Friday, 13 February 2009

The Great Airport Debate

An interesting debate last night at Thanet District Council.

Apart from a few sound and good views from both sides there were a few 'County Election' broadcasts from some who hope to be candidates for the forthcoming June event.

I have to say that the blog sites are alive with some fire and vitriol from the 'Anti' brigade. Also praise from the 'Pro' brigade. Overall the final decision was , I think, good for Thanet as a whole, if not for all. If the air lines stick to to agreement I will be a 'loser' in that most of the flights will be near to my home, but EU jet were not too bad, a price worth paying for the prosperity of the area.

As I do not have the skills (ie, piano players fingers) I cannot keep contemporaneous notes as my colleague Cllr Nottingham can, but I do agree with Cllr Mrs Tomlinson, the site of him in 'action' is most distracting. (Peter Checksfield please note)


Peter Checksfield said...

Ken, I'm sure he was a little distracting (& Shirley Tomlinson is someone I have a lot of respect for), but he DID give a very detailed report thanks to his use of modern technology...

Whatever, I'm glad that overall most representatives from all sides came together & made the best choice for Thanet.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what 'hang 'em and flog 'em' Shirley would make of your nudie photoshoots Peter!

Anonymous said...

Ken, the council dun good.

Jean said...


In order to fully include all stakeholders a consultative committee was set up, KIACC. They made a very reasonable request to delay approval of this application. They point out that it appears this application is being rushed through before proper consultation can take place.

Can you tell me why you chose to ignore this?

Michael Child said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Child said...

Ken we have paid for the equipment that is fitted in the council chamber so these important meeting can be webcast, any idea why TDC don’t use it in the way it was intended?

If they did no one would need to make distracting notes and we could all see our local democracy in action.

Ken Gregory said...


Some consultees said we should have thrown the whole thing out, some said we should have gone ahead without debate, Mr tipples had a view, it was considered by members, but they chose to deal with the matter there and then. I agree with that decision. To consider a comment does not mean you have to go along with it.

Anonymous said...

I watched from the public gallery where I was disgusted to see a councillor wearing a pear of dirty jeans whilst spending most of the time sending texts from him mobile phone; it is already public knowlege that I am refering to Councillor Nottingham from the Labour group

Anonymous said...

pair: spelling correction

Anonymous said...

19.05, in the absence of a detailed web-cast from TDC (see Michael Child above) I was delighted to see 'minutes' from the meeting courtesy of Cllr Nottingham. We, the public, have been kept in the dark about this particular issue that will have a major adverse effect on many residents below the flight-paths. It has been a rushed decision, based on the unlikely job offers proposed by Infratil and made without detailed consultation. I can think of a simple step that was not taken 3 years ago that by now would have delivered far more jobs to Thanet; I am of course referring to the ignored advice to TDC that the development of Dreamland as a major visitor attraction was the key to 'regeneration' of Thanet and Margate. Instead we have had the debilitating environmental decisions for Thanet of Thanet Earth, China gate and now extended night flights all predicated on 'jobs for Thanet'. Has anyone yet benefitted with any employment from these disatrous decisions and if so 'how many new jobs have been advertised locally? My research would indicate the figure of 'zero' so far.

Jean said...

Thanks for your reply Ken, I am trying to understand the situation, please indulge me further.

Are not KIACC the one consultative vehicle designed to be a focal point for concerns regarding the airport? (I've no idea who Mr Tipples is by the way, I'm referring to a letter sent to you by Paul Twyman, the chairman of the KIACC).

The draft Masterplan makes reference to consultation with stakeholders through the KIACC. Are you suggesting that KIACC is some sort of local interest group without mandate or authority?

What, exactly, is the role of KIACC?

Ken Gregory said...

The letter from a Mr Twyman was from him, not the members of KIACC. As chairman of planning I would not send out a letter to anyone expressing my views without a disclaimer to say that they were my personal views and not those of the planning committee.

With regard to the role of KIACC, They are a sounding board, but In this particular case I would suggest that the need for speed (for commercial reasons) justified the local authority dealing with the matter as it did.

I am assured that the way the matter was dealt with was legal, and, as stated within the report, the 106 will be reviewed at three monthly intervals.

Ps Paul Tipples is someone that I know of, and the inclusion of his name was a typo (after reading Paul I typed the wrong name)

Jean said...

Thank you Ken,

Legal or not I am astonished that this decision was made in the way it was. To allow a commercial company to pressurise the council into making this decision within this timescale is extremely worrying.

I too invest in Thanet and create jobs - I have made two 'change of use' planning applications in the last 9 years, the first of which took 16 months to be processed and the second I gave up on after 2 years and found alternative premises. Neither application was contentious in any way and both would have resulted in employment for local people.

I am not anti-airport but I am pro-Ramsgate and my business relies on the town remaining a beautiful place. I am ready to invest more in order to expand my operation and to diversify. In these difficult times our business is thriving and I am recruiting.

However, I am now thinking of relocating for the simple reason that I am not confident in the council's ability to manage the airport in an effective manner. The way in which it has handled this application for 106 variation stands as witness to this.

I had thought KIACC would be our safeguard against ruinous airport operations, providing some balance to the development. Commerce is an extremely powerful force and environmental considerations require a body with authority to act as arbitrator. KIACC is clearly not that body, TDC, in succumbing to 'commercial' considerations, in not either. KCC would like the airport to become a regional hub so I can count them out as well.

So I'm left wondering who has the authority and the desire to make the airport work effectively in the best interests of all.

If there is such a body they can expect full, loyal and constructive support from me.

If there is no such body I will relocate and expand my business elsewhere.