Hangars being used for non-aviation use contravening planning law.

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I am absolutely outraged that businesses are being allowed and encouraged to move into hangars and the equine facility at Manston Airport while it’s future is still undecided.

TDC’s planning department seem to be able to do little about it except for issuing retrospective planning permission for change of use or urging them to “obtain pre application advice before submitting a planning application”.

I would love to know the length and terms of these leases and wonder if they realise that they could be moving out soon depending on the outcome of PWC’s findings.

I wouldn’t be surprised if these companies are being offered very low rates to relocate in a cynical ploy of the ‘owners’ in order to flex their muscles and assert themselves.

I have no desire to turn away any business from Thanet but there are plenty of other empty business units that these companies could move into. We need the airport to attract businesses from outside of Thanet, not just relocating within Thanet, and we need an aviation freight hub to facilitate the transportation of goods.

Hopefully the new District Council in May will put through the CPO with immediate effect and this will be settled once and for all.

Manston Airport – Search & Rescue Can Come Home – Roger Gale 10.4.15

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Sir Roger Gale MP refutes that the Minister’s statement yesterday was party political electioneering.

Manston Airport – Search & Rescue Can Come Home –  Roger Gale

The way is clear for Search & Rescue to return to a re-opened Manston Airport.  That is the real significance of the announcement made yesterday by the minister of state for Aviation, John Hayes, during his visit to Thanet yesterday, says North Thanet`s Roger Gale.

“It is a pity that the real issue was buried under a synthetic and media-generated political “row” says Gale.

“The Minister responsible for the Coastguard Service has approved a one-year contract for Bristows to operate from Lydd while discussions relating to the future of Manston continue. He has made it plain that during that time there will be no capital investment in new SAR facilities, paving the way for a swift return to the preferred operating base, Manston, as soon as the airport is once again operational.  That speaks volumes. It demonstrates the faith that a significant and reputable company, Bristows, has in Manston and it states very clearly the importance that the Prime Minister and the Transport Department have placed upon Manston as a strategic national asset – because this move has the full backing of Number 10. This is part of a process that those of us who really support Manston have been engaged in for months and it has nothing to do with the General or council Elections at all. “

Commenting on the status of the RiverOak indemnity package Roger Gale has added:

“The Minister made it plain that, based upon the indications that he has received and the contents of a letter sent to him by the Chief Executive of RiverOak, Steve DeNardo, yesterday, he is confident in saying, with the full weight of Ministerial Office, that he is satisfied that there will be no risk to the Thanet Council taxpayers in proceeding to a Compulsory Purchase Order.

I have a copy of that letter in front of me and in it Mr. DeNardo says:

“We instructed our solicitors, Wragge, Lawrence Graham, to draft an indemnity agreement between Thanet District Council and RiverOak to cover all the Council`s risks. This was because we recognised that for both financial and political reasons it would be impossible for Thanet to carry any risk, however small and however remote. I can confirm that the indemnity agreement as drafted does meet those requirements. 

RiverOak is a US registered company but prior to the signing of the indemnity agreement we will create a UK based and registered company, to be known as RiverOak Aviation, to go through the CPO process and take ownership of the airport if awarded. The same company will also hold all the appropriate CAA licenses. 

In support of the CPO process RiverOak accept total responsibility for making the business case for the airport to the CPO inspector. In doing so we recognise that if we are unable to satisfy the Inspector as to the viability of our business plan we will lose the CPO and a significant amount of our own capital but it will have been done at no cost to Thanet.

To this end we are prepared to deposit up to £2,000,000 into a designated escrow account in the UK simultaneous upon the mutual signing of an indemnity agreement between RiverOak and Thanet District Council”

That is the basis upon which the Minister of State has felt it possible to say that there will be no risk to Thanet. I do not believe that the situation could now be clearer. 

I have made it plain to the Leader of Thanet District Council that if she and her administration now proceed to instigate the CPO procedure then they will do so with the full and non-partisan backing that I have offered to date and to that end I am prepared to put my own political reputation on the line.

