Monday 28 December 2015

Green vision for Manston

By Derek Heptinstall, former secretary of Thanet Green Party

Manston's deserted airport is a sad sight. The runway that once carried the Spitfires and Hurricanes that saved our nation in the Second World War, now bears only stray leaves dancing in the wind across wide empty expanses. Here the roar of passenger jets signalled the start of foreign travel for thousands of passengers headed for sunnier warmer countries.

Standing by the airport's gates, we can look and listen, imagining those ghosts of aircraft past.

But there comes a time when we need to come back to earth, and that time is now. Faced with the risk of incurring huge legal and other costs, Thanet Council has understandably decided not to go ahead with RiverOak in pursuing a compulsory purchase order for the airport. But bound by its election promise to keep the airport functioning, the UKIP council says it is seeking a new partner.

This effort looks little more than just window dressing for the inevitable conclusion that there is no viable future for the airport. In recent years three private owners had suffered an estimated £100 million losses, KLM moved its operations elsewhere, and the Scott commission on airport expansion did not give Manston serious consideration. Surely, now is the time for supporters and opponents of the airport to look to a new future for a site that could provide much more than a landing strip for planes bringing goods we could probably do without.

 If planned imaginatively, the 800 acres that the airport covers could become a great green lung for Thanet, with wooded areas, ponds and grassland, providing a place for people and wildlife. There is also space here for sport and leisure, commerce and industry, and much needed social housing. Rarely has an area like Thanet had such an opportunity to mould its environment into a place that will serve needs for work, homes, and leisure with such positive affects.

The owners,Trevor Cartner and Chris Musgrave, have already presented ideas for the site which they claim would cost £1 billion and eventually generate 4,000 jobs compared to the 150 which the airport supported. These plans look ambitious, but everyone should now turn their thoughts to what they would want to see on this historic site, which has the prospect of providing more jobs and economic benefits to the area than the airport ever could.

The American company, RiverOak, which wanted to take over the airport, said that their business would rely mainly on freight air traffic. Would Thanet residents really want the constant roar of aircraft overhead and the increasing number of heavy lorries on our roads that this would imply? You have to be careful what you wish for.

There is a better vision. Thanet has magnificent wide sandy beaches but it lacks wild and wooded countryside enjoyed in many other parts of the county. On a site the size of more than 600 football pitches, most of the Manston airport land could be reserved for a country park with nature trails and cycle tracks threading through trees and dotted with ponds.

Inspiring healthier lifestyles and promoting greater respect for the natural environment, such an area would provide a habitat for plants, wildlife and birds-- habitat now sadly lacking on our open farmland.

One leisure proposal is for an artificial surfing lake. Small and large waves are generated in these lakes giving novice and experienced surfers the chance to learn and to practice. It is claimed that one hour's practice in a surfing lake is equivalent to eight hours in the sea. Surf Snowdonia in North Wales cost £12 million and has just opened, expecting 75,000 visitors a year and employing about 100 people -- only 50 fewer than the airport did before it was closed. The Wave Bristol costing about £6 million has had 900 people wanting to pre-book membership. Using the latest wave creating technology, it is expected to open in 2016. High numbers of people visiting The Wave Thanet could also be expected because of our proximity to London and the high-speed train service. Many of these visitors will need places to stay, will visit our towns, shop in our stores, boosting the local economy. The site itself would need cafes, restaurants and shops providing sports equipment and educational publications.

Another idea is for an bowl-shaped amphitheatre which could be used for classical and pop concerts in the summer. An area for camping would be available for the many young people who wanted to surf or visit a mini pop festival. Other people might want to come from London and the south east for a classical concert and stay in a hotel on the site. Again developments and events like these have the potential to greatly boost visitor numbers.

 The Eden Project has been tremendously successful in attracting visitors to Cornwall and bringing economic benefits (estimated at £1.1 billion) to the local area. While a project of this scale would be impractical or too expensive (the Eden project cost £140 million) at Manston, geo-halls on a smaller scale would be possible and another attraction for local people and visitors.

One of the main reasons why people are unwilling to spend their holidays in Britain is the uncertainty of the weather. Covered and heated areas can provide pools for swimming and areas for relaxing and have cafes and restaurants. Center Parcs have what they call a subtropical swimming pool at Whinfell Forest. Why couldn't Manston have something similar? And if one proved successful, then others could be built. Even if sub-tropical pools are not viable, then natural outdoor pools could be created alongside small lakes for fishing or boating. A natural swimming pool and ponds are being created at The Wave Bristol.

