much locally based.

      The last two local travel operators to really engage with the town were Hoverloyd and Sally Line and there was much local discussion when they closed. People were as they say gutted.

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    6. Steve Higgins was a bit more than that just another blog commentator, as you know full well Michael. He appeared on national TV, on radio and in the press as head of a high profile campaign against night flights. So he not commenting when the airport closed is a bit like Louise Oldfield not commenting when Arlington Tesco opens (or gets refused).

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    7. Peter you have to appreciate that I wasn’t part of the no night flights group, my stance being that any night flights quota would have to be linked to economic benefits and not that there should be no night flights, so I just wouldn’t know.

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    8. Michael, as you well know, the nights flights consultation was a very narrow one in which the vast majority of people in Thanet were not invited to take part. Furthermore, everybody who was opposed to night flights was not necessarily opposed to the airport continuing.

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    9. Certainly no-one invited me to take part. I didn't even know about it until the results were published.

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    10. When the Labour Party took control of the council they cut short the consultation to save money and bearing in mind they stood in Nethercourt in Ramsgate on a "Say no to night flights" ticket, the vote was never going to go the other way.

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    11. Advertised in the local papers, header banner on the council’s website and loads of discussion on the blogs, it was open to all Thanet residents and I think Canterbury council held one at the same time for Herne Bay, so if you didn’t respond to it I guess it was because they didn’t come and knock on your door

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    12. My remarks above are taken from an answer to an Email which I sent to all my local councillors asking about the night flight consultation. Not surprisingly only one councillor replied. Two other councillors, both independent, voted against night flights. They both hold chairs of influential committees. A friend of mine received a consultation form but although I live just around the corner I did not.

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    13. No Michael, your description of the consultation is not accurate in context. When labour took over there was a plan to employ an independent survey company to pro actively approach and consult across the whole island and beyond. This was cancelled in favour of a traditional reactive consultation on a much more limited basis, with a peculiarly unscientific weighting. I asked what mathematical multiplier would be used to weight responses and was assured when the relevant cabinet members read the responses they would note the addresses and weight accordingly. This hardly constitutes the survey the issue deserved. As I commented on this blog only days ago the reason given for the change was cost. At £50000, compared to the sums flushed away on Transeuropa, live animal exports, and others this doe.s not look like sensible e conomics

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    14. Chris I think the problem was no so much the consultation, which in view of the results being so much in favour of no nightflights probably did reflect public opinion. My own feelings are that it was much more to do with a failure to engage with the public both by the airport and the then Conservative group.

      This really resulted in there being two choices one clearly defined, which was no night flights, the other appeared to me to be to be pretty much the night flying allowance for a major airport which was in no way related to any definable or understandable economic advantage.

      I think this combined with what seems even now to be a failure to accept that having a busy airport does add to local pollution and local pollution risks, in terms of air quality, noise pollution and potential for water pollution, which should be properly quantified and regulated, but most of all related to some sort of economic benefits that would compensate for the down side has done much to damage any chances the airport may have had.

      At the moment I would still support a regional airport with an EP, that one could actually fly from and would hope this could be combined with an expanded historic aviation aspect. A major freight hub frankly makes little sense and one set up by people with a good track record in building houses, shopping centres and medical centres even less.

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    15. "probably did reflect public opinion"? Rubbish. If they'd asked the people of Margate, Broadstairs, Westgate, Birchington & most other parts of Thanet the results would almost certainly have been the complete opposite.

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    16. And, of course, Michael, used to successfully running a transport hub at Fort Worth airfield in Texas, but that would not fit in with your argument, would it? Loved the MO bit and consultation with people in the know which, coming from someone generally regarded over Cecil Square way as, politely "Oh, no its him again" to, more accurately, 'a bloody nuisance' is a bit OTT.

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    17. Peter, even the couple of thousand who did oppose night flights in that consultation represent only a small percentage of the Ramsgate population of over 30,000. Many people in Ramsgate are not opposed to Manston and had no objection to the odd night flight. Quotas on a par with major airports is but a figment of Michael's over active imagination.

      Interested to see that Riveroak seem to have progressed from a bunch of chancers to a group having a good track record in building houses, shopping centres and medical centres. I guess that must be regarded as progress.

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    18. Excellent rewriting of history, Michael. The choice was actually between a genuine consultation, and the pre determined consultation that actually took place. Still, let's not permit a few facts to get in the way of a convenient story!

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    19. Anon 10.07 I recommend you google "Fort Worth" "RiverOak" with the quotation marks, which will show web pages where both are mentioned. Give particular attention to Googles news tab and the ponder how the veracious American media - with their considerable interest in financial news - could have missed any connection between the two.

