Call to close Lydd and Manston and turn them into leisure centres
PUBLISHED: 11:59 21 July 2012 | UPDATED: 15:46 23 July 2012
Greens make dramatic proposal to transform airports
Lydd and Manston airports should be shut down and converted into leisure centres, according to dramatic proposals put forward by the Kent Green Party.
It says it is opposed to suggestions of regional airports being expanded, and alternative uses of the sites should be looked at. But their proposals have been dismissed as “pie in the sky” by a leading MP.
Greens spokesman Steve Dawe said: “Kent Green Party has made its opposition to airport expansion very clear in campaigning and submissions in recent years.
“We emphasise that Lydd and Manston should be converted to all-weather leisure centres as a boost to employment in these areas, and to build up the domestic tourism offer of the East Kent area.
“Why does our Government want to favour people flying abroad for holidays rather than building up the quality of domestic tourism instead?”
Manston is regularly stated as an alternative to a proposed Thames Estuary airport, and Thanet North MP Sir Roger Gale insists Kent Green Party’s plans are pie in the sky”.
He said: “Curious, in this context, that it is the Green Party that has its head in the clouds while those of us that want to see Manston succeed have our feet planted firmly on the ground.
“Instead of backing the job creating potential of Manston and recognising the importance of aviation in the South East to the national economy, the Green Party wants Manton and Lydd to be converted into all weather leisure centres.
“Another pie-in-the sky proposal with no thought as to where the money to pay from it might come from. Thanet already has an available leisure site: it is called “Dreamland” and that is our local priority for leisure development.
“Serious local politicians need, in the national and local interest, to get behind Manston, and to help to realise its potential.”
The government is currently welcoming responses to its draft aviation policy framework, with the consultation closing on October 31.