Labour County Councillor Karen Constantine: Aftermath of the Local Plan vote

Cllr Karen Constantine

After the Thanet Local Plan was rejected by 35 votes to 20 on Thursday 18th January our council is now in a state of crisis. Conservative, UKIP and independent district councillors objected to one aspect of the draft plan – the proposal for mixed use development on the former Manston Airport site. The land, which has been disused since the airport went bust in 2014 was earmarked for 2,500 homes as well as heritage aviation. Conservatives and UKIP had pledged to reopen the airport and have clutched at proposals to run an air cargo hub from there.

I now believe Thanet residents face chaos as faceless Westminster bureaucrats could move in to run council affairs in the absence of a local plan. I fear that they will now dictate the future of the area, imposing the numbers and locations of house building that will now take place. More land, both prime agricultural and green belt could be built on. Bear in mind that land owners will want to sell. Residents views will not be taken into account by the DHCLG. The 2,500 houses earmarked for the Stone Hill Park (SHP) site will have to be shoehorned in elsewhere. Its not just Manston, all other aspects of the local plan have by consequence been rejected because of this Tory cause celebre. The so called in-ring road, so badly needed to assist free movement of traffic, I presume is also stymied.

‘Perturbed’

Not only do we face the erosion of our local democracy but I am extremely perturbed to be told by Roger Gale in a BBC Radio Kent interview that he has a ‘secret’ agreement with Sajid Javid of the Department of Housing Communities and Local Government (DHCLG). This issue is of such importance locally that any such agreements or ‘extensions’ to timetables should be shared and be transparent. Whilst we have Roger and his secret deals, we also have our hapless South Thanet MP, Craig Mackinlay complaining about being locked out of the Thanet District Council (TDC) meeting on Thursday. Arrive early next time.

I have now written personally to Craig Mackinlay, Roger Gale and Sajid Javid seeking clarification, as has the Labour group. If there were agreements reached prior to the full Council vote on the 18th January which were not shared, that is also undemocratic and completely unacceptable.

Manston

Frankly I hope that the Stone Hill Park owners continue with their innovative project which will bring quality homes including a minimum of 30% social housing, advanced manufacturing units which will bring high quality jobs, jobs that invest in green technology, an Olympic sized swimming pool, a wave pool and new woodlands.

I’m adamant that based on the best evidence available, that a DCO for an air cargo hub will not be granted. The concerns of air and noise pollution and night flights will need to be fully taken into account.

It’s extremely disappointing that many residents under the flight path who are vehemently and justifiably opposed to and worried about a potential air cargo hub, will have to deal with that ambiguity for longer. This unappealing environmental threat is causing anxiety and is depressing house sales in the area. It’s time to move forward in step with residents’ wishes and put to bed ideas that are now past their sell by date.

Like others, I am acutely aware that our local aviation history is important. SHP have taken into account local feelings by adding heritage aviation into the plan, but this hasn’t satisfied other Thanet District councillors. I’m disappointed to say that people are being misled, there are no plans for lots of passenger flights, just cargo. Developers of the cargo hub, Riveroak Strategic Partners should make this perfectly clear.

NHS

Manston has become such a focal point for political discussion in Thanet. However, I would urge you to remember the damage Tory austerity is doing. I believe local politicians of all parties should focus on the NHS crisis – locally the closure of Stroke Services and local GP practices is extremely bad news – poorly paid insecure employment, low educational attainment in the area, and the housing crisis.

We urgently need social housing to be built and more funding for the QEQM in Margate is vital. Following the cataclysmic collapse of Carillion and the reported teetering of Interserve,  TDC seriously need to consider bringing back services ‘in house’ and more should be done to create economic prosperity looking forward not backwards.

17 Comments

  1. One of the misleading or ambiguous comments that you made is about the 30% social houses. What nobody ever states is who are these houses for, local homeless or as i suspect, other out of area authorities. LOCAL RESIDENTS MUST ALWAYS COME FIRST!

  2. I look forward to seeing of the last Labour representative, this article just goes to show how out of touch Thanet Labour is with the good folk of Thanet who the majority of the Isle want to keep Manston as an airport and not a sink hole housing estate.

  3. SRG has a lot of people tied up to his and RSP’s rubbish. The Thanet Labour cllrs and Cllr Wells can see past the mist and lies being scaremongered to us residents. It’s true, the vast majority of us can’t be a…d anymore with another decade of failure on this site. We just want what would be best for housing our own homeless first then jobs to give prosperity here, and that is not a noisy, polluting freight airport with a foreign owner sucking us dry. SRG, you are not representing your constituents, you are doing this for yourself and your RSP friends.

  4. This is a disgusting scenario altogether.We have A choice between a Polluting Cargo Hub and Housing that will be used to dump the deemed unwanted from the London Boroughs Its a serious political failure – the All Party Group in Parliament should act immediately to safeguard the Airfield. With increasing treat from Russia now is not the time for diminution of our strategic assets or destroy useful Aviation capacity that will be needed in the future and costly to replace. Better the Airfield is secured and left as Green fields and brought back to use in an orderly way SAFEGUARDS THE HEALTH OF ALL IN ITS VICINITY something the local MP’s with a duty of care for all constituents donMt give a damn..about!

