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Kent County Council and Thanet District Council back the Manston Airport Task Force set up by North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale.

By Mary Louis
Kent County Council cabinet member Mark Dance

Kent County Council and Thanet District Council have joined forces to back the Manston Airport task force set up by the district's MPs.

The task force, established by North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale supported by his South Thanet colleague Laura Sandys MP, is expected to work with other partners to explore a framework for Manston’s future. This is likely to include a submission to extend the enterprise zone.

Both authorities will meet again as matter of urgency next week. They say looking at possible ways to keep the airport open will be top of the agenda.

KCC’s Cllr Mark Dance, cabinet member for economic development, said: “We are particularly concerned about the likely impact of the airport’s closure on the staff and local businesses.”

“This is a very important time for Manston and we are committed to supporting the task force. We will also be working closely with the rapid response team from DWP to ensure that all the staff affected receive the support they need.”

Former Thanet District Council leader Cllr Clive Hart is not seeking re-election in May 2015 elections

Thanet council leader Cllr Clive Hart said: “I’m pleased that there is shared agreement to seek the extension of the Discovery Park Enterprise Zone to include the airport, the Richborough corridor and Manston Business Park. The advantages of achieving enterprise zone status would be a huge economic boost to the area, whatever the outcome is for the airport.”

Sir Roger said: ”Time is of the essence but I remain convinced that Manston as an airfield has huge potential that, in the national and local interest, must be realised. All of the conversations that Laura Sandys and I have held with Ministers, officials and airport users have been positive.

“It remains to be seen whether or not a potential buyer can strike an agreement with the current owner but with goodwill I am confident that a great deal can be achieved.”

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