Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Manston Airfreight Hub Consultation 2018 at The Comfort Inn aka San Clu Ramsgate and the inevitable old pictures ofit.

I have just got back from the consultation, this time I only spoke to a couple of specialists. In the past I have spoken to some of the RiverOak directors, and really didn’t think I would gain much by doing so again.

My main interest really relates to previously emailing pins and RiverOak aka RSP and while getting responses from RSP, I really never seem to have got replies. So I guess the main thing I wanted was a sort of feel of the thing. In terms of are RiverOak a viable firm with a viable project, or is it just a group of people saying something like. “I’ve got loads of money and fancy a bit of a gamble on the Manston site.”

Obviously there was a lot of heated discussion from people strongly for or against the airport, but what I wanted was more of a viability check. I think this is partly based on my feelings that RiverOak don’t seem to have really grasped what a DCO is all about.

My understanding is that to get to the point where a DCO could be submitted with some degree of success, then most of the problems need to have been sorted out and I don’t think the latest batch of RiverOak documents come anywhere near this. Mountains of raw data and very little in terms of conclusions and solutions.

One of the questions I tried on both of them was what do they call southeast England, both agreed roughly with my triangle which is roughly, Isle of Wight, Oxford and Thanet at each corner. My old question about the existing road and rail infrastructure means most of the population of the southeast on leaving home or business would have to pass an existing airport before getting to Manston – well obviously no real viable explanation. In terms of local issues I was reminded of the ardent Labour councillor to whom I said that I thought the best thing Thanet had got out of the Conservatives were the two excellent grammar schools, obviously I assumed that as he was a local politician he would be grammar school educated, they pretty much all are if the come from Thanet and are male. He said what he wanted to do was have all of the secondary schools at Westwood cross in one giant school hub. Imagine the traffic issues…

I printed out the quote from their non technical summery that seems to say RiverOak were going to calculate the amount of pollution generated by their freight hub and how many people would be killed by it. So I asked them how many people killed did the think would be an acceptable figure? The answer here was optimally none and neither could the translate it into some sort of English that seemed to make sense. The answer here seems to be they would reply to an email, but I have experience already, so don’t hold out much hope.

I also asked how the thing had got into the non technical summery, so strangely written and with such a bizarre message. I particularly stressed that if RiverOak had any staff, then one of them would have at least read the non technical summery and queried the thing.   

Another issue was that something had evidently gone wrong with the invite leaflet, they were supposed to have leafletted tens of thousands of people and yet there were parking spaces outside the San Clu aka Comfort Inn. A big problem here is that emailing RiverOak aka RSP and saying. “Hey where are the leaflets?” Well it doesn’t seem like emailing an ordinary company, it seems like your email actually went to a pr company, probably the one that forgot the leaflet drop. In the end I took the pr guy to the racks of leaflets in the Comfort Inn aka San Clu and pointed out that theRiverOak ones weren’t there, like they weren’t in the Custom House, Tourist Information wosisname.  

I would say, just like the last two consultations the objectives seem to be set on fulfilling the minimum criteria of a DCO rather than building an air transport hub. By this I mean, were the minimum criteria for a DCO 7,000 flights then RSP would apply for 8,000 and were 15,000 then the would apply for 17,000. Of course there were all of the representatives working for firms that weren’t RSP, dong their jobs and getting paid.  

This means that everything is focussed DCO cpo and not aviation, meaning that say the noise compensation package doesn’t seem to cover Ramsgate properly, which I think it would have to if Manston were operating in an economically viable way.

Of course Manston can operate at a loss and not really be much trouble, it’s been doing that on and off since the 1960s when it started trying to be an airport.

So siting here and trying to write the experience up I still genuinely don’t know what to make of it, whether giving up my time and talking to the people there was worth it.

My take is that at a public consultation the idea is that the people there listen to your views and my views, the public, and take them onboard, did that happen? Not sure really.

One question for readers, did anyone get anything beneficial out of the consultation? Learn anything new, change their mind abut anything, feel they had mande a point that RSP had taken onboard, type of thing.   

A few more old pictures with the San Clu inem these are best takein in conjunction with yesterdays post with the potted history of the building, see http://thanetonline.blogspot.co.uk/2018/01/ramsgate-manston-airport-airfreight-hub.html

Workwise in the bookshop I spent most of the day trying to rebuild the display fittings in one of the shop windows because when I did it before the gap I left to get into the window was too small. This should put an end to some embarrassing contortions for me when someone askes for a book in the window that customers can’t get in. the other day I changed the shelving in the other windows so that customers can just walk into I it and get them.   

Here is the link to the pictures of the books that did go out, mostly local history http://michaelsbookshop.blogspot.co.uk/2018/01/adventures-in-bookshop.html

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