Thanet Parkway Station costs expected to spiral to £34.5million

Thanet Parkway Station

The estimated cost of the proposed Thanet Parkway Station at Cliffsend has spiralled to £34.51million – meaning £14million of government funding could be withdrawn.

The original estimated cost of the project was £11.2 million.

The hike in costs means the project will now be reviewed by the SE England Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) – which administers Local Growth Fund cash – in February 2020  with a Full Business Case required to confirm that the project “still presents value for money.”

The project funding package includes £14million Local Growth Fund, £2m from Thanet District Council with a grant agreement currently being drafted, £700,000 from East Kent Spatial Development Company and the remaining funding from Kent County Council subject to a proposed Cabinet decision due to be taken on  December 2.

Some £10.2million will be spent by Network Rail on upgrade work to the level crossings at Cliffsend and Sevenscore.

A planning application for the controversial project was submitted in June last year. It is due to 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 aim is to provide improved services to London Stratford International station. However a statement from the Department for Transport, in response to a Freedom of Information request by former councillor Ian Driver, said the proposal would shave just one minute off of journey times from Ramsgate and Margate.

The original estimated cost of the project was £11.2 million but in 2016 documents from a SELEP and Kent & Medway Economic Partnership (KMEP) meeting said the cost could rise to £26 million. KCC rebutted this saying construction costs were expected to be £16 million and the revised total was £21.4million.

However, SELEP documents from a meeting yesterday (November 15) show that cost is now expected to stand at £34.51million.

The document says: “Efforts will be made to reduce the cost of the scheme, especially the level crossing works, through reduction of the contingency which is still at a high level due to the current stage of design.”

The costs comprose of:

  • £19.99m for the station and car park (at 80% probability and inclusive of
    11% contingency);
  • £10.20m for the level crossing upgrades (at 10% probability and
    inclusive of 57% contingency – this level of contingency is standard
    industry practice with work at GRIP1 stage);
  • £4.14m for other costs including the highway junction works,
    archaeological mitigation works, land purchase, planning costs, legal
    costs and fees.

The document also states that the government’s Local Growth Fund award could be withdrawn if the entire project costs cannot be met.

The document says: “It is noted that in advance of any LGF being drawn down or spent on this project, a final business case must be presented, which confirms: the total increased cost of the project; and, that all respective funding allocations are in place. If the full funding package required to meet the increased total project cost cannot be confirmed by February  14, 2020, the current £14m LGF allocation may be reallocated.”

SELEP board papers say the Thanet parkway Station is expected “to lead to the creation of an additional 400 to 800 jobs over a 30-year period from station opening, as well as development of 1,600 to 3,200 additional homes over the same period.

“These outcomes will be driven by improved accessibility both to existing key employment sites and to potential housing and commercial development sites, as well as more desirable commuting times to London.”

If the station plan gains the needed funding it is expected to be operational by 2022.

Mr Driver, who has consistently campaigned against the station project, said: “The answer to better transport to and from Thanet is not a £34.5 million, polluting and environmentally damaging station at Cliffsend, but investing money into improving our already existing stations.

“With the provision of safe walking and cycling routes and regular public transport to and from these stations, not only would this be a much cheaper alternative, to Parkway, but it would be healthier and more environmentally friendly too.”

16 Comments

  1. We were promised the extension/upgrade of the HS1 back in 2014.
    This has not happened under Craig Mackinlay’s watch.

    Thanet Parkway Station will not help Ramsgate or Broadstairs or Margate as it is still the same train with just another stop before all of us.

    The trains are great and the staff are great.

    The focus needs to be on lowering the train ticket prices and extending/upgrading HS1 not spending millions on another station and an unmanned station as well.

    Before anyone gets all excited about Manston. Manston is a cargo airport – this is not a freight station or freight train. The freight train is the Eurostar.

  2. Why do we need another station in Thanet . We already have Margate. Ramsgate westgate birchington minster dumpton and Broadstairs, while we have 7 many areas with similar populations have just 1 (eg ashford) this proposed station will have NO staff making it a muggers paradise. We need to upgrade our 7 existing stations, restore our bus services in outlying areas and more cycle lanes . Thanet parkway is in fact a thanet white elephant . Trains into London from existing stations might take longer due to the extra stop and lord of manor area will become a traffic pinch point due to extra cars in area. Madness!

  3. For once, I agree wholeheartedly with Ian Driver.
    This Parkway station idea is just a huge and completely unnecessary waste of money.
    Improve the facilities at Minster. Add more far parking at Ramsgate, if you must. Upgrade the signalling and track between Adhford and Ramsgate so that sustained speeds of 70+ mph are possible (currently there’s a 40 mph on part of the route)
    There is no way an additional station between Ramsgate and Stratford International can cut journey times by anything at all. At the very least, the additional stop will *add* a couple of minutes!
    Quite, quite bonkers.

