Kent County Council Cabinet approves £17.8million Thanet Parkway station spend

Thanet Parkway Station

Kent County Council’s Cabinet has today (January 27) agreed to contribute up to £17.8 million for the proposed Thanet Parkway station – but one county councillor has branded it a ‘face saving’ exercise.

The decision comes following the results of a public survey in the station’s catchment area of Thanet and north Dover.

Kent County Council says the result shows 45% of those surveyed support the new station being built, with 12% neither for nor against. The main reason given in favour was that it would encourage employers to locate in East Kent.

The station is due to be built off the Hengist Way, on the existing Ashford to Ramsgate rail line near the Sevenscore roundabout.

However, councillors have previously raised 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 branded the decision a ‘face saving’ exercise aimed at ensuring the funding from SELEP.

He added: “This appears to also be predetermination of the case as it is yet to gain planning approval.”

Earlier this month fellow county councillor Barry Lewis slammed the latest consultation as not taking in views from a wide enough area. A sample 300 residents were contacted for views. He has called the station plan  ‘a white elephant’ saying he was concerned for passenger safety at an unmanned station, highlighting the rising cost and questioning the need for an eighth station on the isle.

The KCC funding will be part of a £34.51million package for the scheme with £14 million of Local Growth Fund also allocated by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), £2m from Thanet District Council with a grant agreement currently being drafted and £700,000 from East Kent Spatial Development Company.

The original estimated cost of the Parkway project was £11.2 million but that sum has now tripled.

The proposed Thanet Parkway railway station

The costs comprise 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.


Public consultations on the scheme have previously been held in 2015 and 2017; a statutory consultation on the planning application in 2018, and another when the planning application was resubmitted in November 2019.

KCC Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport Michael Payne said: “One of the reasons this scheme has been in the pipeline for so long is because of the amount of significant consultation that Kent County Council has done, allowing the considered decision to be made today.

“This is a project that is all about creating the infrastructure first, to provide support for economic development in the area and support the delivery of Thanet’s draft Local Plan.

“Accessibility in East Kent is a critical barrier that has limited the potential of the area to attract investment and regeneration, even more so since the loss of ferry operations from Ramsgate and the closure of Manston airport.

“Improving connectivity is a vital step in attracting investment and job opportunities and I believe the Thanet Parkway project will help those aspirations.

“The proposed station will address these issues by capitalising on High Speed 1 services, bringing Thanet to around one hour’s journey time of London, improving the perception of East Kent as a place for investment.”

KCC says the scheme has the support of local businesses including Pfizer and Discovery Park alongside Visit Kent, Canterbury Christ Church University, Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce and Locate in Kent.

The design

Changes have been made to the design including removing the proposed footbridge over the railway line and utilising the existing Petley’s Arch underpass instead.

Access into the station from Hengist Way will also 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.

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.

There will be a car park for 299 cars, plus an additional 20 bays for pick-up/drop-off and taxi parking. The car park includes 16 disabled bays and 19 spaces for electric vehicles. Cycle parking and two bus stops will also be provided.

The business case for the scheme will now be discussed at the SELEP Accountability Board on February 14 before any Local Growth Fund is released.


  1. 300 people do not form a significant group for a proper consultation . Nor does the limitation of the area from which these 300 were selected provide anything of value as a reliable indication as to the views of the population of Thanet as a whole. KCC is based in Maidstone far from Thanet, its members need to take the overall needs of far away Thanet as a whole – not just of those in the immediate vicinity of this proposed very expensive station

  2. Why not wait until Manston Airport gets the go ahead, a spur at Minster to the Airport, a High Speed line from Minster to Ashford, so passengers can be trained during the day, from St Pancras to Manston Airport, for flights all over the World, then the Freight that comes in during the day, be taken High Speed all over the Country during the Night, saving the need for Car and lorry pollution.

    • Why bother doing all that? If people in London, the SE and the rest of the UK insist on flying all over the world, then they’ve got a choice of airports to do it from. Why bypass Heathrow, London City, Gatwick, Stansted, East Midlands etc etc to get to this corner of the UK?
      Likewise for freight.
      Barking idea.

  3. Manston Airport is unlikely to get the go-ahead and aviation in general is going to have to be greatly reduced.

    “Passengers can be trained during the day”? To do what? Funniest sentence I’ve read today!

  4. Why on Earth do proponents insist that adding an extra stop will decrease journey times between Thanet and London? It will increase them!!

  5. we cant have a high speed link until a lot of money is spent on the rail link between Thanet and Ashford. The station will not make it any quicker. Especially if you live in ramsgate and have to travel to this new site

    • I live in Ramsgate (as do thousands of others, of course) and it only takes a few minutes for me to walk to Ramsgate Station. So why would I (for example) want to go to Thanet Perkway to catch a train?

  6. And another stop on the line. What an absolute waste of money approved by such a small sample of people.

  7. Whatva waste of public funds, no doubt directed away from the needs of vulnerable Kent residents to line the pockets of KCC elite and their partnetship with London Boroughs looking to move even more of their residents into the planned 17000 homes in the local plan. It is all linked with Thanet to be the dumping ground.

