The airport in Kent has been sold to regeneration specialists, who plan to use the site for manufacturing, housing and schools.

A majority share in the site has been bought by two members of the consortium behind Discovery Park in Sandwich – Trevor Cartner and Chris Musgrave – who are planning a £1bn redevelopment ‘to create more than 4,000 jobs’.

Mr Musgrave said in a statement to the BBC: “Whilst it is too early to be specific about our plans, we will be looking to comprehensively redevelop the whole site to create a mixed-use community.

“This is in light of the fact that the airport has closed, the equipment has been sold and it will not reopen.

“We are aware that there were a number of job losses when the airport closed and a far greater number will replace these, and that the benefits will reach the whole of east Kent.”

However, Thanet District Council has not ruled out the possibility of placing a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) on the site. It is part way through a reviewing process, and the results of an exercise to identify ‘suitable indemnity partners to cover all of the associated costs’ of a CPO will be taken to Cabinet on October 16.

A spokesperson said: “The council will then undertake a wider review of the options for the site and as part of this would seek further details from the new site owners to understand more about their proposal.

“A report outlining all of the options for the future of the privately-owned site will then be brought to a Full Council meeting for all 56 Councillors to consider.

“The council has been clear that a CPO will not go ahead unless there is evidence of the economic viability of the site operating as an airport and a suitable investor identified to cover all of the costs required.”

Meanwhile, Thanet North MP Sir Roger Gale has urged campaigners to continue fighting for the airport to be reopened. In a statement he said: “I believe that it is in both the national and the local interest for Manston to remain open as an airfield.”

Manston airport was bought for £1 by Ann Gloag – who co-founded the Stagecoach Group – last October, but closed in May with the loss of 150 jobs.

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