William Eichler 30 October 2015

Thanet Council pulls out of purchase of Manston Airport

Thanet Council has agreed to take no further action on a compulsory purchase order (CPO) of Manston Airport at the present time.

The decision was taken at an extraordinary meeting of the cabinet and breaks a key election pledge of the ruling party, UKIP.

Uncertainty over the finances of RiverOak, the US-based investment firm that would have underwritten the costs of the council buying the site, led to the final decision.

Leader of Thanet District Council, cllr Chris Wells, said: ‘RiverOak's failure to respond to the many opportunities they had to demonstrate their suitability as an indemnity partner is genuinely disappointing.’

He continued: ‘It does not, however, diminish our appetite to see the airport up and running. But it has to be done carefully, lawfully and in a manner that does not expose Council Tax payers to risk.’

A report analysing the feasibility of the CPO concluded that the council needs assurance that a potential indemnity partner could cover the costs of both purchasing the site and completing the development.

A CPO must also satisfy the ‘public-interest’ test if it is to be successful.

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