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    20. Chris I think that a starting point here would be to divulge what amount of night flying that you think should be allowed, say with the current interest in a freight hub which would mostly be 747s, in terms of how many per night.

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    21. Due respects, Michael, but the number of flights is irrelevant to a discussion on the credibility or otherwise of a council sponsored consultation on the issue. Surely the point here is that most people in Thanet were unaware of the consultation and had no voice on an issue which has isle wide implications. There is an evident shift in stance over Manston with the change of leadership in our local Labour group, jobs now being seen as more important and the loss of them more damaging to electoral prospects than a 'no to night flights' stance that had impact only in a very localised part of Thanet.

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    22. Michael, I followed your advice given to an anonymous commentator and what do I find? Forth Worth airfield, a major hub in the USA, was developed between the city corporation and, wait for it, a property development company (presumably with absolutely no expertise on running airfields). Furthermore, one of the major players in that company is also within the Riveroak consortium now offering to take on Manston. Maybe they do have just a teeny bit of expertise after all and, possibly, rather more than a bus operator.

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    23. William agreed but just something saying that the property company was RiverOak would do the trick for me, so did you find any connection, as if so what was it?

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    24. Michael, I already pointed out the connection in that one of the major players in the company that developed Fort Worth is also with Riveroak. Nobody said anything about the firms being by the same name.

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    25. Ok Michael, you carry on dancing on the head of a pin in order to avoid facing the reality of a fixed consultation. Trouble for you is this is not a matter of opinion, the facts are plain for all to see. Perhaps you should have gone to Specsavers!

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    26. William when this was running as a news story I discussed this with several news reporters who were all keen to big up the save Manston campaign, this included BBC reporters who used all their facilities to try and find any verifiable connection between Corp RiverOak Investment Corp LLC of Stamford, Connecticut, (which appears to consist of five hedge fund managers) and Fort Worth Alliance Airport which is owned by joint venture between the City of Fort Worth, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the Hillwood Development Company, a real estate development company owned by Ross Perot, the well know billionaire.

      Nothing verifiable was ever found so if you have cracked this nut you have done very well indeed, however looking through your comments you seem to have omitted telling me what the connection was.

      If you google the address of RiverOak; ONE ATLANTIC STREET SUITE 703. STAMFORD, CT 06901, you will find this is also the address of numerous other companies, the same suite, I mean.

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    27. Chris no problem with dancing on the head of a pin as theology does interest me, however these facts that you say are “plain for all to see” do seem to have been occluded for some people, including me. The question is a simple one, how many night flights?

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    28. Michael, you seem to regard evasion of issue as debate, it isn't, it remains evasion of issue. In this debate the issue is about the validity of the public consultation on night flights conducted by TDC not the number of those flights. The fact, which conveniently seems to miss you, is that that consultation was very limited for, at the time, end result or political purposes.

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    29. Michael, how come that you seem to have all these connections, not to mention the time to talk with them, that us more ordinary mortals do not. As a retired man with time on my hands, and involved in local politics, I would have rated my sources of information at least as valid as yours, but somehow you always love to give the impression of greater expertise in all matters. In all honesty, I do not think such is the case.

      The question here is about the ability of the consortium seeking to buy Manston to run an airfield. The link with Fort Worth in Texas has been mentioned in many reports recently but you seem to want to see the name Riveroak in lights over the airfield before you will be convinced. Well you won't because Riveroak, like any name for a business, has no expertise in anything. Does Michael's Book Shop have expertise in books? No, it has books inside it, but the expertise, we would hope comes from Michael himself and his staff. Likewise with Riveroak, the expertise comes from the fact within the group is someone experienced in the development of Fort Worth.

      I just love the way with you that we are all easily fooled simpletons, from our two local MPs, Paul Carter, everyone connected with the Save Manston Campaign right down to people like me who have the audacity to question your supreme wisdom and knowledge. Actually, Michael, you are not supreme, just quite adept at dodging the real issues and trying to swing the debate back onto your pet theories.

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    30. William, can you supply website details re your comment at 8:58 please

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    31. Ah William I take it then like me you could find no verifiable connection between RiverOak and Fort Worth Alliance Airport. Something to consider with this research is that there are two Fort Worth Airports in Fort Worth Texas; Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and Fort Worth Alliance Airport. So I don’t recommend going down the road of just calling it “Fort Worth in Texas” which is the name of the city with I think five or six airports.