  4. This is ludicrous! Why waste all that money building a station in the middle of nowhere when just 2-3 miles away is another station? Who’s stupid idea is this? And what is the imagined benefit of having it? If trains had an extra station to stop at it would make journey times from Thanet longer in any case. As Mr Driver states, this kind of money – ‘if going spare’ – could be so much better used on something worthwhile in Thanet. In fact, anything other than an extra station would be better for the area, but these station plans just don’t make any sense at all!

  5. The idea that Parkway will shorten journey times between Thanet and London is a misnomer. If travelling to Canterbury or Ashford, a stop at Parkway station will add 2 minutes. There is stretch of rail track that already suffers from 40mph speed restrictions in part. That needs to be upgraded.

    What is the ‘big picture’ for Thanet and how does it integrate with the rest of Kent and beyond? How do we manage our infrastructure so that it works for those who live and work here. How do we ensure what we plan today is fit for the lifestyles and businesses of tomorrow?
    In a line, can we continue to trust the current policy makers at Thanet District Council and Kent County Council?
    I have questioned many policies in the council chambers, including the numbers relating to a 1 minute improvement in rail journey times from Thanet to London and the new station in a field

    Until priorities are realigned and brave decisions like bringing the railways back into public hands, are made we will have political and commercial opportunists riding rough shod over public needs.

  6. Of course this is someone’s or a group’s vanity project which KCC should reject outright . It cannot afford to throw money at this project of very doubtful use when the county has so many pressing social needs.
    One wonders too about possible undeclared personal financial involvement in this, as well as in the preposterous taking on trust shown by some Thanet’s politicians over the proposed Manston Airport reopening
    The inhabitants of East Kent rely on their representatives in Parliament, in the TDC and all the KCC councillors to avoid large damaging financial commitments
    Does the hidden hand of Freemasonry bear part of the blame?

    • This is a bizarre and illogical idea- why not spend at least some of the money on making big improvements to the bus network? I know buses, unfortunately, are currently privately owned but how much money exactly are TDC and KCC putting into this scheme? Enough to buy a couple of buses and employ some drivers?

  7. A station not wanted by local people – the good burgesses of Cliffsend value their village status and don’t want a station and large car park dumped in the middle of it. No use to the rest of us using Broadstairs, Margate and Ramsgate stations. One extra local stop must add rather than save time. Any money put in by KCC would be better spent on restoring some of the cuts to local bus services and speeding up the run between Canterbury and Ashford by upgrading the rails. What idiot came up with this suggestion?

    • Totally correct – every comment either hostile or outraged. Is there nobody out with even a token defence of this stupidity? Where’s Chris Grayling when you need him?

  8. Worcester parkway is just about to open.It has come in at a reported £25m cost (£22m is also quoted). It connects two rail lines with 3 platforms.It has 500 car spaces and a retail area.Worcester to Paddington is now possible in 2 hours or less.This compares well with the 75 minutes current to Ramsgate, but has no high speed section, unless Brunel’s 1840’s GWR track counts as high speed.The Worcester project stated in 2007.The design though not inspired is interesting.
    Thanet Parkway stated in 2011,it has had 4 manifestations each worse than the last. The design is appalling, because it has two very large lift shafts in the design and even road access is poor as it requires a steep climb from Hengist way to access the station.It relies almost entirely on the use of a car to get there, unlike Worcester which has cycling and walking provision and a bus interchange. Thanet parkway is really a car only project and has lost its way and purpose. Worcester is not only more complex but better planned,I think KCC should stick to highways and let a Transport for the South east organisation do the public transport thinking, as should Thanet D.C.

  9. 10.2 million just to upgrade the level crossings at Cliffsend & Sevenscore? Are the lights & barriers going to made out of 24 carat gold? Time to bury this white elephant once & for all.

  10. For once, every comment here is of the same voice – we locals don’t want this station. That in itself must be unique!! And who in their right mind can even think of spending this amount of money for a project which will have no benefit to the majority of Thanet residents. When KCC, TDC and government are making cuts to virtually every other service who could agree with this plan????. Put the money into the NHS – we would all applaud then.

  11. Surely KCC , TDC councillors and any candidates for the Thanet General Election seats other than Barry Lewis and Karen Constantine should have opinions on this size of outlay which they are in duty bound to express???
    In particular Tories need to explain if this project has any merit

  12. As everyone on here has said, this is a pointless, unnecessary waste of money that will provide no benefit in terms of improving public transport in Thanet and will actually probably make it worse. This will increase journey times from Ramsgate to London as it will be an additional stop for the trains and it will almost certainly lead to more delays on the route as this station will be pretty close really to both Ramsgate and Minster stations. And it’s just such a massive waste of money. As several people have said there are so many more sensible things to spend this money on, or even just don’t spend it at all- that would be better than what will simply be an unneeded station stuck in a field by a dual carriageway.
    PS Maybe a small bit of this money could be used to fix all the lights that aren’t working at Minster station- been over a year for some of those now!

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