The recent statement from Kent County Council is an accurate summary and a welcome clarification. Its arguments and conclusions match those of No Night Flights and Manston Pickle, for the simple reason that they too are based on facts and evidence.
It’s refreshing to see the important distinction being drawn between the nostalgia and sentimentality that has characterised much of the “pro-CPO” campaign, and the vision and hard-headed realism that must guide the future use of the site.
Aviation Minister Robert Goodwill has emphasised that the commercial realities of a competitive market must over-ride any desires to intervene. You can’t buck the market, and Manston has proved a failure in the aviation market.
For years Manston was seen as key to local regeneration, and was given every assistance. Kent County Council fully backed the airport at Manston in principle and in practice, in words and deeds. So did Thanet District Council. Despite this, Manston failed as an airport. Kent County Council has correctly moved from bending over backwards to help Manston Airport to throwing its weight behind “Plan B”. This is to be applauded.
The CPO proposal is a blind alley, a red herring. The shameless electioneering by those calling for a CPO is damaging East Kent's economy by holding back the owners’ development and job creation plans for the site. Our elected representatives, at all levels, must work with the legal owners of the site to produce the best outcome for East Kent.
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