Plans for the Thanet Parkway Station at Cliffsend have been awarded £14million of Local Growth Fund cash via the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP).
At its April Accountability Board meeting held on Friday (April 12), SELEP agreed the funding towards the station subject to confirmation that the project’s cost will not exceed the new agreed budget of £27.7million and that the rest of the funding required has been secured.
Upgrades needed to a level crossing at Cliffsend are still being investigated. Once the next stage of the project design work has been completed the total cost will be confirmed.
The original estimated cost of the project was £11.2 million.
A planning application for the station was submitted in June last year. It will be built off the Hengist Way, on the existing Ashford to Ramsgate rail line near the Sevenscore roundabout. It will be a two platform station with the entrance on the north side. There will be a 300 space car park, platforms accessible by stairs, lift and pedestrian bridge.
Waiting shelters, CCTV and passenger information points will be provided on each platform along with ticket machines and a help point to provide remote assistance by intercom.
The station is designed to be unstaffed and managed remotely through the use of CCTV and intercom.
The report to the board stated the new station will reduce journey times between Thanet and central London to an hour, improving the attractiveness of the area to businesses and increasing the employment catchment area for local residents. The report added that it will also provide better links with High Speed 1 services, improving access to employment in Canterbury, Ashford and the rest of Kent.
However a statement from the Department for Transport, in response to a Freedom of Information request by former councillor Ian Driver,last year said the proposal would shave just one minute off of journey times from Ramsgate and Margate.
KCC estimates the project will lead to the creation of 400 to 800 jobs over a 30-year period from the station’s projected opening in 2021, as well as the development of additional homes over the same period.
Christian Brodie, Chair of SELEP, said: “East Kent suffers from higher levels of deprivation when compared with South East England as a whole, with Thanet being ranked as the most deprived local authority in the county.
“Poor accessibility is a key factor that has discouraged major employers from locating in the area, which has served to undermine the pace of regeneration.
“The improved transport links a new Thanet Parkway station will bring will make the area more attractive to employers and will help attract a more highly skilled workforce, in turn supporting the regeneration of the area.”
The total cost of the project is due to be met by contributions from Kent County Council of up to £10.95million, Thanet council, which agreed a contribution of £2million and the East Kent Spatial Development Company (£700,000).
The board also agreed to write to the Department for Transport asking for it to urgently order additional Javelin trains to meet the high demand for HS1 services.
A Kent County Council spokesman said: “KCC welcomes SELEP’s further endorsement of this vital infrastructure project. Supporting the economic growth of East Kent is a priority for the county council and this funding will help deliver that growth. A planning application for the new station will go before the planning committee at KCC in due course.”