WHY NOT MANSTON?
MINUTES OF THE THIRD ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
TUESDAY 26th MAY 2015, 6PM AT BAYPOINT, RAMSGATE RD., SANDWICH
Present – Committee Members – Nicholas Reed, Chairman, Martin Welch, Treasurer, Geoffrey Illsley, Vice Chairman, Carolyn Illsley, Secretary and Lynda Smith, Membership Secretary.
Speakers – Craig Mackinlay MP for South Thanet
Cllr. Chris Wells, Leader of Thanet District Council.
1. Nicholas Reed welcomed everyone to the meeting. He congratulated the speakers on their success in the recent elections and said that Craig Mackinlay might be a little late due to attending another meeting in Ramsgate.
2. Apologies for absence – Jeremy Daniel, Roz Bundy, Rowland Bourne, Alex Rhodes, P. Asserman, Cllr. Robert Bayford, Capt. Alan Marsh and Lyn Scazafabo.
3. Approval of the Minutes of the second AGM, which took place on 7th March 2014.These Minutes were approved by Members and signed by Nicholas.
4. Cllr. Chris Wells, who had just been elected Leader of TDC, said that the election publicity in Thanet had been unprecedented. UKIP now controls TDC and wants to return Manston to its status as an international airport . Consequently within seven days of election the process to support a CPO was begun. Cllr. Wells stated that he was shortly going north to Cleveland to find out for himself the local council’s opinion on the Wynyard Science Park run by Messrs. Cartner and Musgrave. He will also ask questions about their new P R guru, Mr. Ray Mallon. He has insisted that all his meetings with these people will be minuted. He asked for our patience and trust while the CPO was pursued. The Price Waterhouse Cooper report is due shortly. If this goes in Riveroak’s favour, 18th June is the next date for moving things on.
Nicholas thanked Cllr. Wells and asked if he would take questions.
Q. Knowing Cllr. Paul Carter, Leader of KCC has backed Messrs. Cartner and Musgrave, will the Deputy KCC Leader, UKIP Cllr. Roger Latchford, mount a strong opposition.
A. Cllr. Wells said he has a meeting with Cllr. Carter before 18th June.
Q. Is there any reason why Riveroak has not produced a business plan?
A. There is a business plan and this has been passed to PWC and the Government. It is worth noting that no business plan has been submitted by Messrs. Cartner and Musgrave.
Q. Are jobs now in Discovery Park actually new or are they just relocations from Thanet?
A. Mr. David Foley, Chairman of the Thanet and East Kent Chamber of Commerce, said that there were 2,200 employees and 105 new companies. Relocation only applies to about 2%, but that figure came from Mr. David Willets, Minister for Science, some time ago and needs to be checked.
5. Craig Mackinlay,MP who had just arrived, said that he was four square behind Manston becoming an airport again. We are still awaiting the PWC report but he could confirm that with a positive outcome, Riveroak would be a robust indemnity partner. Now that Manston has TDC support, the Planning Committee will not want any more “nibbling” at the site. The Prime Minister is quoted as having said, “We must get Manston moving” and he is wholly supported by the Transport Minister. If we are lucky, Messrs. Cartner and Musgrave might well walk away now that they are facing a hostile TDC. He will work hard at trying to get more business for the airport.
Nicholas thanked Mr. Mackinlay for giving such an uplifting speech and wished him well in his new role.
6. Chairman’s Report .
In the past year WNM? has continued to lobby locally and nationally for Manston. Our main achievements have been:-
i) Giving written evidence to the Airport Commission.
ii.) Attending the third House of Commons Transport Select Committee, where member, Angie Sutton, was able to speak knowledgeably on Air Traffic Control matters and stressed the importance of Manston as a diversion airport.
iii) Constantly writing to the local and national press and targeting journalists to take up our cause.
iv) Supporting as many SMA and SUMA demos and fund raisers as we can.
v) Providing regular bulletins and newsletters to our members.
Nicholas stressed the importance of getting the rest of Kent involved. Most of the people in West Kent have never even heard of Manston, let alone as a refreshing alternative to Heathwick. Local TV news is never screened in playback, where London news is the default station.
Q. Lydd is always getting mentioned in the national press, why not Manston?
A. We cannot understand why, when there is such a long, windy road to get there and no nearby station (unlike Manston). Lydd does have a very wealthy owner.
Q When we spoke to the Government, had the idea of Boris Island been sunk?
A. We think it had. £70 billion and 20 years make it irrelevant to the current situation.
Q. Why don’t all the Manston support groups get together?
A. We all work differently and have more impact as separate goups – ie, we can send three representatives to any important meetings and have more clout.
We then had a brief word from the other goups.
Ms Ruth Bailey , from the Supporters of Manston Airport was one of the original members of the Save Manston Airport group. She said that the two groups actually work much better on their own. Publicity, other than local, was always a problem.
