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Manston Airport owner Ann Gloag meets in London with Thanet Council leader Cllr Iris Johnston and a civic delegation

By Peter Barnett

A high level delegation from Thanet Council will meet businesswoman Ann Gloag in London on Thursday after she shut Manston Airport.

The long-awaited meeting will be led by Thanet council leader Cllr Iris Johnston, together with her deputy Cllr Richard Nicholson, acting council chief executive Madelaine Homer, and a legal representative.

It is the crunch get-together that the council, MPs, businesses and organisations, plus former Manston employees and residents has been urging for many weeks.

The Manston airport site.
The Manston airport site.

Cllr Johnston said: “We are going to see Mrs Gloag and to outline the situation as we see it and to hear in person what she has to say.

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

“She has treated me with courtesy before when we spoke on the phone and I am glad she had made time in her busy schedule to meet with us.”

Clr Johnston described the meeting as “critical for the future of the airport.”

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

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.”

Margate Central Ward councillor Iris Johnston. Picture: Paul Amos
Margate Central Ward councillor Iris Johnston. Picture: Paul Amos

The American company RiverOak tried to buy the airport; its chief executive Steve DeNardo and fellow directors have reaffirmed their desire to buy the site, and have met with Thanet MPs Sir Roger Gale and Laura Sandys.

The company has had three offers turned down by the site’s owners including an offer made on the day of closure which met the asking price.

Cllr Johnson, who is meeting East Kent and Medway authority chief executives and leaders, and Thanet Regeneration Board among others, to keep Manston alive, said expanding the current enterprise zone from the Richborough corridor into Thanet to include Manston would be essential to attract investors to the area.

Manston airport site owner Ann Gloag
Manston airport site owner Ann Gloag

She added: “We are all trying our very best to ensure that Manston airport has a future.”

She plans to meet with Kent County Council leader Cllr Paul Carter on Friday, July 4, after her meeting with Mrs Gloag.

Meanwhile, flight training company TG Aviation’s bid to get an injunction against the closure of Manston Airport has been put back.

The company’s application to the High Court on Friday was adjourned until July 9.

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