William Eichler 30 October 2015

Thanet Council pulls out of purchase of Manston Airport

Thanet Council pulls out of purchase of Manston Airport image

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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