Thanet aims at 2015 Manston decision

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Thanet District Council may approve the draft Local Plan for Thanet to 2031 on 11 December for public consultation in January 2015, which will include its preferred options the future of Manston Airport.

Manston Airport will be designated an “Opportunity Area” to prepare a Manston Airport area action plan (AAP) development plan document. The AAP will consider future development plans for the airport and the surrounding area, which will consider whether it should remain an airport or be given another use.

It says Thanet benefits from having an airport but: “There is uncertainty regarding the future of the airport.” The plans says the council supports, “The sustainable development and regeneration of Manston Airport to enable it to function as a local region airport … or as an opportunity site promoting mixed-use development that will deliver high quality employment.”

The council says the closure of Manston gives an opportunity to assess future options for the airport, as it says, “A successful airport has the potential to be a significant catalyst for economic growth.” Though it warns that future developments must not impede future operation and expansion at the airport.

The plan will consider how to take advantage of what it calls: “the unique conflux of a major seaport, an international airport and high speed rail” around the town of Ramsgate.

Kent County Council highlighted the importance of Manston in its transport delivery plan Growth without Gridlock for its ability to cater for freight movement. Manston is close to the A299 trunk road, the M2 motorway as well as the ports of Ramsgate and Dover.

Manston, which closed in May, was sold to individuals Chris Musgrave and Trevor Cartner in September. They plan to redevelop the site over 20 years to include homes, offices and light industry.

In November 2013 the airport had been purchased by Ann Gloag for £1 ($1.56), who set up a company called Manston Skyport to manage the airport, but was losing £10,000 a day when it closed on 15 May 2014. Prior to the purchase by Musgrave and Cartner, there had been talks with US investment firm, RiverOak Investment to fund a Thanet District Council compulsory purchase order.

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