Further, the Leader of the Conservative Group on Thanet District Council, Bob Bayford, has indicated that on an equally non-partisan basis the Conservative Group will back the controlling Group and will share equal political responsibility for the decision.  I do not think that we can offer more and I hope and expect that reservations will be set to one side and that, on the basis of the Minister of State`s assurances, the process will now be allowed to immediately commence”.

Sir Roger Gale – Conservative Candidate for Margate, Herne Bay & The Villages

Transport Minister John Hayes Delivers Double Boost for Manston Airport 9.4.15

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John Hayes, the Minister of State for Aviation, has today delivered a double boost to the campaign to save Manston Airport. He has announced:

A new deal for search-and-rescue services in the South East of England: Bristow, the company that provides search-and-rescue services on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, had originally planned to base two helicopters at Manston, but the airport closed in May 2014.

The Minister of State and Prime Minister`s Special Representative has today announced that instead of agreeing a long-term contract for Bristow to base their helicopters elsewhere, he has agreed a one-year deal in which the helicopters are based only temporarily at Lydd Airport. This paves the way for the helicopters to return to Manston once the airport reopens.

He is removing one of the key barriers to the compulsory purchase of Manston: One of the key stumbling blocks to Thanet District Council issuing a Compulsory Purchase Order for Manston was the perceived lack of confidence in the financial indemnities offered by RiverOak – the US firm interested in buying Manston and running it as an airport. Following work by PWC, who were commissioned by the Government to review all the documents that have informed decisions in relation to Manston to date, the Minister has today told the Leader of Thanet District Council on the basis of the independent PWC analysis that he “is satisfied by the indemnity offered by RiverOak to protect the council against the costs of the Compulsory Purchase Order.”

John Hayes said: “I have been paying close attention to the future of Manston Airport throughout my time in the Department for Transport. And I believe the announcements I have made today are huge steps towards securing Manston’s future as a working airport. It is further evidence that it really is possible for Craig Mackinlay and Sir Roger Gale to deliver their five-point plan for Manston. Now, if local people want to see that plan implemented, they have to vote Conservative on May 7th – because while others may shout from the sidelines, the Conservatives have the strength to deliver.”

Craig Mackinlay said: “The good news just keeps on coming. I have wanted to give Manston a long-term future as a working airport for a long time. That’s why, back in 2001, I tried to launch a low-cost airline flying mainly from Manston to Malaga. So I’ve always been committed to the place. With the Conservative five-point plan to save Manston and the great news announced by the minister today, I am more confident than ever that we will succeed.

“The reason we are making such good progress is down to the fact that we have such a strong Conservative team, which includes Sir Roger Gale in North Thanet, important Ministers like John Hayes and the Secretary of State Patrick McLoughlin, together with a team of Conservative councillors, led by Bob Bayford. In contrast, UKIP – who have jumped on the bandwagon with Manston as with so many other issues – don’t have the power to deliver and to date have contributed nothing to this effort whatsoever.

Roger Gale has added:

“The fact that Bristows, a strong commercial organisation, are prepared to demonstrate their faith in Manston and their willingness to give us time to get the airport operational again speaks volumes. Search & Rescue will be coming home to the airfield where it belongs and this should send out a clear message, if nothing else does, that the Government means business and that there is no “Plan B”. I understand that there may be those who will say “It will all change after the election”. Those people are, quite simply, wrong. We are in this for the long haul: the nation needs Manston Airport, Kent – with or without the Leader of KCC – needs Manston Airport and Thanet needs Manston Airport and that is what we are going to have”.

And the Leader of Thanet`s Conservatives, Cllr. Bob Bayford, has said;

“I am satisfied that it is safe to proceed on the basis of the assurances given by Price Waterhouse Coopers via the Minister of State and can therefore say today, without equivocation, that a Conservative controlled council elected on May 7th will take immediate steps to instigate the processes necessary to compulsorily purchase Manston Airport on a back-to-back deal that will enable the airport to return to full operational status as swiftly as possible. Too much time has been lost and too much uncertainty caused already and we need to get on with this” (ENDS)

The Conservative Five-Point Plan to Save Manston Airport

The news comes just a week after Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, endorsed the five-point plan to save Manston that was developed by Craig Mackinlay, the Conservative candidate for South Thanet, and Sir Roger Gale, the Conservative candidate for North Thanet.

