Saturday, February 18, 2006

Gateway to The Good Ol' USA

Tomorrow’s ‘Kent on Sunday newspaper will reveal that Manston could become the ‘Gateway’ to the United States, by the Spring, with advanced negotiations underway between Kent International Airport and Norfolk Virginia on the US east coast.

There’s also a withering attack from columnist David Mairs, on “Bob the builder filling his boots”, populating the island with concrete. Funnily enough, I notice that in the desperate search for new housing space, the tiny car park next to what was once the Kings Antiques shop in Westgate is being filled with a “deceptively spacious” house. Kent, by the way, will only receive 10% of the infrastructure costs needed for building the thousands of houses that will soon arrive or at least that’s what the paper reports, so you might want to run out and get a copy with your Sunday Paper tomorrow, it’s free.

Finally, I notice that both Kent on Sunday and the Gazette have picked-up as headline news, what I suggested here when the Turner Contemporary project went “tits up” the other week. I asked, if you recall, if there might be an exit clause and cost in the contract to build it and coincidentally noticed some interesting activity, visiting on the website from the Edmund Nuttall domain. It transpires of course that their will be an exit cost, which could rise by a further £1 million.

There’s a horribly smug temptation to write “told you so” but I won’t.


Anonymous said...

Lets hope the Manston - Norfolk USA link does lift off; the present planning of a few flights to Spain etc is not enough.

What worried me about the Gazette headline was that it highlighted £1 MILLION when this figure has actually been £6.6 MILLION already wasted if you accept we have nothing to show for it and with additional costs yet to work through the FIASCO will probably have a bill closer to £8 MILLION.

Is it me or has the Gazette at last decided to be critical of the TC fiasco; its editorial was the first critical squeak it has made in the past five years. Is it that out of touch with the majority of its readers?

Anonymous said...

Who actually wants to fly to Norfolk Virginia?
I have been to most states, never been to or connected through Norfolk.
Now if there were flights to New York or Orlando or Los Angeles we might be talking turkey here.
Lots of folk actually want to go there on a frequent and regular basis in large numbers, and large numbers of passsengers is what you need these days.

Anonymous said...

Thanet needs large numbers of passengers through Manston like a hole in the head.

The airport is being allowed to expand in an uncontrolled fashion. If it's allowed to go unchecked, it will have the same effect as John Prescott's plan to concrete over the whole of Kent i.e every sensible person will scarper, leaving the place to a few old duffers and an ever-increasing population of white van men and lager louts.

Anonymous said...

With regard to the 10.03 post then we have to make Manston economically viable, and that means lots of passengers.
Otherwise it will be built on, with thousands of new homes, which is what the 10.03 poster doesn't like either.

Anonymous said...

Well actually there is an alternative and that would be to let it just revert to nature. Or at the very least open it up to proper controls and scrutiny.

But that would be too much like thinking 'out of the box' for most Thanet types, especially TDC. As David Mairs points out in his excellent opinion piece in today's Kent on Sunday:

"How did a place (Thanet) that had so much going for it end up in such a state? How were so many people allowed to systematically trash somewhere with a largely benevolent climate... arguably the best beaches in the country, and a favourable geographical position?

"..the answers lie in the sprawl of housing that stretches almost unbroken from Minnis Bay to Cliffs End. Fifteen miles of Bob the Builder filling his boots with no one, least of all the local planning authority, going to tell him he couldn't."

And he continues:

"All development is seen as good development. Anyone who suggests that the same environmental standards in force at every other airport in the land should also apply at Manston is dismissed as negative, living in the past."

Does that sound familiar, Mr and Mrs Bungaloid of North Thanet?

And by the way, Mr Mairs was born and bred in Thanet and lives in Cliftonville, so he can't be accused of being an incomer, a Ramsgatonian who should have bought a house somewhere else, a Muslim, an art lover, or any of the other usual suspects you might happen to be prejudiced against/scared of this week.

He is also proof, thank goodness, that there is intelligent life at least somewhere on this island.

Anonymous said...

'The airport is being allowed to expand in an uncontrolled fashion. If it's allowed to go unchecked, it will have the same effect as John Prescott's plan to concrete over the whole of Kent'

Yeah yeah whatever 10:03 poster. I don't notice any uncontrolled expansion at Manston, I've been here since 1965 and it was busier during the RAF days. If you actually look more than 50 metres beyond a rural road you'll notice acres of land which isn't concreted over and never will be. I know as I source land for development and I know what can and will be available for development. Less than 11% of land in the UK is urbanized and Prescott's plans won't really make a dent in that. Usual sensationalism from the tabloids after a cheap story and people who don't check their facts. Incidentally, lots of people fly in and out of Norfolk, Virginia.