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Ukip controlled Thanet District Council votes to review Manston Airport decision

The decision not to pursue the compulsory purchase of Manston airport will be reviewed following a council vote this evening.

Thanet councillors took just 15 minutes to vote on the motion, marking the first significant step towards the compulsory purchase of Manston airport.

The Ukip-controlled council is held an extraordinary meeting to determine if it should review the decision by the previous Labour-run administration not to pursue a compulsory purchase order (CPO) for the airport, which closed a year ago.

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The first meeting of the UK's first Ukip-controlled council
The first meeting of the UK's first Ukip-controlled council

Ukip councillors argued the situation has changed sufficiently to warrant looking again at the decision.

An earlier report stopped short of recommending that the council should press ahead with an attempted buy-out but says there should be a review “taking account of all the options available".

Reopening Manston was a key election pledge by both Ukip and the Conservatives.

Councillors from both groups are expected to back the move.

Chris Wells, the Ukip leader-elect of Thanet council, said: “We are committed to carrying forward on our election pledge that we will [have a CPO] and that is what will occur,” he said.

He warned it would not be a quick process.

“I do expect it will be legally challenged. Clearly I have got to look at the papers but I do think it is a decision we can move forward with.”

Conservative group leader Cllr Bob Bayford said he expected his party would back the plans.

Ray Mallon, the spokesman for Manston owners Trevor Cartner and Chris Musgrave, said: “It is our intention to create a high quality mixed-use development which will include residential, business and leisure facility components.

"We own the site lock, stock and barrel and have a plan which is deliverable.

“Any advancement of a CPO process is built on sand and would be a complete waste of public money. It will fail miserably and we would win. Of that there is no doubt.

“I do believe that people who understand CPO legislation would agree with my sentiments and I am pleased that the new leader of Thanet District Council intends to review the council’s position in relation to this issue.

“The subject of a CPO has created a great deal of uncertainty as to the future of the Manston site and the quicker this red herring is removed from the agenda the better so that we can then work productively with the district council to deliver this multi-million pound project.”

Video: Graham Stothard reports from the historic council meeting

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