      Bemused; ah a surreal comment, asking William about a comment with a non existent time stamp does seem alittle cruel at this point in time.

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    32. I told you of the connection, Michael, by individual involvement, not the name of a business. Also I was well aware of the two Fort Worth's, in fact one used to be a USAF base to which one of my enterprising soldiers hitched a lift from Mildenhall on an initiative exercise. In the context of the debate and the relevance to readers in Thanet, I really did not think simply referring to it as Fort Worth mattered. Of course, I forgot your tendency to both wriggle on the debate and to demonstrate your superiority.

      Even More Bemused of Birchington - regret I cannot find a comment I, or anyone else for that matter, made at 8:58. See elsewhere you commented on the Duxford style suggestion and mentioned the Luftwaffa museum at what was once RAF Gatow. Another of my bright ideas which came to nothing, was turning RAF Gan into a chilling out resort for retired RAF types. Never liked it in the six moths I spent there in my youth, possibly due to the lack of female company, but could happily chill out on a lounger by the old mess and have tuna curry tiffins now.

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    33. Sorry William, 10:58. I can't find the actual detail. Yes, I spent a week on Gan, got refused a drink at the rugby club because I wasn't a member. Didn't qualify for a "Not Having" tie either. Also enjoyed a few weeks on Masirah, even more weeks at Salalah and drank the bar dry at Riyan.

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    34. Ah William I see no problem with individual involvement, but this does presuppose an individual, so who?

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    35. Bemused, please forgive informality of not using your full title, and pleased to see you are well travelled. Strangely enough I never found the rugby club on Gan myself, but the Beach Bar, built by Costains when they were there down the end of the island, was my favourite spot. See your MELF and Gulf connections are strong but did you ever do the Katanyaka, Butterworth, Seletar, Changi and Tengah circuit.

      My research on Fort Worth and the connection to the consortium seeking to purchase Manston extended to a number of web sites, a report by Roger Gale, another by the Save Manston Group and a news item by the BBC. Incidentally, in case you wondered at my comment about "one of my soldiers" in an earlier item, I was a Rockape and army before transferring to the Regiment.

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    36. Michael, despite my varied connections I have never been introduced and would it mean anything if I said J. Robert McDougal? I would suggest, since you are supposed to be such an expert on the world wide web and sundry media sources that you can do the same as I did. If I can find out that one of the consortium of US buyers was involved with the development of an airport in Texas, it should be easy for you.

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    37. William I guess as there is no living person named “J. Robert McDougal” that comes up when you search Google then you are being humorous here and have made the name up. So I assume you are conceding and also can find no connection between RiverOak and aviation.

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    38. We have been there before with a company that claims to have developed many successful project whereas in truth it was the sub contractors that they hoped to use. Royal Sands development springs to mind.

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    39. Totally off topic I know, but to reply to William, the rugby club was on the other side of the airfield and four of us were attempting to visit all 13 bars on the island during our visit, circa 1971, which was probably no bigger than the footprint of Manston. I was in Aden, Khormaksar 131 MU, for two years, 1963/1965, during which time I visited, Riyan, Salalah, Masirah, Bahrein (Muharraq), Mukeiras, and down to Eastleigh. Also spent 2 1/2 years at Tengah, and visited Changi for three weeks in 1971. Didn't meet any rockapes, mainly because we were servicing airfield navigational aids, ILS in particular.

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    40. Bemused, I was with the Regiment flight despatched from RAAF Butterworth in August 1963 to deal with the so called Maldivian Uprising. We arrived, two days later dealt with an invasion from the other islands in the atoll down by the jetty with batons and shields and then did hearts and minds trips around the other islands playing football and handing out boxes of Smarties to the kids. Took FEAF nearly six months to be brave enough to accept the 'war' was over and pull us out, during which time thirty eight Rockapes, with no proper job on the base, tried to find things to do. As the Flight Commander I can tell you that was not easy so, whilst the sunsets were lovely, it was not my favourite post. On your Far East experience, I think all four RAF Regiment Squadrons were pulled out of Malaysia and Singapore during the withdrawal from East of Suez in 1966/67.

      Better go now before Michael thinks we are using his forum for a private memory lane discussion. On the other hand, we could make a bid for Manston between us, along with John Holyer who was radar and often visits this site.

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    41. EMBOB suggest you start your own blog if you want to go way off topic, when you have set it up send me the web address and I will add it to the blog list on the sidebar.

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    42. William as I said to Bemused, the thing to do is to start a blog for this sort of thing, as I am sure you know it just attracts adverse anonymous comment which I have to deal with, whereas you would be able to turn anonymous comment off. I am only too happy to help if you have any difficulties setting up a blog.

