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Meeting at Winter Gardens in Margate to discuss fate of Manston Airport hears MP Sir Roger Gale claim a buyer's in the offing

By Emily Stott

A public meeting held to discuss the options for Manston Airport has been told a potential new buyer has emerged.

Thanet MPs Sir Roger Gale and Laura Sandys held the meeting to try and save the airport which has been threatened with closure.

Sir Roger Gale announced that he may have a buyer for the airport but told a packed audience of up to 300 people at Saturday's meeting not to get their hopes up.

Sir Roger Gale MP
Sir Roger Gale MP

Nicholas Reed, chairman of Why Not Manston said: "The most exciting bit of news was that he said just a few hours earlier he had in his hands details of a letter which was making an offer to owner Ann Gloag to buy the airport.

"He couldn't say any more, rather tantalisingly but he said that I know the person confirmed has got the money.

"The offer hasn't yet been made, he made it out as if it'd be happening on Monday or Tuesday and one has to say he sounded reasonably confident."

Mr Reed believes an announcement will be made some time next week.

Some of the ideas discussed at the meeting included extending the enterprise zone, Discovery Park in Sandwich to Manston, a group of residents working together and taking on ownership and also the council taking ownership of the airport, but no one solution was found.

It was also discussed that it could be come a flight training centre.

Mr Reed added: "There really is a big head of steam on getting something done and trying to make sure every avenue is explored.

"The one thing we know about Ms Gloag is she was very surprised to find out there was so much local support for the airport.

He added: "I don't think they'll forget about it in a hurry because every time we're forced to go to Gatwick or Heathrow it's 6 hours before you can even fly, with 3 hours on the motorway and 3 hours waiting at the airport. We certainly won't forget Manston."

Will Scobie, Labour's parliamentary candidate for Thanet South also attended the meeting.

He said: "What was great was that four political parties, Labour, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and UKIP were there together working to see Manston open.

"We absolutely want to keep Manston open and what we need is someone coming in with vision and interest."

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