Potential Manston Airport buyer shows local government the money

Manston Airport before it was closed in 2014

Manston Airport’s compulsory purchase order (CPO) by Thanet District Council (TDC) has come one step closer with potential CPO partner, US investment firm, RiverOak Investment, providing evidence of financing with £1,325,000 ($2 million).

The US firm provided the money to its solicitors after a request for financial evidence by the UK Independence Party (UKIP) controlled TDC. The council is reviewing its position on Manston Airport, an electoral pledge by UKIP before it won control of the TDC on 5 May in local elections. RiverOak wants to return the Manston site to an airport business and would act as the council’s indemnity partner.

The TDC would compulsory purchase the Manston site from its owners, if the council decides its return as an airport is viable. Council leader, councillor Chris Wells, says: “We have to be absolutely certain that the financial evidence is in place. I look forward to receiving the information as promised to provide the assurances we need in order to progress.”

In July, Air Cargo Week was informed by the TDC that a decision on reviving Manston Airport could be taken, “in weeks”. The members of the TDC decision making body, the cabinet, agreed on Tuesday 14 July at an extraordinary meeting to review the Labour controlled TDC December 2014 decision not to revive Manston.

Manston Skyport, which owned the airport, closed it on 15 May 2014. The site was then sold to property developers. RiverOak claims that by 2030, Manston could handle 250,000 tonnes if it also specialised in perishables.