MINUTES OF THE FIFTH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING HELD on SATURDAY 15THJULY 2017 at 10.30, at MARGATE FOOTBALL CLUB.
Present: Henry Bolton OBE (Chairman), Geoffrey Illsley (Vice Chairman), Jan Revell (Treasurer), Carolyn Illsley ( Secretary), Lynda Smith (Membership Secretary), Martin Welch (Website Liaison), Nicholas Reed (Founder Chairman).
Members, supporters and the general public.
Sir Roger Gale MP.
Dr. Sally Dixon and Mr. Oliver Gardner, both representing RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP).
Henry began by welcoming everyone and introduced the speakers.
1. Sir Roger Gale.
Sir Roger (SRG) began by saying that the UK is losing millions of pounds through having insufficient freight capacity in the South East. The recent consultations by RSP had been a great success and many people had been reassured that their fears over noise and pollution were unfounded. After Manston Airport’s closure in 2014, what was a potential disaster has been turned into an opportunity. Where previously, there had only been the space for one cargo aircraft to be dealt with at a time, at least nine hard standings are proposed by RSP. This means there will be no need for night flights, which no one wants, except in cases of emergency. Regarding the 106 Agreement, RSP will insist that this is included in their operating terms and SRG would oppose the plans were it not. Since Mrs. Gloag’s closure, RSP will have the opportunity to build the airport from scratch to be a world class cargo hub with a moderate number of passenger flights.
SRG welcomed the recent decision from the Planning Inspectorate that the airport should remain part of the Local Plan. There was good reasoning behind the decision and it fits with national aviation policy, proving Manston to be a national asset. SRG then kindly took a few questions from the audience.
Q – What is happening about a fast train service from Manston?
A –The Parkway Station is on track and will include a shuttle service to the airport. SRG explained that there is not enough room for an actual spur as this would mean a curve having to start from Sarre.
Q – Without a 360 degree hinterland, should the new Thames tunnel not be further east to bring more traffic from Essex?
A – The economic base is for freight, not passengers, especially flights from Asia and the East. In addition, there could be 25 minute helicopter flights from Manston to Battersea.
Henry thanked SRG for his upbeat address and for being a constant supportive presence keeping this issue alive in Government circles.
2. Dr Sally Dixon
Dr. Dixon (DSD) specialises in airport master planning and is Riveroak’s Strategic Advisor. She said the recent consultation had been very positive. 2,000 people had attended the various venues with 400 at Ramsgate alone. So far, they have received 1,000 written responses.
DSD referred to the robust defence by RSP at the recent Planning Appeal regarding keeping airport buildings for aviation purposes. The DCO and recent Planning Appeal have already cost RSP £5 million. She said that it further showed RiverOak’s commitment as otherwise the Stone Hill Park (SHP) appeal would have gone through by default. All the appeals were dismissed.
As part of her job representing RSP, DSD has been in talks with the University of Kent about future engineering programmes. There is a huge need for aviation facilities in the south east. £9.5 billion has been lost already through lack of capacity. This is only going to get worse and we will lose more business to Europe if the UK has nothing further to offer. She told us about goods landing at airports in the UK and massive truckloads having to be taken to Europe to pass security checks before being returned here, because we do not have the latest security facilities. RSP plans to install such a facility at Manston. It will be state of the art. The hope is that Manston Airport will be up and running in 2020.
Plans are expected for two or three passenger aircraft. The hope is that KLM will return (they never wanted to leave). There could be tie ups with Dover and the Cruise Terminal.
Accurate figures have been worked out for future planning, they are:
Yrs 5/6, 10,000 freight movements
5,000 passenger movements
Yrs 10/11 11,600 freight movements
6,800 passenger movements
Yrs 20 17,000 freight movements
9,000 passenger movements
(just over 2 in and 2 out per hour)
First full year – 850 direct jobs
Yr 20 30,000 jobs in all categories – direct, indirect/induced and catalytic.
3. Mr.Oliver Gardner
Mr. Gardner (OG), an Environmental Specialist, explained the relevance of a Development Consent Order (DCO), which was introduced in the Planning Act of 2008, so they are relatively new. The purpose is to have comprehensive studies already done on environmental and public concerns. Plans have to be put in place with measures to offset or mitigate problem areas.
