This month's formal planning application to build a 175 acre Chinese business park at Manston makes heavy reading, I can tell you. All in all 110 documents have been filed. That's about 109 more than you'd need for your average single storey extension.
Local squillionaire Ken Wills, whose joint venture with the dodgy human rights abusers otherwise known as the Chinese is behind the China Gateway development, has clearly been very thorough. And I can't think of too many people round here who'd sit down with all that bumf for a spot of bedtime reading. All I managed was the glossy Environmental Statement, which reveals that some of the final development will be beyond the designated employment area and use up yet more of our precious countryside. The application rather arrogantly states:
Whilst this portion of countryside land would not normally be developable for such uses, it is considered an appropriate departure from current policy given its strategic location and the unique opportunities presented.
Then abracadabra! There we go! The magic words 'jobs' and 'regeneration' appear, which is bound to get our supine council drooling. As will the sentence: '(It) will put Thanet ‘on the map’ as a major international commercial centre.'
So get out the KY and let's all bend over backwards and/or forwards for the Chinese, eh? Why not let them bulldoze our pastures and build on top of our water supply, I say. Why not let them add up to 17,000 journeys a day to the area, and rumble lorries round our roads and fly knackered old jumbos over our heads? After all, we might lose our pleasant environment, but in return we'll get a few jobs and a load more sheds full of tut out at Westwood Cross. Hurrah!
Click here to go to the UK Planning website. Once you've selected Thanet District Council, go to M, then click on Manston Road. It's the second application down.