New homes plan for former Manston Airport rejected

Published
Image caption,
Manston Airport closed in May 2014 with the loss of 150 jobs

Controversial proposals to build 2,500 homes on the site of Manston Airport have been rejected by councillors.

They were part of Thanet District Council's draft local plan for future housing and development.

UKIP council leader Chris Wells came to power on a pledge to reopen Manston as an airport, but had been backing proposals to build on the site.

He said it was "disgraceful" that councillors voted against the plans.

"It means the government will step in to take over the local plan and Thanet will have to take even more new homes," he said.

Speaking after councillors rejected the plan by 35 to 20 votes, Mr Wells said: "I think it's a position where councillors have once again behaved irresponsibly, haven't properly weighed up the facts and figures that they should've done, and on this occasion come to the wrong conclusion.

"What will happen is we will suffer an enormous penalty across this island in the long-term because of that foolishness."

Image caption,
Chris Wells said the council's vote against the local plan had been misguided

UKIP councillor Stuart Piper, who voted against the plans, said: "It has been predicted for some weeks that most members of this chamber were unhappy with the proposal that we were being presented with."

He added that UKIP was "prepared to put the local people before our party badge".

UKIP councillors in Thanet, which is the only UKIP-run council in the country, said they would meet in the next few days to discuss their future, amid calls for Mr Wells to face a vote of no confidence.

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