Monday, 30 January 2012

Response to Laura Sandys MP

Thanet Labour decision is reasonable, proportionate and appropriate
By Cllr Clive Hart - Leader of Thanet District Council (TDC)
Let me be absolutely clear.
My decision to change the public consultation on night flights proposals at Manston follows legal advice given to the council which explains that at this stage, the proposals DO NOT require a planning application.  Just as importantly, the advice goes on to state that the council’s role is one of CONSULTEE ONLY and as such the council will not be in a position to make a binding decision on night time flying at this stage.
My Conservative predecessor Cllr Bob Bayford had already spent several months and tens of thousands of pounds on this process before Labour took control of the council. His plans would have seen the council spend around a further £50,000 of public money on consultants to run the consultation process his way. Cllr Bayford may have been content to use ratepayers hard earned cash in this way and apparently Laura Sandys would like us do the same, but Labour will do precisely what is reasonable, proportionate and appropriate.
As for Laura Sandys' accusation that I am in some way 'watering down' the process, nothing could be further from the truth. The new TDC consultation process approach will now be focused here in Thanet with a strong weighting for the opinions of those directly affected by the proposals. I firmly believe this to be reasonable, proportionate and appropriate.
It is clear my Conservative predecessor was struggling with this issue. He had created a monster of a process that had got completely out of control. It would have left the council in the ridiculous position of spending enormous amounts of time and effort and a small fortune of public money on a consultation process that was only ever going to be used to form the council's 'opinion'.
Thanet residents, the airport consultative committee and the airports Chief Executive all complained to me about the long drawn out process we had inherited from the previous Conservative administration that was getting us nowhere. I therefore acted swiftly and did exactly what was reasonable, proportionate and appropriate.
Last but not least, I am pleased to see that on the serious issue of the environmental impact of the proposals, Laura Sandys shares exactly the same concerns as Thanet Labour and is firmly against night flights! 


  1. Who was the legal advice given by, not Parsons Brinkerhoff I hope as that's not there area of expertise. Can you release precisely what your advice was based on?

    How about a bit of honesty as to why TDC are in this mess and an apology to the residents who will now face the brunt of this calamity?

  2. It is my view that Councillor Hart has acted correctly on this issue

    (Independent Group Member TDC)