Home   Thanet   News   Article

Government report into Manston Airport criticises Thanet council over Compulsory Purchase Order

A long-awaited government report says Thanet council could have done more in assessing whether it should try to force a buyout of Manston airport.

The Department for Transport commissioned the report after the council rejected a plan to team up with an American consortium to pursue a Compulsory Purchase Order.

It concludes the council could have done more to weigh up the financial viability of RiverOak - but does not say that a CPO would or would not be appropriate.

Manston Airport
Manston Airport

South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay and his colleague Sir Roger Gale said last week the report had not raised any impediment to a buyout.

“I believe the report gives us an opportunity to review the approach taken by Thanet District Council in the last year..." - Thanet council leader Chris Wells

However, the report does not touch on the issue and consultants focused instead on what had happened and what could be done in the future.

The report does however raise a number of questions about the council’s approach and says that it failed to provide a number of key documents that it claimed to have had.

The consultants question why the council failed to include in its dossier of evidence to the DfT about 20 documents that it had received from RiverOak - which did provide them.

It also questions why more was not done to investigate the finances of RiverOak and suggests that it should have contracted expert advisers to help.

On the missing documents, the report says: “The RiverOak dossier included a total of 20 additional documents which were not in the TDC (council) dossier provided to the Dft.”

It later says: “We do not know why this information was not included in the TDC dossier.”

However, it says that the missing documents would not have necessarily have shed any more light on RiverOak’s proposal or financial state.

The report also says that the council should have contracted outside experts to help with its “due dligence” checks on RiverOak.

Cllr Chris Wells
Cllr Chris Wells

And it says there is no evidence to back up the council’s claim that it had offered to discuss other options wtih RiverOak about its financial state.

Ukip leader of Thanet District Council Cllr Chris Wells said: “I believe the report gives us an opportunity to review the approach taken by Thanet District Council in the last year, which is in line with the request from full council for cabinet to review its decision of December 2014.

"Given the need to formally review the observations in the PricewaterhouseCoopers report in detail it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More