McLoughlin also used his visit to the area to confirm that a Conservative Government will make sure that the Civil Aviation Authority will grant the licence needed for Manston to re-open as a working airport as swiftly as possible.

The five-point plan is as follows:

Appoint PWC to report on the future of Manston: Patrick McLoughlin, the Conservative Transport Secretary, and John Hayes, the Conservative Transport Minister, commissioned PWC to provide an independent review of all the documents that have informed decisions in relation to Manston in March. PWC are expected to provide an interim report soon.

Block planning consent for the proposed development: Craig Mackinlay and Sir Roger Gale will lobby Thanet District Council to block planning consent for the development proposed by the new owners of Manston.

Compulsorily purchase the airport: Craig Mackinlay and Sir Roger Gale are calling for Thanet District Council to issue a Compulsory Purchase Order, backed up with financial indemnities, for Manston Airport.

Deliver the certification needed for the airport to re-open: Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, has announced that a Conservative Government will make sure that the Civil Aviation Authority will grant the licence needed for Manston to re-open as a working airport as swiftly as possible.

Enlist commercial partners for the future: Craig Mackinlay and Sir Roger Gale will work with private sector companies to make sure Manston will re-open as a working airport and remain as such. RiverOak – an American firm interested in buying Manston and running it as an airport – has already called on the Council to issue a Compulsory Purchase Order to block the proposed development.

Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, said: “I welcome Craig’s plan to keep Manston open as a working airport, and I can confirm that a future Conservative Government will make sure that the Civil Aviation Authority will grant the licence needed for Manston to operate as an airport in future. The election in South Thanet is a two-horse race between the Conservatives and UKIP – and it is clear that if you want to save Manston Airport, you have to vote Conservative.”

Eric Pickles, the Communities and Local Government Secretary, said: “I cannot pre-judge any quasi-judicial decisions that will need to be made by my department in future, but Craig and Roger`s plan for the future of Manston Airport is compelling. It goes to show that the voters of South Thanet have a simple choice. They can vote for UKIP who can shout from the sidelines but deliver nothing. Or they can vote for Craig Mackinlay, who – because he’s part of a team consisting of government ministers and the next leader of Thanet District Council – that will get things done for local people

The official, registered South Thanet Candidates for 2015 are –

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Name of Candidate

Home Address

Description

(if any)

Name of Assentors

Proposer(+), Seconder(++)

Reason why no longer nominated*

ABU-OBADIAH

Zebadiah

(address in the North Thanet Constituency) Al-Zebabist Nation of Ooog Tobin Liam P +

Ward Simon J

Taylor Samuel

Smyth Matthew F

Owen Lynton

Andrews Karl ++

La Roche Bunny

Leach Ethan S

Pattinson Emma

Brear David

ASKEW

Nigel

(address in the Camden Constituency) We Are The Reality Party Warne Daisy E +

Whale Glastonbury N S

Holden Debra-Anne

Hackett Elizabeth K T

Hackett Liam

Hackett Laura ++

King Teresa C

Jennings David R

Hackett Martin T

French Lisa S G

BAILEY

Ruth Angela

(address in the South Thanet Constituency) Manston Airport Independent Party Harris Elaine +

May Shirley A

Studd Peter J

Potter Teresa

Harris Graham A

Harries Kimberley A ++

Watts Christine M

Martin Anthea F

Potter David

Jordan Neil A

BIRCHALL

Grahame George

(address in the South Thanet Constituency) Party for a United Thanet Abel Marion L +

Tadman Gary D

Ross John K

Hirst Karen

Ben-Brahim Mairi

Abel Peter W ++

Ross Sylvia H

Solly Sandra

Hirst Paul J

Hanchett Josephine L

DRIVER

Ian

45 Sea View Road, Broadstairs, Kent, CT10 1BX The Green Party Tillett Sean +

Brogan-Dove Ciaran

Sherwood Adrian

Young Graham D

McCarthy Wayne J

Dove Clare ++

Macmahon Joan N

Bowden Oriol A M

McCarthy John S

Fernandez Henry L

FARAGE

Nigel Paul

Flat 10 ,St Placids Apartments, 1-2, Victoria Parade, Ramsgate, CT11 8DE UKIP Fairbrass Belinda +