The airport site now gives the owners the opportunity to provide eco-friendly homes in a leading example of a sustainable living community on what is essentially a brown-field site. A development of about 2500 homes could contain a mix of low-rise flats and small and medium-size homes attractive to range of buyers and big enough to sustain local shops, transport and other services.

Described as the UK's first eco-town, a planned development in NW Bicester, in Oxfordshire, offers a pioneering example of sustainable design. The first Exemplar stage of 393 homes has received BioRegional's One Planet Living status -- one of only seven developments in the world to achieve this award. Housing at Manston and in Thanet should aspire to similar standards.

The number of jobs that the site will generate in areas designated for industry and commerce is difficult to predict and, as critics point out, Thanet's existing business parks are already under-used. But even if the site did not attract the hoped-for demand from businesses, the areas would still be available for public leisure use. Land designated for commercial use could expand or contract to match the demand.

One other idea which would have a direct affect on the three towns of Margate, Ramsgate and Broadstairs and their surroundings, is for a park-and-ride scheme based at the airport. Increasingly, our towns suffer from congestion, parking and pollution, particularly during the summer season. A park-and-ride scheme linked to the Loop bus service could free our areas of a great deal of traffic and offer visitors and safe and easy access to the main towns in the Thanet. Residents would also gain by having a bus service to and from the new leisure park.

All these ideas promoting health, education and leisure are worth exploring and should be part of the on-going consultation that should take place between Thanet Council, the owners and the public. With cooperation from all sides, Manston Airport could become a place of leisure and pleasure for the people of Thanet and and a source of economic growth for the area.

Ideas for Manston

• A green leisure park with wooded areas, ponds, small lakes, nature and cycling trails, and natural swimming pools.

•A garden of British horticulture

•A fruit-tree maze – pick your way through

•A "Thanet Wave" artificial lake for novice and experienced surfers

•An amphitheatre for pop and classic concerts

• Geo-halls

• Covered and heated mini-domes for swimming and leisure

• A park-and-ride scheme easing traffic problems and linking the site with the towns through the Loop service.

•Sustainable housing-- Passivhaus building can reduce household heating bills to about £100 a year
Read more:

Saturday 19 December 2015

its paramount or bust

Further to Riveroak getting the cold shoulder from TDC for the 2nd time they have pushed the boat out even further this time.

They are applying to the Government for a Development Consent Order (DSO) which is awarded for projects that meet the requirement of national significance.

"Manston was closed in May last year after wracking up losses of more than £100 million during 16 years of private ownership."
"A Development Consent Order (DCO) is the means of obtaining permission for developments categorised as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP). This includes energy, transport, water and waste projects. Development Consent Orders are required for designated Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects rather than other consents such as planning permission, listed building consent and compulsory purchase orders. "

This is from a Government that has rejected Manston twice under the Davies Committee.

Now the Pro supporters are happy again, so happy in fact they have started to threaten once again this time on Kentonline link here

  Its a strange world we live in where it is a badge of pride to be banned from commentating on a local newspaper but par for the course for Pro Manston supporters. Oh and Keith "Blue Sky thinking" isn't Paul Abela so you can't commit actual bodily harm as you have no idea who it is. And further Churchy boy you are free to comment on here if you have it in you. Unlike "Manston Load Hailer" where you say one thing and do something different in reality.

BTW Manston supporters can you read and have you read this (link here). This is what it says before you apply.


The process begins when the Planning Inspectorate is informed by a developer that they intend to submit an application to us in the future. Before submitting an application, the developer is required to carry out extensive consultation on their proposals. The length of time taken to prepare and consult on the project will vary depending upon its scale and complexity. Responding to the developer’s pre-application consultation is the best time to influence a project, whether you agree with it, disagree with it or believe it could be improved.

Friday 18 December 2015

History of the Pleasurama site

The history of the Pleasurama site goes back many years and as we are all waiting for something good to happen I thought I would provide a resume of the site back to the start.

