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Manston airport: Owner Ann Gloag has not moved says Thanet District Council leader Iris Johnston after talks

By Paul Francis

Talks today between Manston owner Ann Gloag and Thanet council chiefs are over - and it seems that they have not been productive.

In a short statement, council leader Iris Johnson said: "We discussed the situation regarding Manston Airport in considerable depth with Ms Gloag for over an hour. I am extremely disappointed to say that her position remains unchanged."

The statement added: "A motion to discuss the compulsory purchase of the airport is tabled for the full council meeting on Thursday 10 July and we will discuss both this and the substantial petition received on this matter."

Businesswoman Ann Gloag owns 20% of the site along with Trevor Cartner and Chris Musgrave. Picture: Craig Watson/ SWNS.com

Campaigners trying to save Manston Airport had hoped the meeting in London today might put pressure on Ann Gloag to think again about closing it. But those hopes appear to have been dashed.

Before the meeting, Mrs Johnson described it as critical to the airport’s future.

At the same time, she underlined that a decision by the council over a possible a compulsory purchase order was still some way off.

She said: “We will ask her for her reasons for declining offers that have been made for the airport and any updates on her decision that led to the closure and loss of jobs.

"From an economic development point it is vital for Thanet to tell our potential investors that we have our own airport.”

Margate Central Ward councillor Iris Johnston. Picture: Paul Amos

Cllr Johnson said has received a petition of almost 8,000 signatures urging the district council to compulsorily purchase Manston.

She added: “We are exploring all avenues.

"A CPO is a possibility we will look at but it is a complicated procedure for a local authority and we will need a watertight arrangement with a third party if we are going to proceed this way.”

"I'm hoping that Iris is going to use her negotiating skills and try to talk Ann Gloag into selling the airport..." - Save Manston chairman Keith Churcher

Before the meeting, Keith Churcher, the chairman of the Save Manston group, said: "I'm hoping that Iris is going to use her negotiating skills and try to talk Ann Gloag into selling the airport.

"That is what we are all hoping for and waiting for with bated breath.

"Hopefully we won't have to go down the compulsory purchase order route. A CPO is a last resort.”

The meeting comes as it emerged that the owner is to auction off dozens of items following the closure of the airport in May.

Lots include boarding steps, an aircraft de-icer, mobile baggage conveyors, Land Rovers and specialist fire engines.

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