We commend local councillor Peter Evans for standing up for his principles.
The chairman of Thanet District Council’s planning committee has resigned from the role saying that he wants to campaign to reopen Manston as an airport.
Cllr Peter Evans, who represents Salmestone ward in Margate, said he had quit because of the conflict of interest and wanted to speak up over the issue.
At a recent meeting of the Save Manston Airport Association supporters on Sunday, Mr Evans was recorded on a video during a question and answer session with Tony Freudman of RiverOak asking for advice about how to combat the plans being put forward by Stone Hill Park.
RiverOak is the American investment company that is trying to acquire the site to reopen it as an airport.
Cllr Evans told the meeting: “The very deep worry I have got is that Thanet council has initiated this report and we have Stone Hill Park breathing down our necks.
“If the local plan is changed, you could have bricks being laid there before next year.”
He goes on to ask what steps could be taken to “combat” housing development that the owners want.
Asked about his comments, Cllr Evans said he accepted there was a conflict of interest but had already decided to step aside from the committee and resigned on Monday.
The video shows him identifying himself as the committee chairman and then saying he was a wholehearted supporter of the airport.
He confirmed to the KM Group that he had also said at the meeting that he would, as chairman, do what he could to block development of the site for houses.
“I feel very strongly about this and wanted to speak out. I made a commitment to the people who elected for me and have resigned my position. I feel very strongly about the airport ,” he said.
Asked why he had accepted the role in the first place, he said that at the time there was not an issue of alternative proposals for the site.
“I have chosen to make a point about it by putting my constituents above the committee chairman. My election pledges come first,” he added.
Stone Hill Park welcomed the decision. In a statement it said it was important that councillors on planning committees considered applications for development with an open mind.