Saturday, 23 August 2014

The day starts with a fire in Ramsgate and I ramble on about bears chickens roundabouts, the summer squall and Manston Airport.

Not an auspicious start to the bank holiday weekend, however I don't believe anyone was hurt and the boys in brown soon had things under control.
The Lights were already back on on The Belgian Cafe when I left, so while guess things in there may a little on the damp side for a while I would guess it will soon be business as usual.
From the point of view of a showman the chickens and ostriches must be a right pain as the heads  and steps are separate and would all have to bolted on after the animal is hooked onto the ride.
I guess this all made perfect sense in the 1880s when squeals of “I want a pony daddy” were a bit pointless as any aspiring lass probably already a pony and so would have wanted something not found on other roundabouts. I wana go on a bear or an ostrich makes some sense to me, but a chicken, well I guess that needs some working out. 


Next comes The Great Wall of Ramsgate, Cllr Ian Driver once lambasted for inciting the vandalism – although as it was carried out using a paint roller – so how that worked exactly I don’t know, has done. What?

Well found the paintings although not the missing £3k according to the video below.  


Click on this link http://thanetonline.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/The%20Great%20Wall%20of%20Ramsgate for more about The Great Wall of Ramsgate and contemplate the vandals out with their paint pot and paint roller, like so much relating to the Pleasurama site the surreal of even the outright bonkers takes over. 


On to Manston Airport and my rather strange encounter with The Save Manston Airport Group in the middle of Ramsgate town centre.

This involved a bloke with a tannoy getting his message across very loudly, which was “Jobs for your children, save Manston Airport, sign the new petition” anyway eventually he paused for breath and asked who the petition was aimed at and what was its objective? Aimed at TDC and KCC apparently. Anyway I said that I was interested in the objective before I considered signing it, as far as I know you can only petition the council to either make them discuss something or to make them hold a public consultation about something, this type of thinking seemed to cause some degree of confusion for chap with the megaphone. Then I said to him that while I was for saving the airport I was very much against turning it into a freight hub, rather in the same way that while I supported Ramsgate having a railway station I would be against Ramsgate having Clapham junction. This all proved too much for the tannoy man and he started yelling was “Jobs for your children, save Manston Airport, sign the new petition” into his megaphone.

This encounter set me thinking as to who it is that is doing most to damage any chances of saving the airport and just what it was that the locals wanted with respect to the airport.


I think we all know and understand what the local politicians want out of the airport closure and I don’t suppose I need to draw a diagram, I know what I want which is a reasonable balance between jobs, prosperity and environmental damage from the Manston site, preferably a strong aviation museum and historic aircraft facility combined with passenger flights that I can actually fly somewhere on, failing that any use for the site that produces some jobs and prosperity without too much environmental cost.

So anyway apart from this there is a real and substantial update on the Manston Airport front, RiverOak have finally put their intentions in writing and in the public domain with a new page on their website, see http://www.riveroakic.com/aviation.html

For me as ever the sceptic this raises some interesting questions, the key one being about their previous experience in aviation, obviously from their submission it is now apparent that they have no previous experience in aviation and haven’t funded or run any other airports. 


There has been a significant change in RiverOak’s position since august 6th , see http://www.thanetgazette.co.uk/firm-pledge-stop-auction-airport-assets/story-22084937-detail/story.html which says:

“The company [RiverOak] says it believes Manston could be viable for air freight, aviation services including maintenance, recycling, private charter and commercial passenger services. It claims the experience of one of its senior team members in refinancing Alliance Fort Worth Airport in Texas had proved the case.”


“Rather they are based broadly on the model developed at Alliance Fort Worth airport in Texas, with which we [RiverOak] are very familiar, but tailored to reflect Manston’s unique facets and its potential strategic role in the wider South East airport’s system.”

Now I don’t have much of a problem with RiverOak having no experience in aviation, but I do have a very big problem with either RiverOak claiming to local media to have experience in aviation that they just haven’t got or the local media suggesting that a potential airport operator has aviation experience when it hasn’t got it. 


I guess the problem I have here is that our council have got themselves into some deals with foreign companies, the ferry finances and Pleasurama being examples, and this wound up costing us the council taxpayers very dearly indeed.

