Thanet Parkway Station plans put on hold amid coronavirus crisis

Proposed Thanet Parkway Station

By Local Democracy Reporter Ciaran Duggan

Thanet Parkway Station plans have been put on hold as all local authority meeting are deferred amid the coronavirus crisis.

Suggestions that £17.8million ring-fenced for the proposed scheme should instead be used to fund the coronavirus effort has been branded ‘disingenuous’ by the authority.

It comes a week after calls were made to “shelve” the Cliffsend station proposal by Thanet county councillors. Labour members say that funding for the infrastructure project should be set aside for dealing with COVID-19.

Ramsgate councillor Karen Constantine (Lab), who represents the area where the proposed station will be sited, said: “We should be putting the health of Thanet residents first instead of railway infrastructure.”

But, a KCC spokesman said: “Whilst we have agreed to provide up to £17.8 million in capital funding for the Thanet parkway scheme, it is disingenuous to suggest that KCC is holding on to money that could otherwise be spent on supporting our residents during this crisis.”

‘Virtual meetings’

The row over the contested £34.5m station near Manston continues to escalate ahead of a critical decision due to be made by KCC’s planning committee next month. But, the public meeting has now been deferred.

A KCC spokesman added: “The plans were originally due to be decided at the planning committee in May.

“But, as the coronavirus pandemic has curtailed our committees, the planning committee meeting has been postponed until virtual meetings are set up. We hope to announce shortly when meetings will be rescheduled and how the press and public can view them.”

‘Not the right time’

Birchington county councillor Emma Dawson (Con) told the Local Democracy Reporting service that any discussion regarding the station should be “shelved” until after the COVID-19 crisis concludes.

She added:  “Personally I feel this pandemic is such a hugely overarching pressure psychologically and in many cases physically. It just feels that it’s not the right time.”

Margate county councillor Barry Lewis (Lab) added: “The expense of the station needs to be looked at again after the public health problems are resolved.”

KCC’s cabinet committed to coughing up to £17.8million for the scheme three months ago while the remainder will be funded by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (£14m) and Thanet District Council (£2m).

At the time, KCC leader Roger Gough (Con) said it was “now or never” for the project while KCC’s transport boss, Cllr Michael Payne (Con), added: “High speed services to East Kent will lead to more job opportunities and investment in this region of the county.”

However, opposition councillors continue to raise concerns over the station’s escalating cost, environmental impact and overcrowding. Others fear that a key decision is being rushed through.


Cllr Rosalind Binks (Con), of Broadstairs, rubbished the claims and said: “In my experience, the planning committee at KCC has always been meticulous regarding detail and fairness and is not rushed.”

If approved, the station near Cliffsend would have two unstaffed platforms, a 300-space car park and a road connection to the A256 Sandwich Bypass and A299 Thanet Way.

A public survey was carried out in January involving 379 residents, including 110 from Cliffsend. It  found 45% gave their support, 37% did not, 12% were neither and 6% didn’t care either way.

KCC’s focus has shifted towards dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and plans are underway to set up three temporary mortuaries across the county. In total, the morgues are expected to cost £11m and funding comes from a £39m COVID-19 Government grant sent to KCC to help tackle the crisis.

A KCC spokesman added: “Thanet Parkway, supported by both Thanet District Council and Dover District Council, is a project about creating infrastructure first, to provide support for economic development in the area – something that will be vital to out economy when life returns to normal.”


  1. Will RG donate his expenses it is his puppy.
    We don’t want nor need this
    Nor do we want that village
    Where are tdc going to find £2m
    When they are £30m in debt
    Can’t run a crown owned port
    Shame on you all

  2. There is no high speed train service to thanet, the high speed service from London ceases to be high speed at Ashford, adding another station at cliffs end will increase train times between existing Thanet stations and London, that’s why the majority of Thanet residents oppose Thanet council wasting £2 million and kcc wasting £17.8million on a white elephant

    • high speed to ashford then SLOW to thanet !!! correct–so how is this station going to magically reduce the journey times. money would be better spent on toilets. bus services. some potholes etc etc once vandals find out to cut the security cameras–a muggers and graffiti paradise .

  3. If it is now or never, make it never!
    It is disingenuous to say that it has public support and will create job opportunities.Once this emergency is over, how much of an economy will be left in Thanet to benefit from the non high speed, non staffed halt in Cliffsend? KCC still cannot say where all these job opportunities will come from, save from those employed by BAM Nuttall.

  4. Just drop the whole idea. Improve the existing stations and local bus services.

    The public consultation should have consulted a significant percentage of Thanet residents instead of fewer than 400.

  5. Marva , of the 400 people surveyed only 110 live in Thanet (cliffs end area)all the rest live in Dover. Most Thanet county councillors strongly oppose the building of the unmanned station,

  6. Why oh why is KCC so hell-bent on this totally pointless project?
    Far, far better to spend a fraction of the money on upgrading the existing facilities. Upgrading the track and signalling will reduce journey times by more than a couple of minutes!

  7. I can’t think that TDC will be lending any financial support to projects like this. They were teetering on the edge of a very deep financial chasm before Covid 19 hit and I genuinely think the resulting economic fall out will finish them off. Massive drop in parking income, projected savings now with no chance of being delivered and thousands of local businesses and residents unable to pay their rates. The future looks very bleak.

  8. So.. Still nobody is able to confirm

    1) How am extra station supposedly speeds up the journey time to London or 2) How blind and partially sighted customers are able to use an unstaffed station.

    This station is 100% pointless and is nothing more than a gold plated car park extension to Ramsgate station.

  9. Someone must be in line to make some hefty bucks out of it, otherwise it wouldn’t be given so much trumpeting by KCC, I wonder who though!!! And TDC cannot afford to bung £2 million at it when they don’t have money to sweep the streets or provide public toilets and are slowly selling all public owned land for development and our historical features off to provide an income, although short term. I know they are very good at wasting money on daft projects but this is ridiculous. They need to withdraw the offer immediately and get their senses back in order.

  10. If the current crisis leads to an end for this ill conceived & unwanted project then that would not be a bad thing.

  11. I will put the cat amongst the pigeons it would be more useful putting a travelers caravan park there with the amenities as TDC are still searching and scratching their arse over what where when who do we upset. Yes sorry if it upsets some people but we have to have them in thanet at least its going to be of more use than another station which even most councillors don’t want even less than 50% of people who did the so called survey (not a proper survey of thanet or local people) I say sorry for upsetting people but I do not say sorry for proposing the Traveller site. Chris

  12. We should support high speed services to Thanet to be made available as soon as possible (this was already meant to have taken place based on previous announcements from Network Rail to increase line speed from Ashford to Thanet) as this will bring true economic benefit to the Isle (and surrounding areas too). However what we do not need is another station, this is a total waste of money and it would be far better for the funds earmarked for this project to be spent on other infrastructure projects.

    • A very good point. Whatever happened to the proposed line improvements between Ashford & Ramsgate? They would have reduced the journey time by 10 minutes & provided far more benefit to Thanet than the Parkway station.

  13. How can this waste of £££ millions become an economical benefit to Thanet with only a 2 minute reduction in time to London, if at all that is even true? There is something fishy about all this, and that is nothing new for Thanet!

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