On July 30th a motion was put to Ramsgate Town Council regarding night flights at Manston airport should the airport ever reopen. The issue was debated in public and a vote was taken that Ramsgate Town council is opposed to night flights. The majority voted in favour including myself. I voted for the motion because I felt this is acting in the best interest of the people I represent in Central Harbour Ward. Also I must add that I was elected on a no night flight ticket so my vote was never in question.
I do have personal views on Manston and I believe Manston it is a failed commercial airport. However because it is important infrastructure that does have a part to play in the economy of the area I support the idea that every avenue should be explored to try and reopen it as a small viable commercial airport. As it stands this is going to be difficult task for all involved.
When Manston closed it was because of commercial failure and had nothing to do with opposition to night flights and I will continue to support the no night flight campaign. So it is a case of Manston Yes, Night flights No but being a realist the future of the airport does look bleak unless huge investment can be found.
I am quite open where I stand and even read and contribute to the Save Manston Group facebook page following the debate. As far as the debate goes everyone has a contribution to make whether they support a 24/7 cargo hub, completely against, no night flight or whatever and the good thing about this it is non political something that is rare for Thanet.
There does seem to be a downside to this open debate, being that there are elements of the Save Manston Group that have completely gone against the rules of civilised open debate. I have had a false accusation against me published on their facebook page. I have been accused of voting for no night flights because I want Manston to close because the company I own has a demolition contract to demolish and recycle Manston , also it goes on to say I stole the contract off Downfast. This is ridiculous because I do not own a demolition company. The author of the remark thinks I have something to do with Ovenden demolition which is untrue. Others in the group immediately picked up on this and jumped on the bandwagon. Surprisingly the posting was allowed to stand and even after I posted a disclaimer that attracted even more sarcastic comments. Obviously I have complained and received and apology from the group leaders. However I have looked deeper into the Save Manston Action Group facebook page, printing off pages of comments . I have found there are personal attacks on individuals that are appalling and one that really stands out is a slur on Thanet District Council.
Following the last full council a posting was published on their page that was factual, honest and praising the progress made with Thanet District Council. However on a following posting someone posted a road sign , on it was the word "corruption" and the caption "TDC" and this was allowed to stand. Now what sort of message does that send out to an outsider viewing the page for the first time.
I am not the first to face this treatment from SMA commentators. I have received emails and communication from others that have been subject to hostile and intimidating abuse of which they are innocent.
For a group that supposed to be at the heart of the debate is going to find itself on the fringes if the thuggish mob rule element is not weeded out.