Dr Beau Webber from SMA said that during the election, government ministers were coming to the area every week and each one went back knowing about Manston. Polls for supporting the airport are regularly at the 90% mark. We may well have to raise a lot more money for publicity, but it can be done.
Mr. John Pritchard, the Deputy Chairman of SMA, with nine to ten thousand members, said they plan to reposition themselves when the CPO starts. They plan to engage with Kent Chambers of Commerce,Town Councils,farmers/growers and businessmen. SMA can help Riveroak (or whoever) with social marketing. He wants to work in partnership with all the groups.
There followed a general discussion. One lady said we should approach the USA, a lot of ex-servicemen have fond memories of Manston and she gets good luck messages about keeping the airport open.
Regarding the CPO – Nicholas said there is likely to be a public enquiry if Messrs. Cartner and Musgrave continue. Mr. Pritchard said that a CPO can be put through quickly with a fair wind. A lot depends on the Secretary of State for Communities. Optimistically, it could be three or four months. Ms Bailey said it could take up to ten years.
Geoffrey Illsley said that no one has mentioned the proposed Parkway Station that seems to have secured funding and is supported by Cllr. Paul Carter It is situated a mere 4,000 feet from the runway and therefore perfectly placed for the airport. Cllr. Wells said it is tied in with the Manston Green development, which is due before the Planning Committee tomorrow.
7. Treasurer’s Financial Report
Liquid Assets as at 04 Apr 2015 Current liabilities – Nil
Report for the period 5thApril 2014 to 4th April 2015
Membership Fee Receipts £108.38 Events Expenditure £75.65
Donations 270.00 Office Expenditure 23.07
/ £378.38 £98.72
Credit Balance b/f £279.66
Budgetary “Projections” for the year April 2015 to April 2016
Anticipated Membership Fee receipts (based on say 50 new members) £500.00
Marketing (based on say, 100 Car sticker sales) 200.00
(Plus possible income from donations and events – not quantifiable)
Stock Purchase: (based on say, 100 Car stickers over time) £110.00
Business Cards: (based on say, 2000 – over time) 50.00
Advertising: (Banners & Flyers – estimated) 150.00
Events Expenditure: (Travel costs to Govt. Meetings, Demos) 250.00
Office Expenditure: (Website costs, misc. Stationery, etc) 100.00
Contingency: (set aside for unforeseen expenses) 300.00
Projected Income £700.00
Projected Expenditure -960.00
Deficit (“Projected” Income less Expenditure) -£260.00
It is only with your continued and unstinting support that we are able to do what we can to assist in maintaining the visibility of airport issues, through lobbying local and national politicians and in supporting the ‘Save Manston Airport’ team and other groups in combined efforts to promote the CPO. & to see the airport reopened!
Martin thanked Geoffrey Illsley for helping with the presentation
There were no questions and the report was heartily approved by members.
The Committee would like to offer Bo Beolens, our Webmaster, grateful thanks for his outstanding support and maintenance of the Why Not Manston? website.
8. Report from Lynda Smith, Membership Secretary.
We have 88 paid up members and 420 supporters.
9. This was covered in comments from the floor during the Chairman’s Report and in AOB, see below
Nicholas asked for the Committee, who were willing to stand, to be elected en bloc. This was done and unanimously agreed by members.
Nicholas announced that he was stepping down as Chairman. The reason was that he had become involved in another project in Folkestone and it was demanding much more of his time than he could spare. There was no one on the current Committee willing to stand in his place. He appealed to the floor for a volunteer. No one came forward. Member, Jan Revell, suggested that as this has come as a bit of a shock, members might need a bit of time and space to consider putting themselves forward. If Nicholas could be persuaded to stay on for another month or so,that would give us time to inform the rest of our group and hopefully come up with a solution. All agreed with this. Should no one come forward by an agreed date, possibly 1st July, then our constitution states that we must dissolve.
Nicholas thanked the Committee for all their hard work. Sadly, Jan Revell had already resigned, but is still a member. She was thanked for her work in getting all sorts of perks for members, but that was before the airport closed.
i) There was further discussion on the different support groups. WNM? does not have a Facebook site. It was formed before the airport’s demise in order to encourage better use of this wonderful facility on our doorstep. The other groups came after closure and have used their social media skills to garner massive support. It was felt, that people will gravitate to the group that suits them best.
ii) Lynda offered to take on writing the WNM? Newsletter. Jan will help.
iii) The Treasurer announced that the raffle had made £53.00 and thanked everyone for their generosity.
Nicholas thanked the staff at Baypoint for their friendly hospitality and efficient service laying out the room.
Geoffrey gave a hearty vote of thanks to our Chairman for not only the last year, but for getting WNM? going at all.
The meeting closed at approximately 7.30pm