Friday, 7 August 2015

Naked and early in Broadstairs, the confessions of an insomniac dauber and a few thoughts on Manston Airport.

Progress on the watercolour painting of The Albion Hotel in Broadstairs this morning, this is a little slow as I have come to the bit where I add the people.

With watercolour you can't realistically put light coloured paint on dark coloured paint, so when painting the people on the balcony first I sketch them in in pale skin tone (a mixture of yellow ochre and rose madder) this is inevitably followed by a small and inquisitive child asking me why all the people in the picture haven't got any clothes on. If you don’t do it this way it is very difficult to get the bits which stick out of clothes (hands, legs head and so on in the right place) next I paint the clothes on) which are almost always darker tones, a white shirt is best painted first in white paint before starting on the body.

Once the people are finished then will come the chairs which are dark brown, followed the railings in front of the people and the chairs, as these are even darker. As folk week has started today I made some of the people look a bit like retired hippies.

Next and inevitably the Manston Airport site cpo by Thanet District Council, to be funded by an American real estate hedge fund broker that would acquire the Manston site freehold from the council.

I guess what this is all about is why shouldn’t the council trust RiverOak, both to come up with the money they say they will, and once RiverOak have taken over the freehold from the council, turn it into the airfreight hub and aviation scrap yard they say they will. Obviously as so far all RiverOak seem to have done is part fund the building of apartments, one would assume that that is what they want the site for.

The only member of the RiverOak management team with any aviation history seems to be a lawyer who was struck off for misappropriating clients funds, the whole RiverOak operation is run from a small rented office, so these may be reasons to be cautious.

But the real issue here is where the liability falls if the council were to go ahead with RiverOak as their indemnity partner, and say RiverOak were to go into administration, the liability could be very large, as for instance the particulate air pollution generated by an airfreight hub would have an effect on life expectancy, particularly of Broadstairs and Margate residents who are upwind of airport and takeoff flight path. The noise pollution would have a significant effect on Ramsgate residents who are under the flight path. So say this caused a 20% drop in property values then all of those affected would be able to claim under cpo legislation.

I guess in a nutshell if RiverOak were to go into administration at some point during the cpo the council would be liable for a very large bill. So would the council leader be liable? I guess this a maybe, but as he recently went bankrupt I doubt he has any assets to speak of. Would the chief executive of the council be liable?

Anyway one way or another whoever would be liable would need to be fairly careful at this point, hence the press release.  

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