Terry Pauline E

Condie Ann S

Shonk Mandy E

Wisker Jean A

Fuller Bowen ET ++

Heale Martyn

Falcon Janet I

Shonk Trevor L

Wendholt Philip W

MACKINLAY

Craig

3 Sion Court, Sion Hill, Ramsgate, CT11 9JA The Conservative Party Candidate Conolly Lynne +

Kirkpatrick Jeffrey

Savage Jason

Gregory Ian J

Addis Sharon E

Bradbury Miranda N ++

Hatchett Andrew P

Binks Rosalind

Gregory Patricia P

Friedlos Ann

MCCASTREE

Dean Bert

(address in the North Thanet Constituency) Independent Garner Patrick +

Mwangi Lucy

Okesola Stella O

Lamb Manjula

Oyediran Eileen I

Garner Joanna ++

Sewell Pauline

Okesola Nelson O

Lamb Dave S

Oyediran Adebayo A

MURRAY

Al

(address in the Brentford and Isleworth Constituency) Salmi Vicki +

Archer Richard W

Fothergill John P A

Jones Dianna

Wood Nathan

Eaton James R ++

Litton Christopher J

Shaw Margaret

Horner Jonathan C

Johnson Mark

SCOBIE

Will

5 Hadlow Drive, Cliftonville, Kent, CT9 3YQ Labour Party Smith Anthony R +

Pestell David

Crawford Fiona

Lucas Lynne A

Timmins Fergus J

Pitt William H +

Gifford Thomas A

Derrane Ruzena M

MacDonald Thomas O

Young James E

Smith Minette M ++

Pestell Caroline A

Lucas Edward J

Bull Linda A

Timmins Jeanette

Ungerson Clare E J ++

Poole Alan R

Fitt Duncan M

Lodge-Pritchard Elaine A

Nottingham Mark E

TIMPSON

Russell James

Morella Villa, Durlock Road, Ash, CT3 2HU Liberal Democrats Brazier John W +

O`Donoghue Carolynne A

Harrison Michael B

Stanley-Webb Matt

Chapman Rosemary

Whitehouse Stephen A ++

Fox Anne E

Perry Richard G H

Jordan Lesley

Hardy Gillian

*Decision of the Acting Returning Officer that the nomination is invalid or other reason why a person nominated no longer stands nominated.

The persons above against whose name no entry is made in the last column have been and stand validly nominated.

A POLL WILL BE TAKEN on Thursday 7 May 2015 between the hours of 7:00 am and 10:00 pm.

Where contested this poll is taken together with the election of Parish Councillors and the election of District Councillors.