    • Tin foil helmet alert!
      We already have 7 stations in Thanet. Those pesky London Boroughs could use them if they wanted to ship 17000 pesky people here. No need to wait for a new station.

  8. Lolol

    What a joke this area and county are a brand new station for the people of cliffsend, that’s hope the people of cliffsend use it. If it means people driving to the station from ramsgate than the sevenscore roundabout will be gridlocked at busy times.

    Manston has nothing to do with this as manston wont ever open and if it did its freight and the station isnt for freight.

    This station really doesnt make any sense.

  9. Good news at last instead of doom and gloom that some of our residents seem to dwell in. Manston Airport go ahead next will be even better news. Well done KCC. (It’s not often one gets the chance to say that).

    • How on earth can you claim that spending £35M on a totally useless station is “good news”?
      What an I missing?

      • I smell a rat! The people most likely to benefit are the people building the station, and who are they, most probably companies that donate to the Tories! Its another West Cliff tunnel to the Ramsgate Harbour, that went well didn’t it? No one has used it since its construction at a cost of £millions, apart from the occasional vile Live Animal trade trucks!

    • Whilst manston airport reopening would be great news. Sadly this station is just a waste of money and there is no real business case for it.

  10. Thanks for all your views on this white elephant, kcc is a disgrace, west Kent councillors not listening to local people who will now have to suffer longer journeys. When you are told in future there is not enough money for more buses , better schools , more social care services etc. Remember thanet parkway station is their number one priority, shame on them

  11. “and two bus stops will also be provided”.
    Wonderful. Which bus routes will service these bus stops, meeting trains 7 days a week from early morning to the wee small hours? The 45? The 9? Where will it run to/from? Sandwich (has a station). Minster (had a station). Ramsgate, Broadstairs, Margate (have stations).

  12. Tripod, your vision with its joined-up thinking makes a lot more sense than the present proposal. And those who doubt the likelihood of Manston Airport have little understanding of how the DCO process works and why it works so effectively in consenting nationally significant infrastructure projects. No adverse inferences should be drawn from the questions the DfT put to interested parties and other concerned persons recently. The scale of the Manston Airport redevelopment project is immense, and were the Secretary of State to refuse it, coming so soon after the setbacks encountered by Stansted in a perverse decision by a local district council in Essex, the Government’s claim to place great stress on giving a fair wind to the delivery of much-needed infrastructure projects would be badly damaged.

    There can be little doubt, moreover, that a high speed link designed to transport cargo and people to and from Thanet properly, and which and sufficiently dovetails with the development of Manston Airport, will work far better than the County’s preferred scheme.

    As for the notion that the new station will lead on to the construction of 4500 more houses than the new Local Plan presently forecasts, I’m fairly confident that any of the newcomers who build on the very large number of building plots that a local farmer wishes to see built on his land between Seven Score and Cliffsend will be happy about one likely result of the County’s preferred scheme, for those who may wish to use this new rail link as commuters are likely to prefer parking in those residential roads than in a rail station car park that is likely to be very expensive. It is already clear that residents in Cliffsend are exceedingly worried about road traffic congestion and parking implications of the present preferred scheme.

    • What about the government’s claim to care about the environment? Manston should not have any kind of airport – SHP’s plans for a mixed-use site were the sort of thing which Thanet needs.

      As for the waste of money KCC now proposes- why are they doing this? A clearly skewed consultation- not worthy of the name. A totally unnecessary new railway station. Unbelievably, the proposal for 300 parking spaces on a greenfield site. This is an absolutely untenable scheme anydany KCC councillor who voted for it is not a suitable person to be making decisions which will adversely affect thousands of local residents.

    • The DCO is for a cargo hub. For it to be granted, RSP have demonstrate that Manston will handle at least 10,000 cargo ATMs per year. In other words, it must meet a huge unmet demand for dedicated cargo planes.
      Expert opinion by everyone consulted bar one says there is no unmet dedicated air cargo demand in the UK (most goes in the belly hold of passenger planes to the likes of Heathrow. The rest goes to Stansted and east Midlands). The exception is Azimuth Aviation, who wrote the case for RSP. But that case was ripped to shreds by Louise Congdon of York Aviation (experts used by, amongst others, the DfT). And even if it hadn’t been trashed, AA’s own data shows that any unmet demand falls short of the threshold figure of 10,000 ATMs.
      Even if the DCO is granted, and even if RSP actually get some planes to fly to and from, a Parkway Station would be useless, because RSP’s DCO is all about freight.

  13. Building on farm land, encouraging car use and commuting,no extra local jobs, possibly endangering the viability of our existing stations and using a large amount of public money …. what’s the point?

  14. we dont need another station end of put the money to services we need not what we dont and ask a bigger variety of people and you will get the correct answer.

  15. I can remember the uproar and protest when the plans for the channel tunnel were being suggested and the uproar when the Dartford Crossing bridge was planned. Some people would protest if they had nothing to moan about, they must complain. Then when these projects are built they are the first to use them.

    • I certainly wouldn’t be using an airport at Manston or anywhere else, as I never fly.
      The situation has changed from what it was a few decades ago: environmental crisis is already upon us.

