Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Ramsgate Sands Gets a Blue Flag, Manston Mallon some thoughts, a ramble.

Seven of Thanet's beaches get blue flags.

·         Minnis Bay
·         West Bay      
·         St Mildred’s Bay
·         Ramsgate Main Sands
·         Botany Bay
·         Joss Bay
·         Stone Bay

The changes from last year are Westbrook Bay didn’t get one this year and Ramsgate Main Sands did.

I got the press release about this at about 6pm yesterday, strictly embargoed until today, however by about 8pm yesterday the news hade leaked out onto FaceBook, showing that it is pretty much impossible to keep a secret with the internet and giving a pretty good reason why I have given up with the local press release blog.

The picture is an old one dating from three years ago, see old enough I think for me to be realistically critical of it and I still think that it has something that is unique because of having been drawn and painted on the beach and not in a studio from a photo.

On to Manston and the airport site.

Public opinion on this one seems to have been roughly steady on this one since the airport closed about a year ago roughly in order with the most popular at the top.

Reopen as a regional passenger airport, with equine facility and a small amount of freight. Essentially what we had before.

Anything that employs a lot of people.


I think around here you get into the area of what the majority of people seem to be saying they don’t want.

The Discovery Park proposals.

Airfreight hub and aircraft dismantling facility without passenger flights.


Sink estate.

So we now have Ray Mallon appointed as spokesperson for the Discovery Parks scheme.

Gazette article

Old BBC coverage about Ray Mallon

On the local government front we have tomorrows TDC meeting which I guess counts as the first stages of restarting the cpo process and on the same day UKIP KCC councillor Roger Latchford trying to get KCC to support the cpo.

I guess a problem with the cpo is mandate and this is mainly down to TDC failing to respond reasonably to the various Save Manston airport petitions. Apart from the problems with the petitions which meant that none of them seemed to be properly verified, so they could have been signed several times by the same person, a petition doesn’t give any sort of mandate unless it is signed by a large proportion of the community. The population of Thanet being in the 140,000 ball park with I guess around 100,000 voters, then a petition doesn’t really cut the mustard unless it's getting to around the half the voters and this is never going to happen. What the council should have done is hold a public consultation.

I think the cpo situation at the moment is something like this.

Election wise I think quite a few of the sma group stood as UKIP councillors, whether this was because they supported UKIP, thought UKIP would win and they could get the cpo through or they just wanted political change I don’t know. I guess when trying to gauge the group as a whole a bit of everything may be the answer.

Part of the UKIP election campaign was to save the airport but as I didn’t see any political bumph saying vote UKIP for an airfreight hub and aircraft scrap yard and I don’t think they have a strong mandate for a cpo with that purpose.

I think there may be a sense in which they are calling RiverOak's bluff, put X million pounds into a UK bank account, to finance starting the cpo. I guess the snag here would be what the council's liability would be to RiverOak if the council decided to pull out of the cpo process after they had spent X million pounds on getting the process started.

That said UKIP obviously have to be seen to be doing something and I guess they will. I have great reservations about the council making large financial commitments while the new councillors lack experience, I am particularly minded that the Pleasurama planning consent went through during the change of administration and that experienced councillors would probably have turned it down and told the developer to produce new plans that fitted in the space height wise.   

I will ramble on about this today as and when I get the time.     


  1. Michael

    The only certainty is that TDC are in for a very long, expensive and possibily unsucessful fight to gain control of the Manston site.

    There is no guarantee that RiverOak will be in a position to fulfill their obligations at the end of a successful CPO process.

    It seems possible that even if a CPO succeeded, there could be years of legal challenges to the re-opening of the airport on environmental and planning grounds.

    My feeling is that the legal wrangling will still be going on at the time of the next TDC elections.

    If the new UKIP controlled TDC would like a project or two to get their teeth into then perhaps they could take a look at Arlington Square, Ramsgate Port, Pleasurama and the Victoria Pavilion all of which have the advantage that TDC already owns the freeholds so no CPOs would be necessary...

  2. I agree that those pushing for the airport to reopen should be using, and risking, their own money to do it. There is nothing to prevent Riveroak and their supporters from approaching Cartner and Musgrave and making a realistic offer for the site. This way they would be able to secure the site quickly, instead of going through a protracted legal battle lasting many years. In addition, if purchase were negotiated, they would be able to own the site lock, stock and barrel rather than having to give it back and pay compensation when the airport fails again.


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