A Statement from the Manston Airport Independent Party 6.4.15

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Since the closure of the airport was announced, just over a year ago, I have worked tirelessly, on both the SMA and the SuMA Committees, with the sole objective of restoring Manston Airport to aviation use.
Last Autumn, when it was announced that Nigel Farage was going to stand for UKIP in South Thanet, I decided that this would be an opportune time to escalate the Manston campaign onto a bigger stage. My reasoning was that with Farage there would inevitably follow a huge amount of National media interest. So I decided, there and then, that I would run against him for the Parliamentary seat in South Thanet. Further motives for standing were to act as a thorn in the side of all the political parties and to keep the issue of the airport to the forefront of their minds.
I gathered a team together and we worked through the complexities of registering the Party, creating a logo, website, business cards and all the accoutrement that goes with a political campaign to form the Manston Airport Independent Party.
Almost immediately two of the main political Parties contacted me wanting to meet – to date I have had meetings with three of the main Parties. The agenda was more or less the same each time – to ask me to either stand down or to run as one of their candidates. I politely refused both invitations. Promises were made, deals were suggested and even some cautionary tactics deployed. To each party I said the same thing that I would step aside if, and only if, the airport was secured before April 9th when the deposit needs to be paid.
To date my purpose in standing has proved moderately successful. In accordance with the Electoral Commission rules, whenever one candidate is mentioned, interviewed or invited to a public hustings then the others, including the Manston Airport Independent Party, must also be in the interests of balance.
I have attended hustings, I have been interviewed, I was even mentioned in a couple of National newspapers. However, it is not me that is important but every time that I am mentioned so is the name of Manston Airport Independent Party. It is keeping the campaign very much alive.
The Conservatives are, obviously, doing the most for the Manston campaign purely for the fact that they have been in power both locally and nationally for the past year. Sir Roger Gale’s efforts cannot be faulted. He, along with Laura Sandys, has done everything humanly possible to restore the airport. However the Government did not really show an interest until the election loomed and Farage declared that he was standing in South Thanet. Recently the Conservatives have signed a five-point pledge to do all they can to save the airport. The Government has also engaged PricewaterhouseCooper to examine the credentials of the American company RiverOak who wish to purchase and operate the airport. PWC will also examine TDC’s questionable handling of the CPO procedure which resulted in a vote of no confidence in RiverOak. At the end of the day however, visits from Government Ministers spouting rhetoric are fine and dandy but what we really need to see is action.
The Conservatives have, unfortunately, also been let down by the maverick Leader of Kent County Council, Paul Carter, who sides with the regeneration team that wish to build the biggest Business Park in Kent despite there being hundreds of empty business units in Thanet.
Nigel Farage has realised, or been told, what an important local issue Manston is and promises that, if a majority UKIP Local Council is returned, they will immediately Compulsory Purchase the Airport. One does wonder, however, why he hasn’t done anything for the airport before in his capacity as MEP.
There is no doubt a lot of electioneering currently in play and a lot of promises being made. How realistic are these promises? How much credence can we give to any of the Party’s pledges? Once the election is over and their role secured will they just drop the Manston issue like a stone? Are the main parties just stringing us along for votes?
It is three days until the Election nominations close, the airport is still shut. Non-aviation related businesses are moving into hangars on the site and there is no immediate sign of any major breakthroughs.
Therefore, on Tuesday morning, I have an appointment with the Returning Officer at Thanet District Council offices to go and pay the £500 deposit.
I have thought long and hard about whether or not this is the right thing to do. I do have a residual nagging worry that my candidature could split the vote and let in someone who will not proceed with the campaign but, with eleven candidates standing, that could be said of any one of the other six minority parties too.
At the end of the day I have made a commitment and, in the absence of any definite action from any of the major political parties, I am going to see it through. I’m doing this for those that believe in what I am doing, for those that have supported me with advice and kind words, for those that have donated money to my campaign and in order to keep the publicity going. I am doing it entirely for Manston Airport.

Ruth Bailey
PPC Thanet South,
Manston Aiport Independent Party

‪#‎savemanston‬ ‪#‎votemanston2015‬

Latest Update from RiverOak after Minister’s Visit on 9th April 2015

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RiverOak welcomes news Minister ‘satisfied’ with indeminity offered to Thanet District Council

Stephen DeNardo, Chief Executive of RiverOak Investments said:

“RiverOak warmly welcomes the news that, following the PwC review of our documentation, Minister for State John Hayes has today told Thanet District Council that he is “satisfied by the indemnity offered by RiverOak to protect the council against the costs of the Compulsory Purchase Order.” We are equally delighted to hear of the one-year deal struck with Bristow which paves the way for the Search and Rescue helicopters to return to Manston once the airport reopens.

“RiverOak remains absolutely committed to reviving Manston as an operational airport, home to a wide range of operators including Search and Rescue services – as well as a thriving and profitable air cargo, aircraft recycling and reliever airport operation, for the long term benefit of not only East Kent, but users of the whole of the London airports system too.”

Initial Report on Manston Airport submitted by PWC

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Consultant PwC has submitted its initial progress report on its review of decisions about the future of Manston Airport, the Department for Transport announced today (27 March 2015).

The Kent airport closed on 15 May 2014 and Thanet District Council has subsequently been seeking a deal to secure its future.