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    43. Michael, of course I made the name up because any name would mean nothing. That was my point, but I assure you I am not conceding because one of the US consortium bidding for Manston was involved with Alliance Aviation in the setting up of the Fort Worth airfield, itself a subsidiary of Hillwood Development Company, a real estate investment company just like RiverOak. In case it escaped your all seeing idea, American Real Estate Development companies buy up all kinds of businesses and are rather different to the UK idea of estate agents. If it was Painters or, say, Gibsons offering for Manston I would share you concern, but US companies like RiverOak and Hillwood buy to run, develop or strip as best suits the share price.

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    44. End of the fourth line above, insert 'eye' for 'idea' as running ahead of myself.

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    45. Michael, the occasional exchange between us ex-service types who bump into each other around blogs hardly warrants the setting up of a personal site. Nonetheless, I accept your reprimand and will endeavour not to engage in such exchanges in future.

      What I do not understand is why some demented soul should find such reminiscences cause for adverse anonymous comment. What is there to annoy about a couple of blokes remembering being stuck on a coral island in the middle of nowhere.

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    46. Michael,

      Don't be such scaredy stuffed shirt. Come and join us. Bull up a chair and sit down. Per Ardua Astra, what's showing tonight?

      Referring to your comment on Save Manston Airport you should know that the Red Arrows do not, as you claim, play russian roulette. At every moment they know precisely what they are doing.

      [Well you did advise me that I was welcome to comment on your blog].

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    47. Michael, took me a few moments to realise that EMBOB was me. Point taken. Like William, I will resist the temptation to go off topic too often.

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    48. I really appreciate that, the job of sifting and deleting hostile anonymous comment is an onerous one. And John I am trying to get the stuffing out of my shirt.

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    50. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    52. The conduct of a consultation is not about the boundaries of the questions it asks, but about the integrity of the process. Any neutral would look at what I have said and see doubt. Read David Green's enthusiasm to still distance all current Manston issues from no night flights. He misses the point; we get the housing threat because those who want to run airports are frightened off by hostile local authorities.

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    53. The contamination of soil and water at Manston now would be useful for its viability for any future housing etc. Does anyone know?

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    54. It is full of unexploded German bombs, more explosives for its destruction if likely to fall into enemy hands, spilt aviation fuel, cordite from airfield defence guns and sundry other unpleasant noxious nasties. No good for housing or farming so best use it as an airfield.

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    55. Yes 7:07 but what is the actual pollution levels at Manston: TDC and the Environment Agency must know if even you know? Not sure unexploded bombs and spilt fuel make an airfield viable?

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    56. Don't do much for building projects either, but they are generally OK if left undisturbed. Certainly I would not want to start doing ground works out there. On the levels of pollution what exactly will you do with the information when you have got it, 8:00 pm?

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  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. 8.32 read the the comment guidelines below to prevent your comment being deleted.

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    2. Re Peter at 9-19pm and his Tesco comment: What is the latest about Arlington House? It has all gone very quiet. Has one individual still got an injunction to prevent anything happening?

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    3. I've no idea what's happening, though I'm pretty sure it's not Louise who has stopped progress (this time). Tesco themselves announced recently that they have no plans to open any more huge stores, and are in fact leasing out parts of their existing big stores to others (you can buy Co-Op insurance at Tesco WC). So all very strange.

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    4. I understand that there is a third attempt to appeal Tesco on July 17th, the first two having been refused. So it still appears to be 'Live' - That was the gist of a conversation with the BBC yesterday outside the site.

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    5. Ridiculous if it's true, but it does also point out the big difference between Louise Oldfield and Steve Higgins: One spends years using every legal means possible to try to get what she wants, and the other one turns up on national TV visibly the worse for wear through drinking the night before, and then disappears.

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  9. I see that Ian Driver has come out in favour of the CPO. So that's Tories, Labour, UKIP and Greens (and presumably Lib-Dems) who all support the idea.