Now when this particular foreign company appeared on the scene the BBC ran this article http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-27411419 and I have been on my guard ever since.   



Tony Freudmann was the Senior Vice President of PlaneStation and in 2005 Infratil, the New Zealand-listed infrastructure fund agreed to take over London Manston airport for £17m from the administrator of the bankrupt Planestation group.

very busy today so will add to this as I can.

26 comments:

  1. Hope you were very busy and Ramsgate is also busy with people visiting the Squall. I have always supported Manston but have of late given up with the idea TDC and KCC will ever manage to do anything with it. The Industrial site out there has never come to anything TDC could have built some start up units there but never did, so I assume they have never had any interest in creating jobs just talking about it. As for KCC it has done its bit for Thanet so dont expect anything helpful from them. I am pretty fed up with Thanet council and the way it has dealt with Manston

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    1. Yep very busy day Don, hence the fragmented writing up of the latest stuff about Manston Airport, all I can say is I got there in the end. I guess the problem with TDC mostly comes down to secrecy, with anything like this they claim all of their actions need to be kept secret for commercial reasons, which is all fine and dandy, but then after the event we find out that they didn’t carry out the most basic of checks and have left us the local taxpayer with the bill.

      With Pleasurama the most basic question to the developer should have been where is the substantiated evidence that you have ever built anything.

      With the ferry operator the accrued debts should have been secured against the ships.

      Now with the airport the question they should be asking any potential airport operator is: “Have you any substantiated evidence that you have ever financed an airport?”

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    2. Actually Don, the business park at the Western end of the runway is looking pretty full now. It has taken a long time but I think there is some momentum there and we may well see a number of good high-tech companies interested, as long as units with access and services are available. If the airport stays shut it seems obvious to me that the business park should be extend back towards the main road and that space should be put aside to try to cater for small start-up and medium sized businesses. The £100,000 TDC has already spent on 'saving Manston' would have been far better spent recruiting a head-hunter with proven experience of identifying companies who would like to locate or relocate in Thanet.

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  2. The trouble is that the type of airport/airfield you envisage and would support is the model that has proved not viable and which has been deemed not viable by the aviation experts. This is why the tannoy hollerers and SMA petitioners are scooping up people by fudging the details of the situation. If people are presented with the options, much like your Clapham Junction analogy, then I doubt very much if people would choose to have a 24/7 cargo hub slap in the middle of Thanet. Yet the SMAs and Riveroak continue to peddle the line that a small to medium airport is somehow possible and that it wouldn't involve night flights etc. This is hogwash. Let's imagine Riveroak or anyone else does try to set up a cargo hub. Let's imagine that Feded or DHL came along. Are they honestly going to turn away such business? No, of course not, they'd be petitioning for the massive delivery operations requirements (lots and lots of scheduled night flights) that would be required. Savnig Manston as it was/has been for decades is not an option. There is a greater chance of keeping the museum and elements of an historic airfield by entering into constructive discussions with the owner.

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  3. It seems Michael that an options paper on Pleasurama is being readied for the Cabinet meeting on the 11 September and then possibly on to scrutiny

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    1. I live in hope of a quick resolution of the Pleasurama fiasco Barry, but in all honesty I would guess that we are in for a protracted battle to get the site back which I expect to last several years.

      One thing I would like to see happen is the council doing the maintenance work on the cliff façade there, there is a stitch in time saves nine aspect to this one, the alternative may well be another £1m bill for the council to put on our council tax.

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  4. Michael is it true thanet no longer has its own hight platform fire appliance looking at your photo it seems to be the older type at the fire yesterday

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    1. I have to admit that I have absolutely no idea anon, the high appliance was certainly about recently but I am pretty sure it wasn’t present at this fire, whether that means they haven’t got it or it means they didn’t need it I wouldn’t know.

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  5. Posted yesterday by SMA Group: We had a really positive response from the Nethercourt residents today, when we went knocking on doors with the 'No to Houses on the Airport' petition and asked for their views on the airport. They were all pro airport and didn't mind living in the flight path. None of them were concerned about night flights and interestingly none had been asked their opinions re this in the past!! We asked if they knew that their Councillors Gibson and Alexandrou were against the reopening of the airport and the CPO. Most were unaware of this, but once informed they were more than happy to put their name down to ask their Councillors to represent the views of their residents to reopen the airport and support the CPO. Just goes to show, the views of the Nethercourt residents have not been truly represented in the past. More meet and greet, door to door in the Nethercourt area next week by Supporters of Manston Airport.