The Prime Minister made a commitment to do everything he can to help. Creating more jobs so more people have the security of a regular wage is part of the government’s long-term economic plan for South Thanet, and Manston Airport has a vital role to play.

PwC was appointed earlier this month to review the documents that have informed decisions so far.

As part of its work, PwC will seek to understand RiverOak’s financial status as an indemnity partner in the compulsory purchase order process and its readiness to commit funding to secure a deal with Thanet District Council.

It will provide a final report to the department by the end of May 2015.

Transport Minister John Hayes said:

I am pleased that PwC has been able to start this important work so swiftly. I have made clear that I recognise the strong interest in reopening Manston Airport which is why the government is doing all it can to secure its future.

Having appointed PwC to do a thorough and independent analysis of the documentation on this issue, the outcome will support Thanet District Council in agreeing a way forward on the airport’s future. The government is doing everything possible to support them in doing so.

This is the next step in ensuring the right future for Manston airport and the local economy.

The department will announce the outcome of the review in due course.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/pwc-submits-initial-report-on-manston-airport

BACA calls for Manston airport to reopen – IoTG

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BACA calls for Manston airport to reopen

By TomBarnes  |  Posted: March 16, 2015

THE Baltic Air Charter Association (BACA) has called for the Department for Transport to investigate why Manston  was allowed to close in a short timeframe.

BACA, the world’s largest air charter organisation with over 220 members, says reopening the airport as a cargo hub would free up capacity at other UK airports

A statement from the organisation said: “A key factor in BACA’s decision is that for many years Manston was the RAF master diversion airport and as such always provided a valuable service to the whole aviation industry.

“Manston has one of the widest runways in the UK and is capable of handling every type of aeroplane, including extremely large commercial and military aircraft

“While it is apparent that Manston is never going to handle 50 million passengers a year it could free up capacity

at other airports by becoming a hub for air cargo, taking 5-10 freighters a day.

“Manston’s runway can already handle the world’s largest aircraft; A380, B747, AN-124 aircraft, without any modifications.

“This will potentially free up 2,000 inbound and 2,000 outbound UK runway slots annually.

“Utilising Manston as a dedicated cargo hub could free up capacity at other UK airports to focus on passenger and non-cargo traffic.

“By adopting similar plans at other airports, such as the recently announced closures of the RAF bases at Mildenhall, Alconbury and Molesworth, this proposal can offer a solution to the future

shortage of UK runway capacity. This is the proposal that BACA supports.

“BACA asks for the UK Department for Transport to investigate why Manston airport was allowed to close so quickly and to lend their support to all the local and international companies that are prepared to invest and reopen the airport.”

Stagecoach bus tycoon Ann Gloag closed Manston last May, axing 150 workers in the process. The airport had been losing a reported £10,000 per day.

Current owners, Discover Park chiefs Chris Musgrave and Trevor Cartner, acquired a majority stake in the site in September.

Mr Musgrave and Mr Cartner are planning to oversee a £1 billion redevelopment of the former airport, with the aim of providing 4,000 jobs across a mixed use development.

A report released by the Transport Select Committee on Friday slammed Kent County Council’s lack of action after it was announced Manston would close.

Select Committee Report Precis 12.3.15

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The release of the Select Committee report is very welcome. It reflects the oral evidence hearing at Portcullis House and substantiates much of what we already knew from months of research. Ruth  #votemanston2015

The Select Committee Report on Manston Airport 

Ann Gloag

Manston Skyport contested RiverOak’s claim that it had offered £7 million to purchase Manston airport.54 RiverOak later provided documentary evidence to back up this claim.55

If Ann Gloag’s motivation was to run Manston as an airport, accepting RiverOak’s £7 million offer would have allowed her to correct her initial error in purchasing the airport and left her with a generous profit.

RiverOak has maintained its interest in purchasing Manston and operating it as an airport.