  5. Where did this idea about the “London unwanted ” or “homeless ” come from? If the airport is built on , the main worry will be that the developers will fill it with expensive “Executive homes” that will become the property of conservative-voting London commuters who will use the proposed Thanet Parkway station to get to work.The Labour Party is quite right to demand that a large percentage of the houses will be social housing for those in need.
    I retain the belief that Manston WOULD have made a great third London airport. But too much land around Gatwick and Heathrow has been bought by property speculators who now need to cash-in when one of the two airports is expanded by buying their land for huge amounts. Manston won’t get a look-in because the current Government represents the “get-rich-quick” brigade.

    The local Labour Party has accepted this reality and just wants to get the best deal for Thanet out of the site. Unfortunately, the Tories and UKIP, as usual, are clinging to outdated ideas from the past. It’s not going to be an airport! Get over it!

    • As long as Corbyn and Ole Mc Donnell are any where near politics I would be pleased of anything that keeps Labour out. Good to read it won’t be Labour voters won’t be buying the new houses as things are.Wish they would buy a farm in Venezuala and stay there when he get sback from his Hotel in Davos.

  6. However. Having perused my brothers copy of the PEIR files I am.horrifieid with the AIR POLLUTION that’ witl result from Cargo Hub. The attitude of the two local Tory MP’s nothing less than a Crminal Attack on the lives and Health of Ramgate people. They show a conceited selfish contempt for Human LIfe.

  7. Run off water will be discharged into Pegwell Bay. Hideous fuel tanks will be installed at Cliffsend. To enable these flights much tanker traffic from Isle of Grain. Much air pollution from freighters taking off from the Airport

  8. Karen Constantine is confident there is not going to be an airport re-opening at Manston. I would like to be confident that there will be no RSP Cargo Hub. But would also hope the airport will eventually be re-opened. I wish the local Labour Party would get together and work for such an outcome and whilst NHS is an important issue get away from Corbin and O’Donnell to a more business friendly outlook.

  9. I always worry when I hear the words “business friendly”.

    As far as businessmen are concerned , this means letting them:—

    *avoid paying tax using legalistic means
    *ship the income to offshore tax-havens
    *accept money from the government without being scrutinised as to its use
    *cream off the government money for big pay rises and bonuses at the top
    *use the workers pensions to line their own pockets
    *whine about “heath and safety gone mad” when they actually have to take reasonable care of the workforce
    * expect the taxpayer to pay for research and development but then profit from new innovations
    and then rub their hands with glee at the thought of Artificial Intelligence” doing away with millions of jobs but then whingeing about the “shirkers” who find themselves on the dole.
    I think we should be a lot less “business friendly” and a lot more “people friendly”.

  10. That’s not the point Kelogs you write a lot of not to the point cornflakes. The future lives of ‘people’ depends upon the hand that feeds them and it cannot come from Government because Givernment only spends other people’s money or borrows it for future generations to pay back with interest.and that. Normally is what Labour have done and always one Government after another left us up the creek. By all means make business pay taxes but businesses are not there to provide taxes. This is always the negative approach of Labour – business is only there to be bled for taxes- nothing else! It’s business enterprise that generates real employment but we do not need enterprise that is RUINOUS of the ENVIRONMENT where ‘people’ live like Sir Riger Gales INSANE CARGO HIB OBSESSION.

  11. That’s not the point Kelogs you write a lot of not to the point cornflakes. The future lives of ‘people’ depends upon the hand that feeds them and it cannot come from Government because Givernment only spends other people’s money or borrows it for future generations to pay back with interest.and that. Normally is what Labour have done and always one Government after another left us up the creek. By all means make business pay taxes but businesses are not there to provide taxes. This is always the negative approach of Labour – business is only there to be bled for taxes- nothing else! It’s business enterprise that generates real employment but we do not need enterprise that is RUINOUS of the ENVIRONMENT where ‘people’ live like Sir Riger Gales INSANE CARGO HIB OBSESSION.

  12. At last a politician that is talking sense about the defunct Manston Airport and voicing the thoughts and objections of the villagers and residents surrounding the old Airport. NO to noise; NO to Pollution: NO to Day and Night Flights. We do not want a mini Heathrow or Gatwick on our doorstep. The disturbing thing for me is that the rather senior Conservative Politician believes his technical and commercial knowledge is superior to experts commissioned to assess Manston as future airport – RATHER ARROGANT – I would say. Sadly we are to be blessed with more housing being forced into this agricultural area of the country. Are these houses for people moving south from valuable London brown field development sites ? If this is the case then why not sites north of England ? NO Mass Housing without Mass jobs !!

  13. Thanet would do well to stay as it is. If only we could detach it more from the mainland and declare independence from political intruders from outside who want to wreck the place like they have succeeded in wrecking the rest of the country

  14. Thanet would do well to stay as it is. If only we could detach it more from the mainland and declare independence from political intruders from outside who want to wreck the place like they have succeeded in wrecking the rest of the country

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