Tuesday 23 September 2014

Thanet's Regeneration Game

Today the news hit that Manston Airport has been bought by the developers of The Discovery Park in Sandwich headed up by Chris Musgrave and Trevor Cartner.

Yesterday, Thanet District Council put out a press release that might have passed many by. The Thanet Regeneration Board has changed its name to Invest Thanet. Many may not have noticed who or what is the Thanet Regeneration Board.

I've been asking since its formation how board members are appointed and haven't managed to get a reply:

In June this year, a new Chairman of the Thanet Regeneration Board was appointed, a Mr Paul Barber. Mr Barber is the Managing Director of the Discovery Park in Sandwich. It did seem odd to me that a competitive regeneration site boss from the neighbouring Sandwich area would head up Thanet's Regeneration Board.
Edited to add link to March 2013 post:
Fwd: Why has the This is Margate website has been removed?

The previous TRB chairman was Pam Alexander (ex-SEEDA). I don't recall anyone from Thanet being asked to join the board or apply for the position of chairman.

Here are the current members of the Thanet Regeneration Board:

Paul Barber

Cllr Iris Johnston - Leader of Thanet District Council

Sue McGonigal - Chief Executive Thanet District Council

Laura Sandys - MP Thanet South

Victoria Pomery CBE - Turner Contemporary

Daivid Ashdown - Job Centre Plus

David Foley - Thanet & East Kent Chamber of Commerce

Andrew Ironside -Strategic Director (Resources) for Canterbury Christ Church University

 Malcolm Frier - FujiFilm Speciality Ink Systems Ltd

Graham Razey - Principal & Chief Executive East Kent College

Andrew Scott-Clarke - NHS

Sean Kearns - Connexions Kent & Meday

Andrew Brown - English Heritage

Cllr Mark Dance - Kent County Council

Cllr David Green - Thanet District Council

Frank Martin

Janet Haddock Fraser - Dean of Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences

Mr Barber stated back in April the need for a fast train time to the 'edge of Ramsgate'. That would be to Manston Airport site that we now know has been sold to the Discovery Park. I've long been concerned that the Parkway Station plans risk the loss of train services to the towns of Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate with shuttle buses bringing passengers from Parkway to the towns.

On BBC Radio Kent today I caught a snippet of an interview with either Mr Musgrove or Mr Cartner stating they were 'property people' and Manston would be developed for housing, retail and schools.

Does that sound like a business park?

The funding for the Parkway Station and the big new roads that run there were all funded for employment and job creation. Not to enable a massive housing estate.

Is it feasible that no one at Thanet Council, Kent County Council or MPs knew this was coming?

There seems no representation on this TRB from small businesses or tourism. Which for a coastal region is highly significant.


  1. I think it is highly likely that the unspoken long term plan is for a single parkway station at Manston and closure of all the other rail stations and perhaps even a new rail line across the airport site to link Minster directly to Birchington.

  2. I suspect many of us foresaw a move such as this with Ann Gloag's track record. So many of the discussions held are not open to most cllrs, in spite of the untruthful 'transparent' tag Iris, and Clive before her, claim. Who knew what and when is a fascinating question, tho not one you will get an easy answer to. I am at least glad the new chair is reported as 'voluntary'. I believe, including perpetration time, the previous incumbent was paid in excess of £2,000 per meeting. How well Labour looks after the public purse.

  3. I understand FOI requests have revealed the previous chairman was compensated £1300 per TRB meeting.