A survey of residents to gauge opinion on a Thanet Parkway railway station will involve just 300 people based in Thanet and Dover.
Kent County Council cabinet members agreed on December 2 to defer a decision on funding the proposed station until later in January and to carry out the survey following an Environment & Transport Cabinet Committee where members suggested further consultation be carried out.
Council leaders will examine results from the survey alongside the planning consultation which is open now and runs until January 20.
The decision to again consult on the station, which has spiralled in cost to £34.51million, was despite a warning given to the transport committee by Katie Stewart that: “Without the decision by Cabinet to move forward on this project we will lose the £14million SELEP funding and the project will not be delivered in the current timescale and it is unlikely it will be delivered in the future.”
The survey will take place in January.
A KCC spokesperson said: “The public opinion survey will be undertaken of a representative sample of 300 people in the catchment area of the station in the first few weeks of January after the Christmas holiday period.
“At the same time, the Statutory Planning Consultation on the planning application for the Thanet Parkway Railway Station is open until January 20 and the public can submit their views on the proposal.
“The planning consultation was publicised via a newsletter delivered to all households in Cliffsend (approximately 800), plus official planning notices have been displayed near the site and letters sent to the most significantly affected residents.
“The current planning consultation is the fourth on the proposed Thanet Parkway railway station. There were two pre-planning consultations – in 2015 and 2017, a Statutory Planning Consultation in 2018 which led to the application being withdrawn in November 2019, and the current Statutory Planning Consultation on the current application.”
However, KCC councillor Barry Lewis says the survey is not good enough and full consultation was the suggestion put forward by the transport committee.
He said: “I am furious, this is not what the committee asked for, we wanted a full consultation.
“This is £34.5million of tax payers money being spent on land which Network Rail will own the freehold of without the agreement of the people of Thanet. This poll is not in the spirit of our recommendation and I am urging Thanet residents to write to KCC cabinet member for transport Michael Payne, care of Sessions House at Maidstone, with their views.”
Fellow county councillor Paul Messenger added: “The Cabinet decided that to run a full consultation alongside the public consultation for the planning application was too much so they’ve opted for a scaled down consultation. I’m disappointed but would encourage all to exercise their rights to ( if they want to) place their objections on the KCC portal for the Thanet Parkway Station planning application consultation.”
The original estimated cost of the Parkway project was £11.2 million but that sum has now tripled.
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 of £17.81 million from Kent County Council.
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.” If full funding is not in place SELEP may withdraw its contribution.
Concerns raised by councillors last month included questions over why Thanet needs an eighth railway station, passenger safety at an unmanned station and the danger of more building on agricultural land due to the expectation of the station creating demand for 4,500 new homes.
Changes made to the planning application currently being considered include removing the proposed footbridge over the railway line and using the existing Petley’s Arch subway instead.
Access into the station from Hengist Way will now be a left-in, left-out arrangement allowing free-flow of traffic eastbound between the Sevenscore roundabout and the Lord of the Manor roundabout without the need to stop at traffic lights
In order to secure the SELEP money, KCC will need to agree to the project by the end of January 2020. Construction of the station is earmarked to start in 2020/21 with proposed completion in 2022.
As a Thanet and Kent ratepayer l do not want this waste of tax payers money to be used on this project.l do not see the need for this and believe it to be a white elephant .At a time when Thanet residents are being asked for more rates yet again McCullum and Thanet council seem to be looking for ways to waste money.
I am now told this sham consultation will be restricted to the cliffs end area only, meaning that the rest of thanet railway users are NOT being consulted about the longer train journeys that the extra station will cause. And of course their is a possibility that nearby stations to the new one could be downgraded .to encourage people to use unmanned new stations , please send your comments to cllr Michael payne c/o Kent County Council sessions house Maidstone Kent
We need to know how the tiny supposedly representative is being selected
This is a complete farce.
I urge everyone to contact their KCC councillors and raise their concerns.
Absolutely shameful! And what is KCC’s rationale for including the residents (well, some of them) of Dover?
I am in full agreement with Cllr Barry Lewis. We need real investment in Thanet from KCC, genuine consultation with service users and those residents who will be impacted, and speaking as some who was viciously assaulted on an unstaffed station some years ago, we also need to fully ensure all views are taken into account. Including those members of the travelling public who are possibly more vulnerable. I expect to be checking the Equality Impact Assessment in detail in due course.
This is an ‘I con you consultation’ also democracy at it’s worst.
The existing Thanet railway stations should all be improved. Is there really a need for another station?
If parking is a problem, perhaps KCC should be investing in improving public transport, such as buses and trams,in order to help residents become less dependent on their cars.
Great to hear that campaign for protection of rural england are against this ghastly proposal as it will destroy rural cliff end greenfields. Cliff end will become a nightmare to live in due extra motor traffic.
Once again unanimity from all the persons posting here! Let’s hope public pressure can stop this outrage – but perhaps the picture of the station [unstaffed] and its CCTV cameras [unmonitored] could be “after dark” with furtive blokes in balaclavas hanging about seeing which passengers they can rob and which cars, left by gullible commuters, to break into? What have to good folk of Cliffsend ever done to anyone to deserve this horror being foisted on them? Anyway, by-election due in Cliffsend & Pegwell Ward shortly so perhaps a chance for real voters to express an opinion?
Perhaps the 300 chosen ones are the potential passengers who will use the Parkway station annually? Ie about 1 a day?
Like it – perhaps ridicule could kill this proposal off?
Yet another project along with the Dreamland fiasco , not to mention Manston , being dreamt up by people with not a brain cell between them !