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  10. Cllr David Green, TDC Cabinet Member for Economic Development said...
    Just to set the record straight, neither Thanet District Council or the ruling Labour Group are in favour of a CPO of Manston Airport.
    It has been suggested to us by a local MP, and therefor we feel obliged to examine it as a possibility. Until the airport closed, our position was one of support for the airport as a local employer but we were against environmentally damaging night flights. We note that of the three reasons given for closure, loss of BA freight contract, loss of Ryan Air contract and the Government review of south east airports, none of them involved night flights. We suggested extension of the enterprise zone to cover the airport as something Government could do to help stimulate activity. The airport is now closed, and in my opinion unlikely to open again. As the local planning authority we await notification of the owner's plans.
    We have already received a suggestion for housing on the northern grass next to the airport. We received this long before talk of closure. This application will be judged along with many other suggestions for potential housing sites and may or may not form part of the next stage of the Local Plan Preferred Options draft that we will be consulting on shortly. That draft will suggest how best to meet our calculation that we will require sites for 11,500 houses over the next 20 years, only half of which can be found within the existing urban boundary.

    4:29 pm
    Blogger Richard Eastcliff said...
    Thanks for the clarification there, Cllr G.

    Although I do hope you're in your bunker with your tin hat on, and preparing for some incoming, as Labour's appetite for a CPO does not seem as keen as the Right Honourable Member for Thanet North suggests in his statement. Just saying.

    well its all over yeah !!!!!!!!!!!!

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  11. Seems like nothing much has changed on the local Labour front then. First the leader says there will be no houses and now, one of her newly appointed cabinet, seems to be suggesting there will be. Please all take on board the 11,500 houses over the next 20 years, apart from where are the jobs, schools, doctors, hospitals and emergency services to cope with that population increase, is that really where we all want to be living, on some urban sprawl that was once a fairly green isle by the sea.

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  12. Cllr David Green, TDC Cabinet Member for Economic DevelopmentMay 20, 2014 5:41 pm

    Dear William,
    The District Council is not a free agent in this. It is a Coalition Government directive that each local authority must produce a plan that meets the calculated housing need for the plan period. It also provides guidance as to how this need should be calculated. Any authority that does not do this has had its plans rejected by the Planning Inspectorate. Without a Plan, developers are free to build anywhere including green wedges that we would like to protect.

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  13. Cllr David Green, TDC Cabinet Member for Economic DevelopmentMay 20, 2014 5:53 pm

    Dear William
    How you construe anything I wrote to say there would be housing on the airport, I fail to understand. Incidentally the amount of greenfield land required is calculated to be about 5% of existing in Thanet.

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    1. With respect, David, and I do mean that, the quoting of percentage figures in regard to greenfield sites and housing is an old trick..5 per cent of greenfield land over 20 years sounds harmless enough, but there are longer term population trends to consider as well. The current age bulge will change in 40 or 50 years, as the smaller family unit trend continues, and without considerable net immigration, which has been a major cause of the current crisis locally, we could end up sacrificing greenfield land for a relatively temporary bulge in population.

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  14. Dear David,

    How do you construe that anything I wrote suggests there will be houses on the airport, in fact, no where in my comment did I mention Manston airfield. Please also allow me to be appalled, if I so choose, at the prospect of yet another 11,500 houses on our isle for the reasons I have already stated and I really do not care whether the directive to build such numbers is from the Coalition, Brussels or some other bureaucrat. How much can a small country take in people and houses before it sinks?

    Please accept, I do not think it is your fault, just a sad trend that destroys the land of my birth, which, in all probability means I have lived too long.

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  15. Where does the 11,500 extra houses figure for Thanet come from?

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    1. Read Cllr Green's statement above at 5:08 where is clearly states 11,500 houses to be built in Thanet in the next 20 years. That is another town at least the size of Ramsgate. So much better than a noisy airport and far less environmentally damaging isn't it?

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    2. my understanding is this figure has been imposed by our current coalition government (as all councils have had imposed) This is to allow for the current upward trend in population to circa 73 million in 15 years time. It is being exacerbated by the (current) under development of housing which is a knock on from the recession.

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    3. In other words, Barry, perhaps we should be looking at reducing our population growth forecast by closing the doors.

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    4. I suspect the figures aren't made up from net immigration but from internal birth rates. Does show how popular living here is

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    5. Barry, whilst Anon at 9:00 over simplifies the problem by closing the doors only, it is a valid point. We had an open door policy for too long under the last Labour government which dramatically increased our population and we perhaps encourage large families in certain sections of society by linking benefits to numbers of children. Strictly controlled immigration, applying the rules properly on claiming asylum and limited child benefits and tax credits to just two children would all help.

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  16. The figures are compounded from 3 trends:
    1. The birth and mortality rates
    2. The trend towards smaller households
    3. The net migration into Thanet (that is migration, not immigration)
    These are obtained from census and other Government statistics

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  17. Michael. You are very lacking in facts and who is actually responsible for what . Please join our group and learn;-

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/MARG2014/

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