  16. Who is going to drive all the way out there to get a train when there are 7 good stations in Thanet already? Ah, maybe those 45% of the 300 consulted = just 135. It is hardly environmentally friendly or sound either. It won’t be safe for passengers travelling on their own as unmanned and the police, ambulance will take, well we don’t know how long to arrive out there. An expensive waste of good money that is badly needed elsewhere to be put to good use. TDC cannot afford to waste £2 nevermind 2 million pounds on it as they don’t have enough to spend on essential services here in Thanet as it is so it seems the madness is spreading Countywide. Where will it stop?

  17. I am still gobsmacked that KCC can find nearly 18 million for a station that very few people want while last year cuts were made to Thanet bus services to save just 600k. They have their priorities completely wrong.

  18. Well i think the saying is “once bitten twice shy” I have no idea about this new venture/ station, but fact is TDC stole Ramsgate beach to build port Ramsgate, and millions to build the Harbour Approach Road , What are both doing now? well the port so i read may be made into a pikes site ,nothing wrong with that .As for the harbour road well its good for drug dealers and one can even do car repairs / change engines all in the dry.
    Off track of subject sorry

  19. KCC cannot confirm how an extra stop speeds up the journey to London.

    KCC cannot confirm how blind people can use an unstaffed station.

    This is essentially a very expensive overflow car park for Ramsgate that nobody in Ramsgate will use.

    Did KCC miss the memo that all the houses are now being shoehorned to Birchington since TDC fudged the local plan to stop building on the former airport land.

    Who do they think will use this station?

  20. Something doesn’t make too much sense here… £34 million for one new.. fairly tatty station and the Government has just announced “ There will be £21.9m for two railway lines and a New Stations Fund. ”. Someone needs to do the sums again!!

    • David Riddle hi David I guess the amount includes the back handers somewhere in the costing somethings will be costed at inflated prices ie-: sleepers cost price say £19 each on the costing list they will be double the cost 2000 sleepers provide a nice bung fund if you add a few other items in which you can make Money on it soon comes into an incredibly large amount of funds to pay people for their services. If they did a proper survey of thanet I don’t think you would get 30% of the residents in favour of the station. All it will be is another waste of council tax payers money where or how will thanet reap any dividends from this project they won’t it’s not going to employ anyone be time it starts to be built cost would be doubled again. If TDC can afford that amount put it to better use building affordable housing or housing for rental this is more in need than a new station.

  21. The last time I looked, our railways had all been privatised. We-the people-don’t own or run them.
    So why are we paying out our hard-earned cash to help private companies build a railway station. If the private rail companies want a station, let them pay for it!

    Schoolboy economists,struggling with O-level Economics, will tell us that, if there is a need, the “free-market” will supply what is required. Sounds marvellous, in theory.

    So, even if we, the local population, found we have a need for a new station, how come we are having to fund it? Surely, according to “Free market” theories, the private rail companies would soon spot a chance of profit and would whizz in a planning application to their puppets at KCC and pour their own money into the project.
    That isn’t happening. They expect US to pay for it. They will be happy enough to take over the building, let it deteriorate, barely staff it to protect it, let the passengers cope with the rampaging yobs who will be attracted to its echoing spaces, and then keep increasing the fares.

    Let’s challenge the private Rail companies to pay for it if they want it, and if they don’t want to pay for it, perhaps we can draw our own conclusions about the imagined “need” for it.

  22. Keefogs: I think that you’ve misunderstood the ethos of Capitalism.
    The whole idea is to get the state to pay for the infrastructure, then pass it over to the private sector to make as much money ad possible from it.
    There will be built-in guarantees, too, to limit the risk exposure to the private sector.

  23. There seem to be some commenting about waiting for Manston to ‘get the go ahead’. It doesn’t need the go ahead. RSP own the airport and only need the neccesary licence from CAA and then they can fly aircraft. The only purpose of continuing with the DCO is that permissions and future developments will not be for the local council to decide. Once granted by a remote Secretary of State local people will not get any say in how the airport can be operated. This is particularly relevant if there are indeed frequent night flights, HGV congestion or operation by older noisy planes.

    No doubt there are some individuals who believe totally the promises given by RSP on these matters. Personally, I would like the council that is answerable to local people to retain control on this issue.

  24. £17.8M !
    Great to see they can raise that cash but maybe its a better idea to spend it on the county’s existing problems.
    As an example,our high streets are quickly filling up with long term empty shops. Sort the high streets out first,who wants to own a shop in a a ghost high street.
    Have had talks with people wishing to set up business in Thanet,they visit the area and uniformly decide to invest in a neighbouring county due to historic local neglect,crime,rough sleepers,beggars,muggers,drunks,drug dealers,smashed shop windows,graffiti, etc.

    The high street can be transformed away from retail,its actually quiet easy but needs the cooperation of kcc.

    Why not let the new housing estate,the airport or new business park pay for the new train station.Make it part of their planning permission.

  25. But there is no need for a new railway station. Why can’t KCC tell SELEP that there are far more urgent things than an 8th railway station to deal with in Thanet- in Kent as a whole – and that funding is needed for those things?

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