Millions for a station very few people want while Thanet buses were cut back this year to save 600k. The priorities are all wrong!
Well said Mike – we lost the 56, part of the 8A route, the Sunday service on the 32 and a whole slew of cuts for buses many elderly and isolated people relied on – and now, to add insult to injury, we have this proposed waste of public money locally. Big improvements to the bus network are actually needed, this “white elephant” of a station isn’t!
I think if you read between the lines put a railway station in just a few hundred yards away from manston makes sence. Because once the houses are built on manston it makes sence to have a station nearby.
A survey of such a minute and locally focused group would be very misleading. Why on earth can’t it involve most of thanet, after all, its not simply to serve just Cliffsend is it? And if it is, then that’s ridiculous.
Confused… plans are to build thousands of houses not on Manston but in cliffs end itself!! The motion passed at council meeting was to have full Thanet consultation not a cliffend only consultation; somebody is desperate to build a station, i know why but my legal advisor is adamant for me not to mention anything publically
I didnt know that , than it makes sence to have a station that will serve the Londoners that move down to the new houses than !
Cant see what it brings for the local people thou…
Why would thousands of people, Londoners or not, want to move to an area with a shortage of jobs, doctors, schools and public transport?
I am trying to work out why anybody would want to build a new station with an obscene amount of car-parking space in an area of Thanet near a village – a station whose catchment area, according to KCC’s map, consists largely of agricultural land and extends at least as far as Westwood Cross.
So the Londoners can live in cliffsend but can travel easily to their work in London.
As someone who is originally from Thanet and planning to move to Cliffsend, I can assure you that there are not ‘thousands’ of houses being built in Cliffsend, referring to TDC Local Plan. Yes, more houses are being built but not thousands. There is limited parking at all existing Thanet stations and with the growing population and Thanet becoming more of a destination, it needs the infrastructure in place which it so desperately lacks if it’s going to grow economically. Yes, there are thousands of houses being built which will expand Westgate and Birchington, with a number of Londoners relocating (as am I). Thanet needs investment, without upgrading the line with a station where people can park in their numbers, the area will never attract the investment it needs.
From Thanet council’s new draft housing strategy: “The new station has the potential to unlock
existing planning consents and accelerate up to 4,500 homes beyond 2033, which demonstrates
an essential need for infrastructure to deliver affordable housing”
A test case could be done.
Platforms, lighting, ticket machines and cameras could be situated to the East, adjacent to and with ramps from the level-crossing on Foads Hill – very inexpensive.
If folk used it then further investigation of a full scale station could be considered.
If parking became a nuisance then there is space to the North-West of the level-crossing for a car park.
Maximum cost ~£x00,000 – NOT millions wasted on a white elephant.
The previous consultations were shams:
Not: Do you see a need for it?
But: What colour would you like?
I am glad to see that if the “powers that be” are going to push this through, that they have taken up the obvious design idea of using the existing tunnel rather than the monstrous and expensive bridge.
But are these potential new residents from London not the council tenants which London boroughs are forcibly moving out so that the councils can sell their former homes for loads of much-needed dosh? Are they not, most of them, unemployed benefit-scroungers who do not have jobs?
I too am confused, though lower-case.
We are looking to move to Cliffsend and I can assure you, we can buy a beautiful house in the village. The prospect of being able to walk a number of minutes to the station and be at the office within 90 minutes is extremely appealing. I’m sure others will follow suit.
Decent bus routes are the answer, not another huge waste of money. How will disabled people be able to use an unstaffed station?
Seasons greetings everyone! Why would “Londoners” with jobs in the City, Canary Wharf or the West End move to an obscure Thanet Village with a train ride of at least an hour and a quarter before they start their London commute from St Pancras? As they say on “Father Ted”, it’s not very likely is it!
Keith, I am one of those Londoners planning a move to Cliffsend. The village offers excellent access to road links out of Thanet and is nicely out of the way from the Westwood traffic. My partner and I will both be commuting to The City, even before the station is built. This way, we can enjoy peaceful evenings at home and enjoyable weekends living by the sea, overall, a much higher quality of life. As London becomes more expensive and dangerous, more people will do the same if the commute improves.
I know of at least two people who did or still do commute to London from Thanet.
A few reasons:
1) London has jobs.
2) They pay well.
3) Houses in Thanet are cheap.
4) The quality of life here is much better than in London.
5) Beer is cheaper.
Tony, I don’t think your reasons are compelling.
1) London may have jobs but internal migration from London, is not going to create jobs in Thanet, that are not precarious(short term, low skill and lacking in many rights).
2) These london jobs may pay well, but by what mechanism other than trickle down will any potential remittance income,improve the economy of Thanet?
3) Houses in Thanet are not cheap, they just reflect the state of the local economy and its nearness to London.If Thanet’s economy improves then they will stop being cheap and of course cheapness is a relative term and a matter of opinion.
4)Define quality of life and why in London is it apparently lower?Again, you use subjective statements without any data to back up your opinion.
5) Beer is cheaper, that might at least be true, but it is also the cause of the night time economy problem that plagues parts of Thanet.
Last word on this.It is an ill thought out, poorly conceived and incoherent rag bag of
shape changing nostrums, unlikely to do anything for Thanet.Worse still it will actually increase Thanet’s carbon footprint not reduce it.
Building this station seems to be more about not losing SELEPs money, than any desire to actually deliver economic improvement to Thanet in the most viable manner.
KCC ought to consider what SELEP will think, if this turns out to be a dud and how they will persuade them to invest in other more worthy schemes?