Meeting minutes 17/10/14

Oscar Maynard made this Freedom of Information request to Kent County Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear Kent County Council,

Under the Freedom of Information Act (2000) I would like to request the following:

- A copy of the minutes for a meeting conducted at the KCC offices, held on 17/10/14, with KCC leader Mr. Paul Carter, MP Sir Roger Gale, Mr. Gary Easton and Ms. Ruth Bailey in attendance.

- Any further documents related to this meeting.

Yours faithfully,
Oscar Maynard

Kent County Council

Dear Mr Maynard

 

Thank you for your email below.

 

Kent County Council acknowledges your request for information under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000. Assuming KCC holds this information, we
will endeavour to supply the data to you as soon as possible but no later
than 14th November 2014 (20 working days from date of receipt).

 

We will advise you as soon as possible if we do not hold this information
or if there are exemptions to be considered and/or any costs for providing
the information. Please quote our reference - FOI/14/1915 - in any
communication regarding this particular request.

 

Best regards

 

Laura Pronger | Information Access Officer | Information Resilience &
Transparency Team | Kent County Council | Room 2.71, Sessions House,
Maidstone, ME14 1XQ | Internal: 7000 4261 | External: 01622 694261 |
[1]http://www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-council...
|

 

 

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Dear Kent County Council,

By law you should have normally responded to this request by 14th Novemenber 2014. I request the information immediately and an internal review to be conducted. I hope you are not deliberately withholding information.

Yours faithfully,

Oscar Maynard

Dear Kent County Council,

By law you should have normally responded to this request by 14th Novemenber 2014, yet I have still received no message. You have a poor track record for fulfilling FOI requests in the legally-mandated time frame. I request the information immediately and an internal review to be conducted. I hope you are not deliberately withholding information.

Yours faithfully,
Oscar Maynard

Kent County Council

Dear Mr Maynard

 

Thank you for your request for information made under the Freedom of
Information Act (FOIA) 2000, relating to Manston Airport. Please accept my
sincere apologies for the delay in responding to you; I appreciate that
the Council has not complied with statutory timescales on this occasion. I
can confirm that Kent County Council is currently undertaking an internal
review into the handling of your request for information.

 

On the afternoon of the 17th October 2014, Sir Roger Gale MP and two (not
three) representatives of the Save Manston Campaign came to County Hall to
meet Paul Carter. The meeting took place in Mr Carter’s office and both,
Lucy Majin (Press Office Manager) and David Smith (Director of Economic
Development) attended. The two representatives from the Save Manston
Campaign were Ruth Bailey and Gary Easton.

The meeting was scheduled to last 30 minutes; however Mr Carter allowed it
to run on for 90 minutes.

The visitors did not present their Petition and only generally referred to
it as evidence that "most people who lived in Thanet" supported the CPO of
the airport.

Most of the meeting consisted of accusations that Kent County Council
(KCC) had unreasonably failed to support RiverOak's proposal to buy the
airport from Mrs Gloag, failed to give appropriate support to Thanet
District Council (TDC) in the CPO process and had given unwarranted
support to the new owners of the airport whom they described in the same
terms as the author of the anonymous Thanet Eye report.

Sir Roger said that Mr Carter’s Leadership of KCC was totally out of step
with the position of Government ministers and the wishes of Conservative
Members of both KCC and TDC.

Sir Roger also said that there was evidence that Mrs Gloag had conspired
with Infratil to get the airport sold to her for a sum well below its true
value and that she had then entered into a deal with property developers
to strip the airport of its assets and maximise her profits through future
housing developments. 

Sir Roger said that Mrs Gloag really still owned and managed the airport
site and he challenged the statement of Mr Carter and Mr Musgrave that
they would be successful in bringing jobs to Thanet. Sir Roger claimed
that there was plenty of existing commercial land at Discovery Park and
empty plots on the land owned by KCC and TDC. Sir Roger said that the
demolition of commercial buildings at Discovery Park was further evidence
of the owners wanting to turn away commercial tenants in favour of
housing.

Sir Roger said that Mr Carter's support for housing on the airport's land
had been revealed in a TV interview and this support had been confirmed by
Mrs Gloag herself. 

Mr Easton told the attendees that he was very familiar with the finances
of Manston Airport. Mr Easton said it had actually been profitable for
many years, and that the freight business and ancillary services (car
parking, cafeteria etc…) more than covered the airport's costs. He
acknowledged that the recent passenger business had not been successful
but said this was because Infratil and Mrs Gloag did not want the airport
to succeed. Mr Easton said that the Wiggins Group and EU Jet showed how
successful Manston could be in terms of numbers of passengers. He did not
acknowledge that this had proven to be financially disastrous, saying that
EU Jet had simply used the wrong planes.

