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:
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
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.