As a crunch vote for Chris Wells’ UKIP council fast approaches we ask, is UKIP finished in Thanet District Council?
Today, Thanet District Council will vote on the long overdue Local Plan. The council will decide if they should earmark Manston for future aviation use or allow it to be used for thousands of new houses.
The political stakes are so high that an attempt to broker a two-year stay of execution on the development of the site was discussed behind the scenes by all the political parties recently.
The council are required to maintain a document called the Local Plan setting out planning objectives for the area. However, they have failed to do so and risk the government stepping in if they cannot get their act together.
For fear of having a far greater house building burden placed on the area by the government, Labour are thought to be siding with UKIP.
When elected Chris Well and the Thanet UKIP party to which he defected from the Tories, promised to reopen Manston as a functional airport. However, they have failed to deliver on that promise.
This ongoing failure has led to widespread dissatisfaction within Wells’ party. Now it looks as if a faction of UKIP councillors are prepared to side with the Tories on the matter. Which could impact the outcome of the vote.
The aviation-use only clause for Manston was part of Thanet last valid local plan which was adopted in 2006. This would have to be changed if UKIP is to back the developers plans to build houses on the site.
If Chris Wells cannot unite what is left of his party, the ensuing defeat threatens to see him ousted from the leadership position.
A few days ago Thanet Council, led by Wells, approved plans to raise council tax by 2.99%. As this is yet to be given the green light, reducing the rise may be seen as a popular vote winner by a leadership challenger.
As we previously reported, UKIP’s time in power has seen an almost instant u-turn on their support of Manston, a vote in favour of racism, budget problems, indiscretions, a leader that failed (again) to pay tax to his own council (he was not the only UKIP councillor to do that), increased racists attacks, defections, broken promises, and Dreamland in entering administration amidst suggestions of the (UKIP) council not pulling their weight.
Is UKIP finished? Could Wells’ one real election promise be about to end his time in the top slot at TDC? We may be about to find out.