Anger over Thanet Parkway Station public survey

The proposed Thanet Parkway railway station

By Local Democracy Reporter Ciaran Duggan 

A frustrated councillor has challenged Kent County Council on Thanet Parkway Station and claimed the authority has failed to carry out the request of a KCC committee over a key public survey.

Cllr Barry Lewis (Lab) said the month-long survey, which asked Thanet residents if they wanted the station, did not cover the whole district, but only Cliffsend, where the station would be located, and North Dover.

He also said a further consultation was expected to take place, which was stipulated by KCC’s environment and transport in November, but has not.

Speaking at a council meeting, earlier today, Cllr Lewis said: “I’m querying why our recommendation has not been carried out by the officers.”

The planned commuter railway station remains controversial after the estimated cost spiralled to £34.5million. Several KCC members have fiercely opposed the move, which they say Thanet residents do not want.

However, supporters say it will improve connections to London by bring journey times to the capital down to an hour on the Ramsgate to Ashford International line. They also say it will bring more employment to the area.

KCC’s highways cabinet member, Cllr Michael Payne (Con) disputed Cllr Lewis’ claims and assured his colleagues that the requested action had been carried out.

He said the outcome of the public survey will be discussed at the next cabinet meeting in four days’ time.

The Tonbridge member added: “The results are not yet known and planning aspects are being undertaken at the same time.”

No further discussion was carried out during the public meeting because council bosses said there was no room for it on the committee’s agenda.

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 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 have 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.

Independent councillor Paul Messenger has also raised the issue of whether the consultation and decision date break election purdah rules. A by-election is due to be held in Cliffsend in February following the resignation of Cllr Davd Stevens.

KCC’s main opposition leader, Cllr Rob Bird (Lib Dem), suggested that Cllr Lewis be permitted to directly address the cabinet with his concerns next week.

Cllr Roger Gough (Con), the leader of Kent County Council, will lead the discussion with his nine cabinet members during a public meeting at Maidstone County Hall from 10am.

41 Comments

  1. Oh here we go, Barry Lewis again. That doesn’t understand facts or precedent. His laughable 20mph zones are the highlight of his ‘career’.

    I agree with Cllr Michael Payne. Sadly Barry Lewis just doesn’t understand.

    • Why are you attacking 20mph speed limits? The 20’s Plenty campaign and introduction has proven to save lives, and injuries in road traffic accidents up and down the country and internationally! It was introduced in Germany at least 25 years ago, when I was visiting, and made it much safer for cyclists!

      Why are KCC & TDC throwing money at the proposed Parkway station? No one wants it, and no one will use it. The money can be better spent on more worthy local projects!

      • Wrong. 20mph speed limits are proven to be more dangerous especially when speed enforcement such as speed humps aren’t installed. The government admitted this and many companies who have run independent surgery’s have confirmed that reducing the speed limit is more dangerous, hence why councils are removing them.

        But little guy Barry, doesn’t want to hear the facts.

        • Strange then that 20mph limit has been adopted in dozens of large towns and cities, and all over Germany, are they all wrong then? What is needed desperately is the resurfacing of all roads in Thanet, which most third world countries would be ashamed of! Use the Parkway budget for that, and more people would get out of their cars, and onto bikes, especially as it would be safer with a 20mph speed limit, and less air pollution, simples!

  2. What’s the point of asking residents across THANET if they want a railway station at Cliffsend when 98% of them will never use It preferring to use a station nearer to them or never even using the trains to travel.
    Public consultations are a waste of public money and yet another delaying tactic by the NIMBY crowd.

    • Thanet is a small area and we already have several railway stations. Why can’t significant improvements be made to these instead of this absurd plan for an entirely new station with hundreds of car parking spaces on a greenfield site? Investment in joined -up bus routes and timetables would also be a better use of money than a new station.

      Barry Lewis understands that cars should be travelling at low speeds in residential streets. He should be congratulated for wanted to increase public safety- the desire for 20mph zones is laudable not laughable.

      • Marva Rees agree with you regard to your point on railway stations.

        Not often do I agree with County Councillors Lewis and Constantine but I do on this. The Proposed Parkway Scheme is not only a total waste of public money but would do nothing to improve the environment it should have been strangled at an early stage! This white elephant is a distraction from the real issue of rail connectivity in that the rail line infrastructure, signalling realignment of rails, improvement to level crossing safety etc needs upgrading so we truly have a high speed service to and from London.

