I guess before I get going on this one I had better state my position on Manston, there are several years of blog posts to back this one up, see http://thanetonline.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Manston%20Airport
My take is that the best option would have been a fairly small regional airport with a high emphasis on historic aircraft, in retrospect with running losses at the moment of around £10,000 per day I can see this wouldn’t really be viable.
My take on the night flights business has always been that any night time flying allowance would have to relate to the amount of daytime activity and handing the airport the same night flying allowance as a major hub airport was never on.
There is always business that no one else wants, live animal exports being a case in point at the moment, and if you produce a situation where you open the way for what no one else wants without insisting you also get attractive business, it is very easy to wind up exclusively serving unattractive business.
The recent KLM business seemed to be founded mostly on avoiding uk airport taxes, which isn’t necessarily the best way forward for Thanet.
So now we face the situation where Manston Airport is most likely to close within a month or so and I guess the way to go with this one is to do anything that will benefit the local area.
I don’t think there is anything much that government could do to stop an unprofitable business from closing down.
Now although Manston looks green, in terms of future development it counts as a brownfield site, this means that there will be considerable limitations on what government could do to prevent or control development there.
Another aspect is that Manston is on the water abstraction source protection zone, which makes it more expensive for business development there.
Another closure which happens today is AMF Bowling in Margate, something I find particularly concerting as This is a leisure business in a town where the councils are doing all they can to expand leisure.
I also gather Edinburgh Woollen Mill in Margate is closing.
This seems to be at odds with Ramsgate really being the last remaining market and shopping town in Thanet. Perhaps the owners of Westwood Cross have been lobbying the council. Perhaps this explains the town centre rubbish collection on market day and the pavements in the town centre being much worse than they are in the residential parts of the town.
I don’t know how this is going, but there has been no activity on the site, so obviously the developer hasn’t done anything to show their intent to do anything with the site.
I am wondering if in terms of what local government can do the focus should be more on supporting what is viable and taking a more realistic approach to what is inherently doomed to failure.
The desire to be a transport hub, both with Manston airport and Port Ramsgate does seem to be related to a long term failure to accept the geography of the area.
One of my family injured their ankle recently so was on crutches for a while and when I asked how this was going, the answer I got was, no real problems apart from Ramsgate town centre where the pavements are dreadfully uneven and the incidence of dog poo very high.
We are now one month on from the council’s decision to terminate the Pleasurama development agreement, which involved them going down the road of them presenting the developer with a definite schedule of works that the developer had to comply with or open the council’s position to terminate the agreement for non-compliance.
A bit more research on drinking water in Ramsgate before Ramsgate had a waterworks possibly around 1880.
“TR 3764 NW Ramsgate SOUTHWOOD ROAD Water Tower of Ramsgate Water Works. Water tower Erected 1881, Stevenson + Valon, engineers. Red brick and terracotta with cast iron water tank 80 feet by 50, 60 feet high.”
The water is held in the Thanet aquifer (underground reservoir in the porous chalk) by the surrounding seawater, the water back about as far as St George’s church is brackish and not drinkable. So I guess before a piped water supply the drinking water was taken from wells and distributed by horse drawn water cart.
I know I have read an article in Bygone Kent magazine on the water wells in King Street but it doesn't seem to appear in the index, the issue number would do as I have a full set.
I will ramble on here.