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Setback for campaigners hoping to reopen Manston Airport in Kent

Campaigners fighting to reopen Manston Airport have suffered a further set back. The Cabinet committee on Thanet District Council has tonight voted to take no further action on the airport at the present time. It had been hoped the council would compulsory purchase the site - which closed last Spring. It has now been sold to developers who plan to use the area for manufacturing and housing.

River Oak 'disappointed' at airport recommendations

“RiverOak Investments is surprised and disappointed at the recommendations being made by Thanet District Council to its councillors not to proceed with the compulsory purchase of Manston Airport in Kent.

We believe that the council is making a very serious error of judgement not only in respect of the economy of Thanet and East Kent, but also in respect of runway capacity in the South East of England. We were further surprised that in Thanet District Council’s press release it would appear that the Council has already decided the CPO issue in advance of the Cabinet meeting we understood was to occur next week.

Over the last few months we believe we have delivered to the Council all the relevant paperwork and information that they have asked for, and throughout we have stood by our commitment to cover all the costs of the CPO.

We will take time to read the report, study its implications and formulate the appropriate response, but I would like to reiterate that our plan costs the taxpayer nothing and yet it preserves a strategically important piece of transport infrastructure and returns it to productive economic use.”

– Stephen DeNardo, Chief Executive of RiverOak Investments

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Thanet District Council report recommends no further action on Manston CPO

Manston Airport closed in May Credit: ITV Meridian

Cabinet Members are to consider a report next week (Thursday 11 December) which recommends that no further action be taken at the present time on a compulsory purchase of Manston Airport.

The recommendation follows a soft-market testing exercise carried out by the council which failed to identify a suitable indemnity partner - a third party who would cover all the costs of a CPO.

Without the finances to pursue a CPO in its own right, the council has been clear that compulsory purchase of the airport could only be considered if there was an appropriate financial partner.

A potential indemnity partner needed to provide assurance that if a decision was made to pursue a CPO, a viable airport could come into sustainable long-term operation as quickly as reasonably possible – without any residual cost to the council. As such the council needed to identify a partner who could cover the costs of both purchasing the site and completing the development.

As part of the soft market testing exercise, the council has not identified any suitable expressions of interest that fulfil the requirements of the council for a CPO indemnity partner.

– Statement from Thanet District Council

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Council will still consider a CPO of Manston Airport

"The council is already part-way through a process to review whether compulsory purchase of the site is a viable option following a petition presented to the council on 10 July.

The outcome of a soft-market testing exercise to identify suitable indemnity partners to cover all of the associated costs of a CPO will be taken to Cabinet on Thursday 16 October.

The council will then undertake a wider review of the options for the site and as part of this would seek further details from the new site owners to understand more about their proposal.

A report outlining all of the options for the future of the privately-owned site will then be brought to a Full Council meeting for all 56 Councillors to consider.

The council has been clear that a CPO will not go ahead unless there is evidence of the economic viability of the site operating as an airport and a suitable investor identified to cover all of the costs required."

– Thanet District Council
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