A new post on Kent Online is again extolling the virtues of a heritage runway at the proposed Stone Hill Park, and the reporter has been fed some model responses by SHP from their latest “consultation” on their plans.
Ian Scott, who lives in Nethercourt is quoted as saying:
“I think it’s a good use of the land because it’s brownfield that’s going to be used rather than neglected”
He also said:
“If these houses aren’t built here they will have to go somewhere else and where would they put them?”
Here’s a suggestion Mr. Scott – those houses aren’t needed. The Government does not set housing target figures, the local authority should decide on what housing it needed with hard evidence, not by working in the pockets of housing developers. Instead of identifying the housing need and then writing a Local Plan around said need, Thanet District Council has instead decided to listen to the proposed housing figures shouted out by SHP (which are increasing), and then write a draft Local Plan around this – a Local Plan which ignores the fact that the Planning Inspectorate ruled that the Manston Airport site was to be protected for aviation.
And as for brownfield, that’s debatable. Whilst the term is used to describe land which has previously developed, with over half of Manston Airport’s area consisting of grassland, it is not an accurate description of the land in general.
The article in question also alluded to a softening of stances by some campaign groups fighting for Manston Airport. Sophie Jopson, of the Supporters of Manston Airport, is quoted as saying:
“These new outline plans do not meet our full aspirations of a viable airport. They do, however, protect at least part of the runway and appear keen to enhance the heritage aspect of the airport.”
“Though we are by no means settling for what is currently outlined, it could open up opportunities to aviation investors to expand these current proposals beyond just heritage flights.”
We’re not in the business of unicorn farms and wave pools. There is only one serious investor looking to return aviation to Manston Airport, and half the runway won’t do that.
4,000 unaffordable houses will not bring serious investment and prosperity to Thanet. All it will do is invite struggling London boroughs to displace their populace eastward, which will only increase the strain on the Isle’s infrastructure, resources, services and the local authority coffers.
At least John Bates, SHP’s token negative respondent, speaks some sense:
“To get rid of the airport would be a lost opportunity for generations to come.”
Are we going soft for SHP’s proposals? Jog on!