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    1. Thanks for that anon at 8.00, it really does illustrate the point I made very well indeed. It almost goes as far as saying “we told the turkeys what a good idea Christmas was and the all agreed and signed our petition for extra stuffing”

      I guess there are important and credible points on all sides of the Manston issue and I guess most of us have encountered the variety of local opinions on the issue.

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    2. It seems that it matters little to the SMA group what life will be like in Ramsgate if a cargo hub succeeds as several of their members have already posted that Ramsgate be written off as a "necessary sacrifice" to enable the airport to succeed.

      Now that's an extremely crazy way to behave so what they are saying is the quality of life of 46,000 people be sacrificed so that a cargohub succeeds rather makes me think they would treat one of the 3 seaside towns of Thanet with absolute disdain.

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    3. Barry that's what they have been saying ever since this started, its about time people of Ramsgate woke up and started to complain, the only good thing is our councillors realised this was happening and have shown their discontent towards the idea. A lot of them suffering abuse, in my view quite brave. Its the truth what would the down side be to other towns? Nothing. well they think nothing but the truth of it is, the pollution would reach to Deal and Westgate making it even worst than it already is.

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    4. Spoke to our green councillor today who recently posted "what about plan B" he is saying the abuse on twitter and emails is unacceptable from Pro Manston brigade. This is why many will not stick their heads above the parapet

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    5. For those who do stick their heads above the parapet. I take my hat off to you. Kim Gibson has had to put up with a lot. She really has Ramsgate at heart.

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    6. Barry, I'm sorry to hear that Cllr Driver has received abuse. That is inexcusable. However, many of us via twitter, facebook and elsewhere have attempted to have reasonable debates over the airport's future with him, and he refuses to even discuss it. Of course, he was opposed to the airport before it closed. So his "Plan B" is really a "Plan C" (I wonder what "Plan D" will be? I'm sure we'll find out soon).

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    7. If those in SMA genuinely believe in a just cause and freedom of speech then let those in charge lay down the law to those who would abuse it. They do the campaign more harm than good.
      crying crocodile tears over abuse is hardly going to solve the problem. Or is it you believe shouting down those have a different viewpoint keeps your opponents from having a real say in their future

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  6. 8;00 am what are you telling them? I bet your not telling them " you can either have no planes at all and manston will have a few places for people to work or you can have a huge cargo airport with 100s of planes going over your house polluting all the way" you should be ashamed knocking on old peoples doors

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    1. How do we know they're "old people" until they open their doors? Anyway, tell that to politicians (only when there's an election coming up), jehovah's witnesses, gas / electric salesman, etc.

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    2. Purple Om,

      Are you concerned for the welfare of "old people", or are you being ageist?

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    3. SEMBOB looking at the sample of leafleting going on in Nethercourt they are hardly being honest about what they want.

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    4. Barry,

      Do you have a copy of this leaflet that Michael could post online? Or can you enlighten us yourself as to the content of this leaflet? Alternatively is there already something online?

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    5. posted yesterday on FB. Michael is a member of the group so could post assuming he has seen it.

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    6. Barry the only one I can find is very fuzzy and cropped so it doesn't say the name of the group distributing it at the top

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    7. Barry, I presume FB is Facebook. A little more guidance would help, such as where on Facebook, there are lots of things on FB.

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    8. Are u on No to night flights FB page. I agree with Michael the screen print is quite bad I can only hope someone in Nethercourt posts a better quality print

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  7. They must must have gone to a different Nethercourt to the one where I am in touch with dozens of residents all of whom are enjoying the peace and quiet if it ever comes to a correctly run consultation what they are passing of as an opinion will be trashed when will it sink in that their forlorn hope of getting Manston to work is lost the future lies in a different approach I look forward to seeing what Ann Gloag has to offer our towns as Riveroak offer nothing but day and night noise and disruption followed by a land grab for housing

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