        I note in the Network Rail ‘Railway Upgrade Plan – South East’ 2017/18 on page 32 Ashford- Ramsgate journey time improvements. It states By 2019 we will have completed design for the project, ready for work to commence in 2020. Where are we this? Or does it all get kicked into the long grass, if excuse the pun it is derailed by this ridiculous idea that another station is needed!

      • To increase capacity on a railway you can

        – have longer trains ( but then you need longer platforms at every station , including london)
        – fewer longer trains as above
        – faster trains ,not much good on a busy line with too many stop starts , could close stations but then people
        complain
        – new signalling system , massively expensive for minimal gains

        None of the above deals with the issue of getting people and their cars to a station and the attached congestion through the towns.
        Thanet is due to increase in size massively in the next 20 years, for once it is a piece of ( admittedly imperfect) forward thinking. In the absence of a whole new line to london its the best option, new line is a pipe dream, so its making do with what is possible.
        Talk to train drivers, signalling engineers and town planners, then form your opinion , rather than rely on the fallback position of “that’s not what i want”.
        In the absence of reducing migration to the uk to near zero ( not happening, and lots want increased migration) the need for housing trumps everything else, with that is a need for infrastructure.
        Given the above, what magical alternatives are there?

        • “Thanet is going to increase in size massively”? Only yesterday I read that it will probably decrease, due to rising sea levels!

        • Not all people have cars. Public transport needs to be very much improved so that people do not need to use their car and this highly damaging car-addiction (for that’s what it seems to be) can be reduced.

      • Indeed – Thanet already has seven railway stations in a relatively small geographic area serving a population of some 140,000 – how can adding one more be necessary, justifiable or even desirable ?

  3. I was under the impression that the station was to serve the “Airport”. If it goes ahead, will there be an airport ??
    What will happen to Ramsgate station and its surrounding land. Who will benefit if the airport is refused. These are questions that need to be answered and confirmed in writing to protect everyone in the surrounding area.
    TFC and KCC you might be at risk.
    Do not underestimate the people who elect you. You are not irrisplacible.

    • Why would it serve the airport ??, if and it’s a very big if manston open it’s for freight no footfall for a new station which is about a mile or two away from manston terminal unless the terminals are being moved to the cliffsend side of the runway !

  4. My worry about the new station is that it seems a huge amount of money to spend and gain nothing for Thanet residents. It builds on good grade farmland and may lead to yet more house building around the station. None of it properly justified.

  5. The sooner the station is built the cheaper it will be, it is when these things drag on that the cost start to rise. If Manston Airport opens again as it should do, the station would be greatly used by staff and passengers alike. East Kent needs a major employer/s. Good rail and road links are the roots to the tree of success. We need to think ahead to be ahead.

    • Manston airport should never open again, for if it does, and is as busy as RSP say it will be, the residents of Ramsgate and Herne Bay will experience 24/7 noise and pollution, far more than they experienced during the airport’s previous incarnation.

    • What footfall manston of it opens is for freight!!! Why do the pro manston people think manston is for people ???

  6. Marva, your scare mongering is as usual totally without evidence. Even when the RAF was based at Manston Airport we lived under the flight path and it was never a problem 24/7. Neither will it be when the airport hopefully opens again.

    • Au contraire, Ann. The DCO application put in by RSP makes it clear that there is no night time limit on “unavoidably delayed” flights.

    • To say that anyone who presents the facts about a cargo airport is scaremongering is to ignore the reality of what a cargo airport does. It is, as RSP has often said, non-stop business, with day and night flights.

      I and many others hope that the airport will not get permission – and, more generally,that this government will pay more than lip service to the serious environmental problems the world now faces.

    • and why are KCC hell bent on giving him money in 2005 to help launch an already failing EUJET of £10k for it to then go into liquidation forcing planestation to liquidate and he then sold it to Brian Souter of Infratil an offshore leaks company using offshore leaks companies is surely against the law but KCC and TDC are hell bent on offshore leaks they could not repair a leak in East Kent Housing which is also offshore leaks
      and the authority that employed linked fund solutions ltd of Neil Woodford to manage a pool of 11 counties to offshore leak peoples money is to me fraud ..politicians live on lies and deceit this is no further than the truth
      I also know of an ex planning officer who has all the inside information who then sets up his own company but sad he is offshore leaks too along with all the estate agents except one. I did more than what any politician has done and got to where the truth lies

