Thanet MP Roger Gale claims sale shows ‘Ann Gloag‘s contempt for public’ An auction of Manston Airport’s assets could be the final nail in the coffin for its future as a cargo hub. Controversial business woman Ann Gloag, who bought the airfield in October 2013 for £1, has once again come under fire from Thanet North MP Roger Gale, following news the airport’s equipment will be going under the hammer, suggesting that there is no hope of resurrecting the troubled business. He said the auction of Manston vehicles and equipment “underscores Mrs Gloag`s attitude towards Manston and her contempt for public opinion?. This comes after Mrs Gloag turned down three offers to buy the airport from American investment company RiverOak. Their third offer was said to be in the region of £7 million.
A spokesman from RiverOak confirmed the company would have kept the business open as a cargo hub should their bid have been successful. Closing the airport resulted in around 150 job losses. Following the rejected bid, there were rumours Mrs Gloag wanted to sell the land for housing, including suggestions that Manston could become the site for a new garden city, rumours which have proved unpopular with many in the area. Thanet District Council leader Iris Jonhston has confirmed to KoS that she believed a functioning airport is “essential to the footprint of Thanet? and that the council would look at the option of a Compulsory Purchase Order for the site.
This latest news has therefore dealt a further blow to these hopes:
Included in the items listed for sale with auctioneers Peaker Pattinson are runway vehicles, baggage conveyor belts and trolleys, x-ray machines and check-in desks.Sir Roger however, remains stoic, saying: “This will simply strengthen the determination of Manston`s supporters, the district council, members of parliament and, of course, the prospective purchasers, to buy the airfield and to get planes flying again.“Much of what is on sale is past its best and any new operator would be looking to replace and refresh equipment more suited to the tasks generated by the new business that Manston will attract.“The Transport Select Committee`s planned inquiry into regional airports will offer a political opportunity to air the true facts surrounding what I regard as the temporary closure of Manston, and in due course I shall also be seeking a further adjournment debate.
“The inquiry that a Compulsory Purchase Order will almost certainly generate will additionally offer the chance to get the facts on the record and to expose the manner in which potential business opportunities have been squandered?.