Thanet council will not be asked to review its decision to reject an offer by an American investment company to team up with it to force a buyout of Manston airport.
A cross-party committee of backbench councillors voted last night to accept the Ukip-led council’s decision not to go forward with RiverOak as an indemnity partner and try to pursue a compulsory purchase order (CPO) for the former airfield.
The decision, which follows months of wrangling, leaves the council in a position to open talks with at least four other interested parties who have approached the council about Manston.
Those companies have yet to be named but at least one is understood to have experience in running both cargo operations and passenger services.
At last night’s meeting, representatives of RiverOak addressed councillors, saying that it still wanted to find a way to work with the council but said it was difficult to get backers until a CPO was in place.
The company has previously indicated that it could turn to the courts to challenge the council’s decision.
But a statement from campaign group Supporters Manston Airport indicated for the first time that it now felt the time had come to move on and allow the council to open talks with other companies.
The statement also called on personal abuse of the council leader and others should stop.
“We were sincerely disappointed to hear of the rejection of RiverOak as an indemnity partner with Thanet District Council for a compulsory purchase of Manston Airport at the overview and scrutiny panel.”
“The time has now come for everyone, including our two MPs, to be more receptive to new, alternative investors..." - SuMA campaign group
“We have supported and campaigned for RiverOak over the last 20 months, but we felt that the continuing focus on them as the sole solution to the reopening of Manston Airport was becoming detrimental to our overall aim as a campaign group – notably to reopen Manston Airport.”
“The time has now come for everyone, including our two MPs, to be more receptive to new, alternative investors.”
“The abuse of people in a position to grant the CPO must stop.The negativity needs to be replaced by a culture of positivity and teamwork if we are to succeed in our ultimate aim of reopening Manston Airport.”
The owners of Manston who have said they would challenge any attempt at a CPO are expected to flesh out more details of their plans for a mixed business and residential development on the 800-acre site within weeks.