My KCC Election Manifesto & Video

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Manston Airport Housing. What Did Cllr Hart Know? Why Didn't He Tell?

According to my Freedom of Information Request Anne Gloag’s team have held several meetings with Council officers and Cabinet members to discuss  building 1,000 houses on “surplus” land north of Manston Airport in February and March of this year

The question is what did  Council Leader Clive Hart know about these discussions and why
didn’t he make them public? In answer to the first question, it’s  simply inconceivable that Hart didn’t know about the  talks. Apart from being the Council Leader, Hart has special responsibility for Strategic Economic Development Services. Major housing developments such as the 1000 homes plan mooted by Gloag’s team fall into the category of strategic economic development, so Hart must have either been briefed about Gloag’s plans by senior officers, or must have been present at some of the meetings himself. These meetings took place in February and  March 2014 , before the closure of the airport  was announced.


Which gets us to the second question why didn’t Hart  make Gloag’s  housing plans public when the closure of the airport was announced?  In this week’s Thanet Gazette, Hart devotes almost an entire column bigging himself up as  someone who wants to work with the community to save the airport. If this was true then surely he should have publically announced that Gloag’s team were discussing housing options with the Council even before the closure was announced. Surely Thanet residents campaigning to save the airport had a right to know what Gloag was thinking and surely as the Leader of the Council, Hart had a responsibility to tell residents about these facts.

There can be no excuses. Hart cannot claim commercial confidentially as a reason for not telling Thanet residents about Gloag’s plans. I submitted a Freedom of Information Request and the Council did not refuse me which means that the information could have been made public straight away.
So our cross-party, open and transparent, Council Leader who claims to be working “shoulder to shoulder” to save the airport appears to have witheld  important information from the public about land-grabbing-Gloags intentions. Just as he did with the TransEuropa Ferries secret  £3.4 million debt scandal. Just as he did with the East Kent Opportunities Planning Application. Just as did with the Liittle Oasis SkatePark SAS style dawn raid.

If you want open and honest community politics in Thanet  its time to look elsewhere.

UPDATE a very angry Hart confirmed in a twitter exchange late last night that he had briefed a small group of Thanet Councillors at the Overview and Scrutiny Panel on 29 April about Gloag's housing plans. That's all well and good, but the point is that at no time has Hart told the residents  of Thanet about Gloag's housing plans. Surely these are the first people who should have been told.  He's had plenty of opportunities in TV and Radio interviews, at meetings and of course in in his column in the Thanet Gazette. But no not a word about it. One can only assume that his failure to tell residents about this important development is because he does not think they are important. So much for his weasel words about standing shoulder to shoulder with Save Manston Campaigners.

23 comments:

  1. It's about time somebody exposed the failings and shenanegans of Clive Hart et co. Keep digging away Ian - Save Manston Airport Group are too!

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  2. I doubt Clive Hart is the only one who does not have the interests of the Thanet people first and foremost in his mind. Get them out!!!

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  3. are the brown little packages about??

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  4. Looks like TDC could get at least £5 millions plus from the goverment's new build bonus scheme if 1000 dwellings were built. This scheme puts rather a lot of pressure on local authorities to pass these large scale building schemes and it would get TDC out of a hole.. Not surprising the paltry offer of £5 millions for the airport was turned down when 1000 houses could generate £50 millions plus for the owners.

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  5. Always doubted Tdc comments re try to save Manston . They have done more than most to restrict Aviation business at our Airport. Two faced is being polite.

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  6. This looks as though our council have either unwittingly or intentionally given Anne Gloag the green light for these houses, and yet we have no way of knowing if saving the airstrip would have been part of the negotiations? Assuming £50k profit on each house, this could amount to £50million gross profit perhaps?
    My mother and disabled partner live nearby, and in the name of Thanet People, these same Councillors laughed as they voted to remove them from their garden land because it was deemed outside their policy of developing in the countryside. And as a family we will have to deal with the fallout from their cruelty forevermore.

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  7. When multi-millionaires are involved, of course he would know. As you have said Ian, this HAS to stop, what has not been found out this far.

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  8. Maybe its time for an Anti TDC Protest everyday till the cabinet resigns?

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  9. The plans for the housing were simply inconceivable if the airport had remained open. The houses would have been too close to the runway and would have fallen within the Public Safety Zone. Those putting forward and backing the plans must have assumed or known about the closure.

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  10. Annual council on Thursday. Independents to withdraw support and back bench revolt?

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    1. does that mean we could be shot of the bent leadership and co horts

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  11. Dont understand why cllr Hart would say this on twitter this morning (sunday) "Cllr. Clive Hart ‏@CliveHart 4h
    I stated clearly & very publicly in a BBC TV interview broadcast a week ago that the last thing we need at Manston is a huge housing estate." when he is on the EKO management committee that is appealing against decision not to allow 550 dwelling on EKO land at Manston?

    Look like from his shouting on Twitter last night that he has learnt nothing from the LGO peer report that highlights "bullying toxic" councillors. He is still a prime example.

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  12. Ian well done in exposing the Labour Group for what they are. Saving Manston should be a Priority, The Leader did'nt appear at the Acol meeting, he managed the Wintergardens Public meeting but left early when challenged by a lady in the public area over conflicting statements. He was not at the Manston meeting on Friday nor were any of his Cabinet except Cllr Mrs Johnston perhaps a photo opportunity was a catalyst. In the Gazette Cllrs Nicholson and Harrison spoke out about the closure but did they support it in Council , or were they under a Whip imposed by the Leader? and where the TIG Group (both of them) Cohen and Worrow also absent from all three events. Readers you all now know what is going on with the Labour Group and its TIG benefactors who keep them in power, in the words of a popular song," its time to say goodbye" With twelve months to the District Election, you have a choice,.

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  13. RE update: The minutes mention that he met the airport owners but nothing about housing is mentioned, rather an important omission.

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  14. Is Hart really devious or just totally incompetent with not the slightest idea of what constitutes good form or honourable practice. As many of us suspected long before he became leader of the council, he simply does not have the intellect, education or experience for the job.

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  15. We have been tirelessly fighting an honest and open campaign to save one of our most treasured assets - Manston Airport. Whilst doing so we expect open and honest leadership from the Council especially when Hart and co. are claiming to be on our side. It seems to me that, despite the pro-Thanet rhetoric coming from Labour's leader, he continues to be the architect of Thanet's destruction.

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  16. My understanding is that TDC has previously been criticised for not keeping minutes of meetings between themselves and developers. Are there any minutes of the meetings which have been held between councillor/officers and representatives of Ann Gloag's organisation?

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  17. First HP.
    Then CH.
    S McG next?

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  18. He has runaway from his responsibilities because of the problems he and his party have created for the whole of Thanet in favour of the 7% 'no night flights' opposition to the development of Manston Airport.... Why? To be re-elected by the residents of Nethercourt and to get the Council out of a financial hole. .

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  19. Thank you Ian
    Now please, as you seem to be the only decent Cllrs, help save the airport!

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  20. Mcgonigal must go and Everitt for the Port

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  21. Thanet council = Corrupt bunch..

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  22. Well as long as Hart has nothing to do with planning applications in Thanet when Thanet Councillors get re-elected, Thanet will be fine......opps Spoke too soon.....We all DOOMED!! Manston will be houses now!!!!

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