Key areas are air quality, water and noise pollution. Regarding air quality, HGV movements associated with cargo have to be studied. Using the example of 5 tons of cargo per HGV (quite a small amount), in year 20 there could be 180 movements a day. This is quite low compared to other traffic in the area – hot spots being The Square, Birchington and St Lawrence Roundabout.
Regarding water, 70% of drinking water in Thanet comes from the aquifer under the Airport. There are 4 boreholes, including one at Lord of the Manor. RSP have to show that this water will not be affected. Water from the hard standings will be collected, taken for treatment then pumped into Pegwell Bay.
Regarding noise, the DCO will not go through if noise rules are likely to be broken. Aircraft noise averaged 63 decibels during the day and 55 decibels at night. RSP has to find ways to mitigate noise effects should this be necessary.
Henry thanked the RSP speakers and commented on the massive, deep and intensive work already completed. Further questions were invited.
Q – Can you give an example of 50 decibels?
A – The equivalent of using a lawnmower.
Q – It would be a shame to split the northern grass from southern area. Is anything being done?
A – RSP is looking at this and will have discussions with local authorities.
Q – Is it still true that for every 1 direct airport job, there will be 9 created indirectly.
A – That is still about right.
4. Craig Mackinley MP.
At this stage, Mr. Mackinley, who had previously given his apologies, arrived and was invited to speak. He said he was very excited about RSP’s plans for a complete overhaul of Manston. The future is looking a lot brighter than it was two years ago. Ideally, the new owners might consider selling the airport, thus saving a year or two’s wait. He felt it was worth noting that Southend and Luton had hardly any unemployment and that is just what Thanet needs. He was very positive about RSP’s plans.
1204 – At this point, the Chairman called for a break, the meeting to resume at 1215.
1215 – The Raffle was drawn.
i) Apologies – John Curran, Betty Renz and Edmund Rowlands.
ii) Approval of the Minutes of the last AGM – these were approved by members, signed and dated by the Chairman.
iii). Approval of Agenda – approved.
iv) Chairman’s Report.
The Chairman began by saying that an awful lot had happened in the last year. The Government is just beginning to get to grips with the practical side of Brexit and aviation. It is becoming obvious that neither Heathrow nor Gatwick nor Stansted can cope with the amount of cargo flights that are needed by the UK now, let alone in the future. We must have more capacity in the south east if we are not to lose billions of pounds of business to Northern Europe. He mentioned Charlie Elphicke, MP for Dover and Deal, who is very concerned about possible congestion when we leave the EU and said that it is quite possible that Manston will be able to alleviate some of this traffic.
Henry then repeated our Mission Statement, written in 2012 before Manston closed:
“Our mission is to promote the use of Manston Airport for an increasing number of flights, destinations and passengers. We also wish to promote the use of Manston for increased cargo operations and to support the development of its aircraft maintenance facilities.
We aim to encourage achievable solutions to develop an environmentally conscious, economically sustainable and socially aware airport.”
Time was getting short, so we moved on to the Treasurer’s Report
v) Treasurer’s Report
LIQUID ASSETS as at 14th July 2017 CURRENT LIABILITIES – Nil
Bank £ 240.81
REPORT FOR THE PERIOD 6th APRIL 2016 to 5th APRIL 2017
Membership Fee Receipts £ 20.00 Events Expenditure £ 190.00
( last year’s AGM and
ManUp at Winter Gdns)
Donations 43.24 Office Expenditure 22.00
Events (AGM raffle) 71.00
£ 134.24 £ 212.00
DEBIT BALANCE C/F £ 77.76
vi) Membership Report.
Number of Members – 92 (four more joined at the meeting).
Number of Supporters – 471.
Every one of the Members and Supporters receives up to date news via email.
vii) Election of Chairman: Henry was willing to stand again and no other candidate came forward. He was proposed by Martin Welch and seconded by Nicholas Reed. Members approved
Election of Committee: the Committee were all willing to stand and were elected en bloc. Proposed by Julian Eagle, seconded by Malcolm Bernardes. Members approved.
Jan Revell was congratulated for her two recent letters to the Isle of Thanet Gazette.
1255 – The meeting ended with the Chairman thanking Bo Boelens for expertly managing our newly refurbished website. He thanked the Committee for giving their time, also the Speakers, Margate Football Club and everyone who attended.