Cabinet consider a report back on the soft marketing exercise that officers had been tasked to undertake in order to determine the possibility of finding an indemnity partner if Council was to opt for CPO route for the Manston Airport site. The meeting heard that the Council had made every effort to work constructively with Party A including making several deadline extensions for submitting the information requested from potential indemnity.
Cabinet noted that the Section 151 Officer and the other statutory officers had reached their conclusions after fully considering what had been put forward and the implications. The method of analysis and the conclusions are also backed by Counsel’s Advice. The Council had entered into a confidentiality agreement with Party A which was specifically requested by them.
Cabinet therefore noted the following four points in particular:
1. There was no stage by stage funding for a CPO. Unless the investment was in place, the prospects of a CPO were much diminished;
2. The new ownership of the site made it more difficult to mount a successful CPO argument;
3. The Council wanted to see a thriving, viable airport. Given all the past unsuccessful attempts to do this, a long-term business plan was simply an essential requirement;
4. Neither Government nor the County Council had come forward with any financial support to help the Council deal with this major project.
Cabinet agreed not to put at risk council tax payers’ funds and not to adopt an indemnity partner which carried uncertainty.
The following Members spoke under Council Procedure Rule 24.1:
Councillor S. Tomlinson;
Councillor D. Saunders;
Councillor Johnston proposed, Councillor Nicholson seconded and Members agreed the following:
1. That no further action be taken at the present time on a CPO of Manston Airport, on the basis that the Council has not identified any suitable expressions of interest that fulfil the requirements of the Council for a CPO indemnity partner and that it does not have the financial resources to pursue a CPO in its own right;
2. That subject to obtaining written consent from Party A; relevant information is sent to the Minister of State for Transport for consideration.