Press Release - 6th May 2014

Thanet Labour – No Regrets (Part 1) 

Manston Airport 

Despite continued efforts to ensure Manston Airport’s survival and the public demonstration of support evident in the community, Thanet Labour Leader Clive Hart is unapologetic about his administration’s continued ‘no night flights’ stance.  This continued lack of support for operational flexibility for Manston is consistent with the lukewarm statements of support emanating from Labour councillors, including Cllr Hart and Labour PPC for South Thanet, Cllr Will Scobie. 

In contrast, TDC Conservative Leader, Cllr Bob Bayford has re-stated his Group’s support for the airport, including limited night flights: “We made our position clear back in 2012 when we condemned the flawed night flights consultation and urged the Labour Administration to demonstrate real operational support for the airport.  They refused then and refuse now.”  

 

Thanet Labour – No Regrets (Part 2) 

Oasis Skate Park 

Meanwhile, Clive Hart both disowns and stands by the Council’s decision to send in bulldozers to destroy Little Oasis Skate Park.  This is despite the conclusion of the ROSPA report stating that "This skate park is currently under construction and awaits completion by the skate group. Overall the area has been improved since the last inspection, however the risk is unchanged due to unfinished ramps and surfaces. The finish of the completed items is very good and gives an indication that the site will provide a well built area with risks within the normal level for this type of facility". 

Cllr Hart claims that the decision was an officer one, despite the fact that the power of TDC as a landlord is vested in elected members and he should therefore be responsible for the decision.  In any case, he does not regret that the money spent demolishing the skaters’ work could have been spent bringing it up to the acceptable ROSPA standard.

Thanet Labour – No Regrets (Part 3)

Animal Exports 

Thanet Labour Leader, Clive Hart has defended his Group’s animal exports ban, following the recently announced transfer of £180,000 from the New Homes Bonus to meet legal costs and the further potential £1.5m bill to Thanet taxpayers. This despite the coruscating verdict of Mr Justice Birss who adjudicated that “TDC set out at the start of 2012 with a preconceived wish to use its powers to block the trade if it possibly could and was heavily influenced by the political motivations of the Council leaders who were vehemently opposed to the trade” and that it was a “disproportionate decision reached in haste” without receiving separate legal advice. 

Clive Hart has said: “We stand by everything we did….we did absolutely the right thing.” 

However, Cllr Bob Bayford commented: “Labour’s reckless action has, entirely predictably, landed the taxpayers of Thanet with a potential bill of legal costs and damages of £1.5m.  The Conservative Group at TDC consistently warned that this was the likely outcome of such action by the council, however desirable the sentiment to stop this unpleasant trade.”