TDC

We welcome Councillor Johnston’s commitment to due diligence. We agree that risks should, so far as is possible, be transferred to the private sector to protect the interests of council taxpayers. However, we question whether a small district council has sufficient funds or legal and financial expertise to handle a case of this magnitude. For example, TDC told us that it spent £26,000 on legal advice in relation to the proposed CPO.68 That sum was unlikely to provide TDC with adequate advice in relation to indemnification by a US company or to allow it to understand RiverOak’s business plan and operating model.

Recommendations; We expect higher-tier local government bodies to fulfil their strategic oversight functions by supporting local planning authorities in resolving one-off, complex cases involving nationally significant transport assets.

Kent County Council

  1. Kent County Council (KCC) is the local transport authority for Kent, which means it has strategic oversight of aviation in the county. On 17 July 2014, KCC considered the case of Manston airport. County councillors agreed the following motion by 82 votes to nil:

 

That Kent County Council supports the actions taken so far by Thanet District Council to retain Manston as a regional airport. We recognise the value that a regional airport brings to East Kent and are disappointed at its closure. Kent County Council will explore with Thanet District Council ways in which it can support proposals to retain Manston as an airport.69

Paul Carter, Leader, KCC, attended and voted at that meeting.

  1. In September 2014, Paul Carter commented on the sale of Manston to Chris Musgrave and Trevor Cartner:

 

Chris Musgrave and Trevor Cartner have a fantastic track record in taking over large and difficult sites following the demise of earlier uses, and regenerating them to create jobs and bring economic benefits to the wider area. Their team has done this at Wynyard Park in Billingham, where they have created 2,000 jobs and attracted £200 million of private investment, and at Discovery Park here in Kent where more than 1,000 new jobs have been added to the 600 that Pfizer left behind. I have every confidence that they can do even more at Manston.70

Paul Carter’s remarks in September 2014 were inconsistent with the motion agreed by KCC on 17 July 2014.

  1. We asked Paul Carter to explain his position. He told us that “the motion that was supported unanimously by the county council said we would be prepared to support Thanet district council in a CPO process at Manston, provided a viable and thriving airport could be delivered at Manston.”71 He subsequently admitted that there was no such caveat to the KCC motion.72 He also reiterated his enthusiasm for the redevelopment of the Manston site rather than its operating as an airport.73 We asked him whether Trevor Cartner or Chris Musgrave had shown him detailed plans for the redevelopment. He replied, “They showed me nothing.”
  2. Recommendations; Kent County Council has the legal and financial resources to assess complex CPO cases. Despite having agreed a motion to support Thanet District Council, it failed to deploy those assets. In failing to support Thanet District Council’s scrutiny of the proposed CPO at Manston, Kent County Council also failed to fulfil its strategic oversight function as the local transport authority.

Role of the DfT

  1. The DfT interceded in the Manston case following TDC’s decision not to proceed with a compulsory purchase order. In December 2014, the Minister of State, DfT, John Hayes MP, chaired a meeting with interested parties and agreed to co-ordinate work across Government to explore all options to secure the airport’s future. That the DfT judged it necessary to intervene in the Manston case shows the extent to which Kent County Council failed to fulfil its strategic oversight role.
  2. In February 2015, more than two months after the DfT intervened, we asked the Under-Secretary of State, DfT, Robert Goodwill MP, what progress had been made. He told us that the DfT was doing “everything we can to facilitate a rescue deal so that aviation can continue at Manston, if that be possible”.75
  3. We asked the Minister to explain the nature of the DfT’s intervention over the past two months. He explained that

Thanet council supplied the Department for Transport with the papers they considered in reaching their decision that RiverOak were not a suitable indemnity party for the compulsory purchase process. A review of the papers supplied to the Department by Thanet council is one of a number of options being considered.76

On 5 March 2015, the DfT announced that it will “appoint a consultant to review the process so far on decisions about the future of Manston airport.”

We welcome the DfT’s decision to appoint a consultant to examine the Manston case.

The uncertainty faced by the public and other interested parties could have been reduced if it had not taken three months before the DfT acted.

