Wednesday, 19 March 2014
Manston Airport Closure
Any change at Manston must create sustainable jobs say Greens
Reacting to news that a consultation has begun on the closure of Manston Airport, Green Party Parliamentary Candidates for Thanet North and South Ed Targett and Ian Driver have said that any change of use must drive sustainable jobs for the area.
Thanet Green Party has been calling for years for alternative uses for Manston Airport to be considered with some urgency, being aware that a business haemorrhaging millions was unlikely to survive much longer.
News that a consultation has begun on its possible closure is of little surprise to any close observer. As we said in 2012, news of new flights to Schiphol was no guarantee that the business would succeed and that the delight of Sir Roger Gale MP and Kent County Council at the deal should be put into perspective.
Thanet North Green prospective parliamentary candidate Ed Targett said: "It is not nice to see jobs at risk. Even two years ago Manston owners Infratil were already looking at a change of use however in the hope that it would be easier to sell and the business has been on deeply shaky ground. We have long proposed that alternative uses be looked at for Manston, particularly for the possibility of it being converted to a major leisure facility, precisely to create employment and bring in visitors."
"Those plans were derided as “pie in the sky” by Roger Gale, who asked: “Where would the money come from?” Perhaps if he and others had not been so single-mindedly fixated on throwing public money at the airport in the hope it would prove to be the economic saviour of East Kent they could have considered the Green Party's suggestions. Meanwhile Gravesend won a £2 billion deal for a major leisure centre anticipated to create 27,000 jobs.
“What now appears most likely” said Green Councillor and prospective parliamentary candidate for Thanet South, Ian Driver, is yet another sprawling housing development unaffordable for most local residents, with no long-term jobs created. We deeply oppose this prospect. Any Manston development should be aimed at creating jobs, boosting the region’s potential to attract visitors, pragmatic and forward-thinking."
The coalition government as well as our local councils seem to have no notion of economic regeneration beyond building houses an anything in sight, from prime agricultural land to airports. The Green Party is the only party that has consistently challenged this, spotted the likely closure of the airport and looked at ambitious alternatives that could drive regeneration, bring investment and create sorely needed employment. We will continue to do so. If Manston closes, anything on the site should benefit the whole area, create sustainable local jobs and not just profits for property developers.