The visitors said RiverOak were the only show in town and KCC should
support them.

Mr Carter sought to put straight the facts and explained KCC's actions.
The market had failed to deliver a profitable airport at Manston. RiverOak
had been asked to share their business plan, but they had refused: without
seeing it, KCC could not support it. In contrast, the number of new jobs
created at Wynyard Park and Discovery Park was evidence that the new
owners of Manston had a strong and impressive track record in redeveloping
difficult sites. KCC had seen no evidence of the conspiracies that the
visitors described.

KCC had for many years been supportive of the expansion of aviation at
Manston but Infratil's losses and Mrs Gloag's conclusion as to its
potential profitability as an airport demonstrated a market failure. KCC
had been consistent throughout in supporting plans which could bring jobs
and economic growth to Thanet and that continued to be the basis of its
discussions with potential investors.

KCC would not disclose some of the details of those discussions where this
would breach commercial confidentiality. For the same reason, KCC did not
plan to publish details of things that were said in this meeting.

KCC undertook to send to Sir Roger the record of the TV interview with Mr
Carter to show what had really been said about possible developments at
the airport and prove that housing was note mentioned.

The meeting concluded by thanking the visitors for their time and for
letting KCC hear their views.

 

If you are unhappy with this response, and believe KCC has not complied
with legislation, please ask for a review by following our complaints
process; details can be found at this link
[1]http://www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-council...
on our website. Please quote reference FOI/14/1915.

 

If you still remain dissatisfied following an internal review, you can
appeal to the Information Commissioner, who oversees compliance with the
Freedom of Information Act 2000. Details of what you need to do, should
you wish to pursue this course of action, are available from the
Information Commissioner’s website [2]http://www.ico.org.uk/concerns.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Laura Pronger | Information Access Officer | Information Resilience &
Transparency Team | Kent County Council | Room 2.71, Sessions House,
Maidstone, ME14 1XQ | 03000 416590 |
[3]http://www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-council...
|

 

 

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Dear Kent County Council,

I have spoken to Gary Easton who attended the meeting, who would like to offer the following comments:

"I have read the so called minutes of our meeting with Paul Carter, I certainly never said I was familiar with the finances of Manston for many years, how could I, I pointed out that due to my wife running the car park, I knew it was capable of taking good money and challenged Mr Carter to estimate how much revenue the car park had taken in the eleven months of KLM's tenure."

"...He was reticent to have a guess but finally, if my memory services me correctly, thought it might be £20,000... I also pointed out that during the eleven months of Eujets operations over 300,000 passengers used Manston, as verified by the CAA website."

"It was indeed a very long meeting and had it gone on a week, Sir Roger, Ruth and myself would have had to listen to Mr Carter's tried and trusted denial that he wanted Manston closed and that the opening in twenty years of the 'Paul Carter' industrial and housing estate we would be much better for us. Sadly another politician out of step with the wishes of the populace perusing his own agenda."

Yours faithfully,
Oscar Maynard

Kent County Council

2 Attachments

  • Attachment

    Internal review of Freedom of Information request Meeting minutes 17 10 14.txt

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  • Attachment

    Re FOI 14 1915 RESPONSE TO FOI REQUEST RECEIVED 17th OCTOBER 2014.txt

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Dear Mr Maynard

 

Thank you for your emails below and attached.

 

Unfortunately, the response to your request was delayed due to an
administrative error and therefore I uphold your complaint that Kent
County Council failed to comply with statutory timescales with regard to
the handling of your request for information and offer my sincere
apologies on behalf of KCC. I am afraid I cannot comment on the accuracy
of the meeting notes; we simply provided the meeting notes exactly as they
were recorded, fulfilling our duty under the Freedom of Information Act
2000.  

 

For your information, we routinely publish performance statistics on our
website
[1]http://www.kent.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf...

Compliance is also monitored regularly at the Policy and Resources Cabinet
Committee
[2]https://democracy.kent.gov.uk/ieListMeet... - (see
“Dashboard” items)

 

I trust that this explanation now satisfies your complaint. However, if
you are still unhappy, you can appeal to the Information Commissioner, who
oversees compliance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Details of
what you need to do, should you wish to pursue this course of action, are
available from the Information Commissioner’s website
[3]http://ico.org.uk/concerns, or you can phone the ICO Helpline on 0303
123 1113.

 

Best regards

 

Caroline Dodge | Team Leader | Information Resilience & Transparency Team
| Kent County Council | Room 2.71, Sessions House, Maidstone, ME14
1XQ | 03000 416033 |
[4]http://www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-council...
|

 

 

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