UKIP win means Manston Airport buyout

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Manston Airport is expected to be subject to a compulsory purchase order (CPO), but no timetable for the purchase has been set, following the Thursday 7 May Thanet District Council (TDC) election win for the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP).

UKIP’s election campaign included a pledge to carry out a CPO, which the previous Labour controlled TDC had deferred last year. Manston Airport closed on 15 May 2014, despite local campaigns to keep it open and RiverOak Investment offering the owner, Manston Skyport, £7 million ($11 million). RiverOak subsequently made an offer to the TDC to be a CPO partner for the council. The Labour Thanet council deferred the CPO because it did not accept RiverOak’s offer. 

TDC leader elect, and leader of UKIP on the council, Chris Wells, tells Air Cargo Week (ACW): “I want Manston reopened as soon as possible. UKIP supports the concept of the CPO. I believe the judgement made by the previous [Labour TDC] administration was flawed.” However, Wells could not give ACW a timetable for a Manston CPO but RiverOak says it remains committed to: “get Manston Airport operational again as soon as possible”. On 7 May, the UK held national parliamentary and local council elections. The Conservative party won the national election and its member of parliament, Sir Roger Gale, for Thanet North, where Manston is located, has supported a CPO; Gale was unavailable for comment.