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Investment company RiverOak wants to work with Thanet council to take over Manston Airport using planning powers

By Paul Francis

The company that unsuccessfully sought to buy Manston Airport from owner Ann Gloag has said it wants to work in partnership with Thanet Council to take it over using planning powers.

Investment company RiverOak has written to the council saying it wants to partner the council in a Compulsory Purchase Order and would be prepared to take on all the financial costs and risks.

The news has come as the council prepares to set out its own report this week on whether it believes the airport has a viable future.

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

In a lengthy letter setting out its views, Riveroak chief executive Stephen DeNardo says it is prepared to indemnify the council against any financial risk and has taken expert legal advice:

"We have given careful consideration to this advice.

"To be clear, what is proposed involves a transfer of ALL the risk surrounding the CPO from Thanet District Council to RiverOak.

"If the CPO fails for some unforeseen reason we will have to meet all the legal costs.

"Similarly if the eventual price of the land is higher than expected, we will have to pay it.

"We are not asking for any public funds to support this process; not from Thanet, not from KCC and not from the British Government."

It adds: "We have carried out our own risk assessment and we are prepared to carry that risk.

Why? Because we believe that a well conducted CPO process will succeed and because we believe that a reinstated Manston Airport can become successful and profitable over time."

Manston Airport

However, it says that as the new owner, it would focus on developing the cargo side of the airport's business but does not rule out possible passenger services in the future.

"There are interesting changes taking place in the passenger market with Easyjet’s competitors considering their response to Easyjet’s newly dominant position at Gatwick.

"We have strong grounds to believe that one of those competitors will consider Manston as a possible base for operations south of the Thames commencing in the summer of 2016."

It also states that it would not be necessary for the council to tender for a partner - which the council says could take as long as seven months.

The airport closed in May with the loss of 140 jobs.

Read the letter here: https://savemanstonairport.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/24-july-2014-letter-to-iris-johnston.pdf

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