The DfT should set out clear terms of reference for the consultant who is contracted to examine the Manston decision-making process and place them in the public domain. Those terms of reference should include (a) an explicit requirement to assess whether RiverOak is an appropriate indemnity partner for Thanet District Council; (b) a deadline for the consultant to report back to the DfT; and (c) an expeditious timescale for subsequent DfT decision making. To ensure that similar cases are handled promptly and effectively in future, the Government should clarify precisely how (a) central Government and (b) higher-tier local authorities are responsible for supporting lower-tier planning authorities in cases where a strategic transport asset is subject to a proposed compulsory purchase order.

  1. We asked the Minister which powers the DfT had used to intervene in the Manston case. He said that he did “not think that the United Kingdom Government, unlike maybe the Scottish or the Welsh Government, are in the position of wanting to intervene directly to take over operations of an airport.”78 We agree that there is no general case for the Government to purchase airports, including Manston.

We questioned whether the DfT has any other powers short of nationalisation in cases where a strategic transport asset might be at risk. The Minister told us that “we have the powers that we need, for example, to work with the CAA … It is very important indeed that we explore all the avenues we can and ensure that whatever powers we have in terms of the Government can be used to their fullest effect.”79 The DfT should review what powers it has to intervene in cases where strategic transport assets are at risk and whether those powers are fit for purpose.

Conclusions and recommendations of the case study: Manston Airport

  1. We recommend that Ann Gloag places the joint venture agreement between herself, Chris Musgrave and Trevor Cartner to redevelop Manston in the public domain to make it clear who would benefit from the proposed redevelopment of Manston and to repudiate allegations of asset-stripping. We would be happy to publish this document on our website. (Paragraph 46)
  2. We expect higher-tier local government bodies to fulfil their strategic oversight functions by supporting local planning authorities in resolving one-off, complex cases involving nationally significant transport assets.
  3. Kent County Council has the legal and financial resources to assess complex CPO

cases. Despite having agreed a motion to support Thanet District Council, it failed to

deploy those assets. In failing to support Thanet District Council’s scrutiny of the

proposed CPO at Manston, Kent County Council also failed to fulfil its strategic

oversight function as the local transport authority.

That the DfT judged it necessary to intervene in the Manston case shows the extent

to which Kent County Council failed to fulfil its strategic oversight role.

We welcome the DfT’s decision to appoint a consultant to examine the Manston

case. The uncertainty faced by the public and other interested parties could have

been reduced if it had not taken three months before the DfT acted.

The DfT should set out clear terms of reference for the consultant who is contracted to examine the Manston decision-making process and place them in the public domain.        Those terms of reference should include

(a) an explicit requirement to assess whether RiverOak is an appropriate indemnity partner for Thanet District Council;

(b) a deadline for the consultant to report back to the DfT;

(c) an expeditious timescale for subsequent DfT decision making.

To ensure that similar cases are handled promptly and effectively in future, the Government should clarify precisely how (a) central Government and (b) higher-tier local authorities are responsible for supporting lower-tier planning authorities in cases where a strategic transport asset is subject to a proposed compulsory purchase order.

We agree that there is no general case for the Government to purchase airports,

including Manston. (Paragraph 56)

The DfT should review what powers it has to intervene in cases where strategic

transport assets are at risk and whether those powers are fit for purpose.

In addition

Airports Commission – General

  1. The whole country will be able to share in the economic benefits of an expanded hub airport in the south-east only if that expansion entails airlines securing sufficient slots to maintain services to smaller airports in the English regions, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The way in which new slots at an expanded hub airport in the south-east might be allocated is currently opaque. The DfT should assess (a) how new slots might be allocated; (b) whether some of those slots could be ring-fenced for domestic services to smaller airports; (c) whether the Public Service Obligation mechanism could be applied to new services using any such new slots; and (d) what proportion of new slots would need to be allocated to flights to UK smaller airports to support regional connectivity effectively. (Paragraph 35)
  2. We recognise that the Airports Commission has carefully defined the scope of its inquiry. Nevertheless, we note that it has on occasion considered the role of smaller airports. We encourage the Airports Commission to reflect on the role of smaller airports in its final report. In particular, it should consider how new slots at an expanded hub airport in the south-east might be allocated to services to smaller airports in the UK. (Paragraph 36)