Last night’s Thanet District Council Cabinet meeting (17th November 2016) was attended by members of the SuMA committee. We were pleased to note that, following our representations at the Overview and Scrutiny Panel, the Economic Growth Strategy for Thanet document has been adjusted to reflect a more impartial stance on Manston.
The draft document, which we opposed on 25th October, had stated that –
“Inland, the Manston Airport site continues to be a major opportunity for Thanet’s economy going forward – and it signals the District’s underlying potential. A recent report, commissioned by the Council, following consultations a detailed assessment of the air transport market and the potential finances of a re-opened Manston Airport, has concluded that it is most unlikely that Manston Airport would represent a viable investment opportunity even in the longer term (post 2040), and certainly not during the period of the Local Plan to 2031. There are also proposals for a major mixed use scheme across the site (Stone Hill Park) which could deliver a business / industrial park, some 2,500 new homes and sports / leisure facilities, as well as parkland and open space. Thanet District Council, as part of the Local Plan process, is in the course of making its own decisions in relation to the future use of the site – and the outcome will be important for the future direction of economic development District-wide.”
At tonight’s meeting the final ‘live’ document was approved with the amended statement reading thus –
“Inland, the Manston Airport site is a serious potential opportunity for Thanet’s economy going forward. As part of the Local Plan process Thanet District Council will be required to make a decision in relation to the future use of the site for the future direction of economic growth District-wide. The Local Plan will be informed by reports commissioned to provide specialist advice to the Council in relation to the feasibility of the future for an airport on the site.”
Being a ‘live’ document the Economic Growth Strategy can be updated at any time.
At SuMA we hope that the document will soon be amended to irrefutably state that Manston Airport will be reserved for aviation use only for the foreseeable future.
The draft document can be found here: http://democracy.thanet.gov.uk/documents/s52647/Thanet%20Economic%20Growth%20Strategy%20final%20draft%20-%20v16%20141016%202.pdf
The Final Economic Growth Strategy for Thanet here: http://democracy.thanet.gov.uk/documents/s52874/Thanet%20Economic%20Growth%20Strat%20for%20Cabinet%20final.pdf