Monday, 28 April 2014


Cllr Clive Hart - Labour TDC Leader

UKIP county councillor and former TDC Deputy Leader Roger Latchford has falsely tried to blame TDC's position on night flights as the reason for Manston's current problems. At a public meeting at Winter Gardens on Saturday he also tried to blame the existing 106 agreement for the airports current situation.

The fact is that the TDC position on night flying was the councils agreed view following public consultation and full and open debate in the council chamber. For further clarity it should be noted that TDC is a hung council with no political party in overall control and where no single party makes the final decision. It is also the case that in any event the final decision on night flights is with the owners themselves and neither Infratil or the new owners have ever come back with any final proposals on the issue. A major factor is undoubtedly that airport owners would need to provide 24/7 emergency cover which is extremely expensive and the current airport owner and her representatives have not indicated any real necessity for night flights for the airport to succeed.

Ironically, the existing 106 agreement is the same document that was in place during all of Roger Latchford's time as a TDC councillor and whilst he was a former Deputy leader. During that time no attempt was ever made to review the agreement. 

However, under our new administration, TDC does now have a Cabinet Advisory Group established and standing by to renegotiate the 106. The group was understandably 'stood down' temporarily following the recent sale of the airport and whilst the new owners finalised their plans for Manston, but will be ready to reconvene quickly if and when required. 

The fact of the matter is that night flights are not the reason for the current owners consulting on closure of the airport. Economic viability is clearly the real issue. 

We are supportive of sustainable development at Manston and will therefore continue our push for enterprise zone status which has been so favourably welcomed by our partners at KCC and through the South East England Local Enterprise Partnership.

Thanet Labour group.

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