Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Thanet District Council Cabinet Agenda Published for Thursday, 18th June but no mention of Manston.

I guess a lot of people have been waiting for this agenda regardless of where they stand on the Manston issue and I guess and for the council to publish the agenda for the meeting with no mention of the issue, is strange to put it mildly.

Here it is http://democracy.thanet.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=151&MId=4046 see what you make of it, perhaps they intend to add more to it later, if so it does beg the question. Why not wait until the whole agenda is ready before publishing?

My own stance on Manston, recoded here over the years, is that while I was supportive of saving a regional passenger airport with a strong historic aircraft centre based around the two museums there, I do not support building an airfreight hub that we can’t fly from at Manston.

During the last few weeks there have been various attempts by those supporting TDC mounting a cpo to build an airfreight hub to discredit major local employers.

One example here is Sir Roger Gale MP for Thanet North saying on the BBC that one of the largest employers in Thanet South may be in financial difficulties, see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-33025447 another this one from Powermain https://www.facebook.com/powermain.co.uk/posts/759113690869067

Now obviously if people have a financial stake in the company that wants to open the airfreight hub or they are locals with experience working in aviation who hope they would gain employment at an airfreight hub, their enthusiasm for this is understandable, but once this enthusiasm crosses the boundary where it seeks to damage major local employers it becomes untenable.

update 4.55 10.6.2015

I phoned the council this morning and asked if the cpo was going on the agenda for the cabinet meeting a week tomorrow, they said it wasn’t and that the full agenda had been published.  

I tried some more searching questions, which they wouldn’t answer but asked me to put in an email to them:

"Hi *****, could you kindly let me know what the situation is with the Manston cpo issue, i.e. as much as you can tell me about the issue given the constraints on releasing information about it?

Also a couple of direct questions which hopefully you can answer. 
1 When will the issue go to Cabinet?
2 Is there any reasonable chance of a way forward on this one, has the situation re an indemnity partner changes, if not could councillors move forward in any way without officers producing and acceptable indemnity partner?  "

I have had the following reply:

"Hi Michael

I have forwarded your query to the Chief Exec’s Office for a response. You should get a response directly from her office.

Thank You

****** ******"

I emailed the leader yesterday asking what is going on over the cpo and still haven't had a reply. 

I have now had a reply from Chris Wells, my email and his reply below.

On 9 Jun 2015, at 21:55, " michaelchild@aol.com" < michaelchild@aol.com> wrote: 
Hi Chris, any idea why the cpo hasn't appeared on the cabinet agenda? 

From: cllr-Chris Wells
To: michaelchild
Sent: Wed, 10 Jun 2015 17:51
Subject: Re: Manston

Please see statement on tdc website 

Sent from my iPhone


  1. I agree Michael. The campaign to save the airport has morphed into a dangerous vendetta against anyone who isn't supporting the CPO. Cartner and Musgrave are finding themselves in the receiving end of appalling online abuse, and Powermain have clearly been harassed. We already know of one major employer who was deterred from going to Manston because of the volume of hate mail they received. It's high time Roger Gale and Craig Mackinlay took responsibility for the mess they have created and spoke up on behalf of local businesses. It's high time they told their campaign groups the truth; that a CPO is a non-starter, and that the fight is over.

  2. A little observation in case any pro-airporters are watching; If you were definitely going to discuss the airport on the 18th, you'd put it on the agenda. Leaving it off the agenda implies that it might not be discussed.

  3. Doesn't make any sense to me. If you've had the draft report, you have the broad outline of what it says. No reason why the cabinet can't debate the issue on the basis of the draft. In any event, what does the PwC report matter to UKIP. They promised to CPO the airport regardless. We seem to be a long way from the UKIP promise that they would initiate a CPO within 1 week of taking office. Reality dawns.

  4. Arjun I guess the key question is. Can the councillors do anything unless the officers support them? But then it mostly comes back to where the liability lies if say they started the cpo and Riveroak went into administration. With Ramsgate at the end of the runway and Broadstairs in the particulate air pollution stream the way cpo compensation works it looks like everyone running a business or owning property Ramsgate and the whole population of Broadstairs could legitimately claim compensation. I think we could wind up with the local equivalent of ppi insurance compensation.

  5. Roger Gale's attack on Paul Carter demonstrates the strong rival opinions about Manston even within the Tory Party. On this issue, Paul Carter's position seems rooted in common sense and practicality. As many commentators have pointed out, the succession of failed attempts by various private operators to make a go of Manston must cause any sane individual to doubt its viability. I would like to have seen it become a success, but I am persuaded that the project is a gonner.

    For Gale, it seems to have become something of a vanity project. He persists in referring to "everyone in Government". Why then, have Government Ministers not called in the scheme? Why have they not intervened directly and promised to support the venture? The Prime Minister made vague pledges during the election campagin, but I think many suspect this was simply to prop up Gale and Mackinlay in the face of a perceived UKIP threat. Where is the real Government action now? Perhaps it is Gale who should call time on his less than glittering career, rather than demand Carter's resignation.

  6. It's all looking like a desperate attempt by Sir Roger to deflect attention away from his own shortcomings. The airport task force he was supposed to have organised last year never met once. Now, the PwC report which he instigated, and which was supposed to be the answer to everything, seems to have got lost somewhere. By all accounts it was delivered to the DfT several weeks ago, but the minister in charge has never seen it. So, Sir Roger lambasts Paul Carter, who isn't responsible for any of it. In my opinion, Sir Roger's intemperate outburst won't go down well with the blue-rinsers of West Kent. It seems more likely that he'll be collecting his cards.


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