American investment firm RiverOak could turn to courts if Manston CPO deal with Thanet council rejected

In an article today by Paul Francis, on KentOnline, RiverOak has indicated that it could turn to the courts to continue the fight for Manston Airport even if Thanet District Council decides not to become its partner in a Compulsory Purchase Order.

Link to Article

“The American investment company that wants to force a buyout of Manston has indicated it could turn to the courts to continue its fight if Thanet council decides not to become its partner in a compulsory purchase order (CPO).

Bosses of the RiverOak investment firm say they have other options should the council’s ruling Ukip cabinet vote against a CPO – as is considered by come increasingly likely.

The company has been in lengthy talks with Thanet about becoming its partner in a compulsory purchase order for the former airfield.”

To date it has spent $1m on the CPO proposal.

It did not elaborate what other options it could pursue but it is signalled that it may involve going to court to challenge the “reasonableness” of any decision by the council.

The company’s managing director George Yerrall underlined that RiverOak was “in for the long haul” and would not give up the battle regardless of a decision by the council’s cabinet expected later his month.

He also revealed the company and council had no further talks planned over the CPO.

“We are not talking with them directly right now. We are still convinced that despite what Cllr Wells says in public, he does not want to do a CPO,” he said.

He said the company did not want to respond to accusations by the Ukip leader Nigel Farage that there had been a “dirty tricks” campaign against the council leader Chris Wells.

“That is a political situation. We have put all the information there for all to see.”

Asked whether RiverOak would walk away if Thanet council decided not to team up with RiverOak as an indemnity partner, he said:

“I do not believe that would be it. There are a number of options in UK law to deal with decisions that are wrongly directed which are open to us. We are not going to leave any stone unturned.”

“It is hard to say what will happen next and what our reaction – and the reaction of people – to it would be. We have been in this for 18 months and have researched the issue very thoroughly and feel there is no reason why we cannot move forward on the basis we have offered. I do not see us giving up. All we want is openness and a fair process.”

The fate of Manston has continued to dominate Thanet politics and has cost the Ukip-run council its majority after a fifth councillor defected.

Cllr Jeff Elenor said he had moved to join four others who had already defected because he was concerned about the lack of progress over a CPO.

Thanet council leader Chris Wells has said that the council would place all relevant information before a special cabinet meeting at the end of October.”