      Money laundering and other crimes
      KCC
      TDC
      Councilors past and present
      leader of the council
      and I was told to never tell a lie

      how can KCC employ Neil woodford to look after peoples money
      this is not the first time KCC pension board have lost money

      shame on all of you

  7. Ann when the RAF was here they didn’t fly 24/7 and a drop in the ocean to the number of movements planned by RSP. This station is pointless and to tie it to the airport is laughable as it will not be a passenger airport it’s a CARGO HUB. Not sure why people still keep referring to it as a passenger airport when that is not what it is going to be! You have all been duped into accepting a polluting cargo hub. I would rather the land be kept as farmland as that is what we desperately need to keep.

  8. Wasting tens of millions on a
    Useless and isolated railway station while decimating bus routes to save 600k.
    Madness.

  9. No legitimate company has even expressed an interest in running freight planes from Manston other than the old dirty, noisy cargo planes that are banned everywhere else in the UK. That would not be good for Ramsgate or Thanet as a whole. No need for an expensive new rail station unless thousand of houses are going to be built there.

  10. Even if 1000s of houses were built, it would be far simpler and cheaper to refurbish Minster station, for example, than to build a whole new one.

  11. For a new station to serve cliffsend I am guess that a lot of people from cliffsend already use the train from ramsgate station. So if a couple of thousand residents from cliffsend travel to London daily I guess it might be needed. Seems a it unfair to build a new station for just one village.

  12. So I by only getting a few thousand people to ask. It wont be a true consensus but the pro manston people want a station they because they think manston cargo airport will bring a cargo of people to use the station !.

    The pro manston people are confused the station has nothing to do with a cargo hub at manston, it’s a new train station not a new fright rail station !!!

  13. Clearly many of the rank and file at KCC have misgivings, otherwise why the fresh consultation.The KCC Cabinet may be many things, but rail transport specialists they are not.Neither does it appear are the KCC officials. KCC seem fixated on the £14m from SELEP and appearing to do something, even the wrong thing for Thanet.
    Adding a poorly designed station with inadequate transport links will do nothing for the economy of Thanet, quite the reverse.If this project does go ahead and flops,SELEP and any other funding body will think twice before subscribing to another scheme for Thanet. This is a high risk, low return project and anyone with the slightest understanding of critical analysis or even SWAT will know this.
    Moving on to LC’s capacity argument.Longer trains are an option, but Canterbury’s platforms are too short and not easily extendable.It is also fraught with issues over risks on fouling up points and signalling if some or part of the train fails.passengers don’t like them because of the fear of being in the wrong part of the train.
    Signalling improvements do add some capacity, but are often expensive and subject to technical delays and cost overrides.East Kent’s signalling generally has been a low priority, hence the existence of mechanical signalling long after its sell by date.
    Increase train speeds;here the problem is the infrastructure and the amount of juice available at the substations between Ramsgate and Ashford. Both High speed and conventional rolling stock are stuck with the 3rd rail DC system and around 80/90 mph at best on favourable stretches of line, which do not apply on this line.60/70 mph is the highest speeds likely here.
    Power supply also limits the number of trains you can run.
    The only viable option is to raise the height of all bridges and rail infrastructure (8 bridges) on the line.Install 25Kva AC electrics and operate double deck rolling stock. HS1 can certainly run double deckers, but Ramsgate/Ashford will need investment to do the same and ease any curves etc.
    Why LC bangs on about migration I don’t know, because this is an internal shift in population that is planned(using that term loosely). As for asking planners and network rail, I would sooner consult Mystic Meg for a more reliable prophesy.

  14. What I don’t understand is how the travelling time from London to Ramsgate can be reduced if there is another station on the route?

    • It won’t be. Travel time between Ramsgate (and Broadstairs etc) to St Pancras can only *increase* if an additional stop is put on the route.

  15. Me neither, but because I’ve being reading a lot of alternative-reality novels this winter(thanks to Ramsgate Library) I’m willing to accept that there may be a Portal between Cliffsend and St Pancras which hitherto has not been open to the rail-using public.

    • And honestly, I don’t blame them. Politics doesn’t come into it. Your in your own little world and that’s that.

      • If politics doesn’t come into then why is KCC involved in the funding for this?
        Why hasn’t it gone to the Planning Inspectorate if it’s so important to Thanet’s infrastructure?

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