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Politicians at odds over offer by RiverOak to help Thanet with CPO for Manston Airport

Thanet North MP Sir Roger Gale has urged Thanet Council to accept an offer by an American investment company to help it acquire Manston Airport using planning powers.

It follows an announcement by RiverOak, which tried unsuccessfully to buy the airport from owner Ann Gloag, that it has offered to act as the council's formal partner in a buyout.

Company chief executive Stepehen DeNardo said his firm would cover the costs of a CPO and take on all the financial risk.

RiverOak boss Stephen DeNardo
RiverOak boss Stephen DeNardo

Sir Roger said the decision had become more pressing as he understood there was to be a second auction of equipment, including landing lights and the air traffic control system.

He said: "The council is going to have to take a decision this week.

"If they go for a CPO and RiverOak is the preferred partner, they can stop the sale of assets through an injunction.

"If Thanet council wants to save the airport, then it has to take a decision this week. They have got to act and get the process going.

"They need to agree to a CPO and enter into an agreement with RiverOak."

Manston Airport
Manston Airport

But the deputy Labour leader of Thanet council says he is unhappy with the way RiverOak has acted.

The company has asked the council to agree with its proposal within 21 days.

Richard Nicholson said: "It is an interesting development.

"We had no idea it was coming and personally I am not happy about it.

"We are not going to do business with people like this. We are looking at a CPO and getting legal advice and will make a decision in time."

Asked if he felt the council was being bounced into an agreement with RiverOak, he said: "You might think that but I couldn't possibly comment.

"I can understand why people would say this is an attempt to bounce us into something, but if RiverOak thinks that, they are sadly mistaken.

"This is a very strange way to go about things."

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