The site is based on land reclaimed from the shrinking chalk cliff and is formerly a beach and in 1860-1865 the land was bought by the railways and a massive tunnel was dug from the beach up to the top of Hereson Road with the chalk spoil being used to raise the beach level to build a station.
In 1926 the railway decided to transfer their station into Ramsgate itself and close the "Sands" station and the land was sold to Ramsgate Corporation and they decided to lease the land for Leisure purposes and it underwent a transformation.

All went well until the 1970's when two unrelated incidents occurred, firstly Freddie Laker invented the "foreign holiday" and Ramsgate Corporation was dissolved and TDC came into being.
To bring things closer somewhere around the mid 1990's James "Jimmy" Godden attempted to change the Pleasurama site and rumours abounded with plans for "Yuppie" flats which were refused until the infamous blaze in May 1998.
From then things went downhill with plans being refused and then granted but no work was carried out. Patience finally ran out in 2001 when TDC decided to CPO the lease from Godden however this succeeded only after a controversial offer to Godden allowing him to keep the insurance money in exchange for not contesting the purchase.

In 2002 the then Labour administration advertised the site see this link In the beginning

By 2006 with Planning permission granted to a shell company owned by Shaun Patrick Keegan a development agreement was signed by the Tories under Ezekiel and Latchford we all waited for building to start and guess what NOTHING.
In 2009 the Agreement was amended, again under Ezekiel, with Cardy onboard as builders and again no building started.
In 2012 rumours started circulating that the Freehold of the site was about to be handed over and this was the last straw for many Ramsgatonians who banded together to petition TDC not to hand over the Freehold to these landbankers. See link to Vindication

The development agreement terminated in February 2014 however because it was "poorly" written a way needed to be found to remove SFP Ventures (UK) Ltd so Cardy came to the "rescue" something that many believe was contrived to save the blushes of TDC officers and has little substance behind it.
See link to "Goldan Balls" link

Now we have the unedifying sight of UKIP being left holding the baby with the wrong paint being used to stabilise the cliff face and no work contemplated until June 2016 at least.

Questions that need answering
Lin Fairbrass, Cllr Suzanne Brimm, and Chris Wells there are some questions that need answering and then communicated to people living in Ramsgate.
1. Do Cardy own the freehold to the site?
2. Has the £3M+ been paid to TDC?
3. Has Shaun Patrick Keegan been removed as principal shareholder?
4. Have the Leases been revoked?
5. When will building work start?
6. Who is paying for the repainting of the cliff face?
7. What has happened to the £1M paid to TDC in 2009 as a surety to ensure the work is done?

The people of Ramsgate deserve better than these two pictures. It has been 17 years since it burnt to the ground. Get it sorted and tell us what is going on.

Tuesday 15 December 2015

case of the wrong trousers

Imagine my surprise to receive a personal message telling me that Steve Cheesewright had posted my address on Manston Loudhailer. "What he lives in Mississpi and has posted my address. How on earth did he locate an address from 6000 miles away" I said.
The screenprint duly arrives and lo and beyond I couldn't stop laughing. "What a pratt" said my wife upon viewing it.

Now I have been asked by Hampshire police, who have taken a dim view of him publishing private addresses even in a closed group, and have asked me not to repeat the address on here so I will not, however Steve rest assured even if it was my address I would not have any of you posting Xmas cards to some poor person especially one who is aged over 65 which I'm not, one who lives in a Rectory which I don't. and the address was current in 2002 when I wasn't in Southampton

So here is a message from Hampshire police should the addressee receive any malicious communications from any of you based on Steve Cheeswright posting the wrong address then they have all the details on file including the details of who posted the wrong address.

Whatever the motivation is doing such a stupid  all it proves is the numpties that do it don't have a braincell between them.

They have also asked for details of any personal threats against me so I suspect these will do.

Friday 11 December 2015

Strange People

Manston Pickle a hard hitting opponent of the Pro Manston supporters has always kept the admins secret because of the vitriol and bullying that would come their way should they be unmasked.

Yesterdays post was particularly hard hitting and too the point.

 And then people commented

So how do the worthies in Manston Loud Hailer deal with the comments. Do they:
1. Comment themselves
2. Provide facts that disprove the arguments put forward
3. Rant & rave blaming everyone except themselves

 So Mr. (I use that word advisedly) Hudson let me make things clear I am not an admin on Manston Pickle nor have I ever been. So crawl back into your darkened room and go back to your keyboard warrioring.
You are free to comment on here just add your name to the post I dare you. The same goes for John Davis who posted these choice words.

