This was the situation on the table in the children’s section at close of play today, what can you say?
More of my very small sketches from the photos on http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/ it’s often difficult with this sort of thing to tell if they are getting better or worse.
And yes the wretched airport, some frustrated people who want to say something and mostly don’t know what to say so the comment is leaking into yesterdays post about the new exhibition at Turner Contemporary.
What can I say about this? Well first chatting to locals in my bookshop there doesn’t seem to be much local interest in the airport issue, it certainly isn’t something that a lot of people are talking about, in the way that some local issues have been in the past.
Nationally, that is those people who are UK residents that appear to support the airport to the extent of signing an online petition seem to number around 2,500 see http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/62738 to put this into some proportion the minimum number of signatures needed for one of these UK gov petitions to be considered is 100,000
In terms of all of the airport petitions that there have been it is only the UK gov ones that I have a fair amount of faith that it is difficult to sign more than once.
Within reasonable driving distance support for the airport would seem to number around 400 people judging form the numbers who turned up for their three day event this weekend, to put tis in some sort of proportion the population of Kent is around 1,500,000
Anyway this coming Thursday’s cabinet meeting the council were supposed to be discussing furthering the cpo, normally the documents relating to this would have appeared on the council’s website by last Thursday, well at the time of writing they still haven’t appeared.
I did phone the council up and they said they expected them to appear soon, but as the delay went on I have talked to the councillors and council officers that I have bumped into.
Various schools of thought, the main one being that virtually none of them can see just what grounds a cpo could be based on, this is made more difficult because some of councillors have promised that the council will do everything in their power to start cpo proceedings.
The problem and it’s a big one, is that if the council wanted to cpo my bookshop to widen the road, then they wouldn’t have much of a problem, however if someone came along wanting to use my shop to sell cds based on the public interest that people listen to music, well they wouldn’t have a cat in hells chance.
At the moment most of the councillors I have spoken to seem to keeping their heads down and waiting to if anything spectacularly entertaining happens to the councillors who have been very publicly supporting the cpo.
Anyway now the leader of the council seems to have issued a statement via the SMA facebook page saying: “from Iris Johnston, Council Leader. Thursday's cabinet "report will be purely on progress so far on market testing as we give interested parties an opportunity to provide outstanding information" and they are also awaiting advice from the government to advise on "national asset" status in light of the recent vision from Grant Shapps government minister.”
The Isle of Thanet Gazetted have put up a news item about this, see http://www.thanetgazette.co.uk/Thanet-council-set-delay-verdict-Manston-airport/story-23136612-detail/story.html
Obviously the first stage of any cpo would be getting a site valuation and as the council haven’t commissioned one yet, although they have discovered that one would cost around £75,000, money which the council can’t really afford.
I will try and think of something more to say about the issue, but generally when things at the council go a bit pear shaped and one group of councillors start looking speculatively at the other, one can expect a sort of slow fizzling out of an issue.
The real indicator here being not so much what the councillors who regularly contribute to the internet are saying, or even what they are not saying but that for the most part they are not saying anything at all unless confronted with a direct questions that they can’t really avoid.