Another coward who spreads rumour and bile from the safety of his computer and this man is Chairman of local constituted group with a "code of conduct". It's obvious he think this doesn't apply to himself
Now lets see how brave you are. I'm lifting my head above the parapet let's see if you are able!!

Sunday 6 December 2015

Save the bees

When Panther decided to knock down the disused building opposite Lovett's in the High Street Ramsgate little did they know that the Town Team would decide to promote the plight of the bumble bee. (As they didn't care about Health N Safety at the time I doubt they cared either)
They left behind a poorly painted blue fence.

Great work by all of the people who made this possible and when the song is ready I will endeavour to place it on here.
Ramsgate Town Team said
" We had a magnificent time at Lovetts today singing, dancing and making music with ‪#‎JennieMatthias‬ formerly of the Belstars. She wrote the Lyrics of our Bee song, Skip McDonald wrote the music and Adrian Sherwood Remixed it and Jennie, Skip and Adrian Produced it. We will have the song to post later which is good enough to be the Official song for the Save the Bees Campaign and a video. Here are some photos of the panels the local Artists painted to hang on the hoarding. You ain't heard the last of this!!! Big, big, thankyous to all."
Artists Robert Onion, Lesley Gray, Sally Harris, Betty Boo Onion and Molly-pickle Marguerite Morgan, Helen Whitehead, Catherine Harvey, Jeni Butler, Peter Gerard Askew, Mike Samson, and Gill Cleaver

Jo Hanchett added "Hi Barry the Town Team under the Chairmanship of Rebekah Smith developed the initiative. The Town Team bought the 4x4 sheets which the Artists painted in their own Studios. The hoarding was painted by Town Team Members Chair Rebekah Smith and Jon Hanchett assisted by Charlie Smith Rebekahs husband. Jo Hanchett Vice Chair of the Town Team bought the Ocean Blue Paint and decorating materials. The Artists' painted boards were returned to Lovetts for safe storage. Michael Morgan Dad of Artist Molly Morgan asked one day, who was fitting the boards to the hoarding to which Jo replied 'you are'. He took the challenge and with his brother Neil Morgan hung the paintings. Toby Taylor the well known PA provider who also spends his time introducing buyers to properties at Lovetts has a lot of contacts in the music world. He got Jenny Matthias to agree to come down which actually ended up with Jennie writing the song Skip McDonald recording the music and Adrian Sherwood mixing it. Mayor Trevor Shonk was invited to cut the ribbon and he joined in the singing and Music Making in the Lovetts office opposite the hoarding.
Jennie Matthias sang the words and about 20 Artists and friends sang the chorus. We danced and made music with various pieces of percussion whilst Jennie lead the singing. Jennie filmed the event. She is narating the film and will You Tube it. Our music will be sent to Jo Hanchett. It is so good we want to push it further."
Finally please sign the petition: Save The Bees here

Thursday 3 December 2015


One thing that marks out the difference between the Riveroak Campaign and the real owners of the former Kent International airport is the willingness of Mssrs Cartner & Musgrave to engage with the public.
Today and tomorrow are consultation periods put aside for talking with the people in the area. Even then some of the pro supporters turned up to have their say. Today the 3rd December was the turn of the Pegwell Bay hotel and 8 people turned up to protest. Yes that's right a whole 8 people.
"We've passed the 200 mark (for the two days) with 2.5 hours still to go on this, the second of this week's public consultation events"
Despite the success of the 2 days the propaganda machine by the unemployed mummy's boy Dan Light jumps into motion and he has to try and spin the success. Nonetheless he has been wasting his time as the majority of the people at the consultations were neutrals who came to see what the plans were all about.
Seems Dan will say anything to bolster their nasty campaign, still only one group will consider 8 people outside protesting when they have 9000+ members a success.

I'm sure they made a huge difference. Now down to business:

To summarise:
This looks like much more effort has gone into the protection of the natural chalk aquifer than when it was an airport as much of the area will be open access parkland with improved road access.

As the observant will notice the airport is only partly built over the main aquifer, In fact part of Nethercourt estate has actually been built on top of the aquifer and in fact Manston Green has been planned on top of the aquifer so housing development hardly seems to be an issue for the Environment Agency despite what the pro supporters might believe.