By Local Democracy Reporter Ciaran Duggan
Controversial plans to create a multi-million pound train station in Thanet will be considered by councillors in a crunch meeting next week.
Thanet Parkway Station could finally get the nod from Kent County Council’s (KCC) planning committee in eight days’ time after the £34million railway scheme in Cliffsend was recommended for approval by County Hall officers. The project has spiralled in cost from an initial £11.2 million.
The guidance comes despite widespread objections from Thanet county councillors and dozens of residents in the area, who together claim that the two-platform station is not needed and would be a “waste of public money”.
KCC, which is the applicant, say the infrastructure project will provide more jobs for Cliffsend residents, reduce journey times from east Kent to London and improve the “attractiveness” of Thanet and Dover as places for investment.
Cllr Nigel Collor (Con), portfolio holder for transport on Dover council, who supports the move, said: “This will facilitate improved accessibility for the future growth and development of the Discovery Park Enterprise Zone alongside other opportunities that may emerge in the locality.”
Minster Parish Council, based near the Ramsgate site, has strongly objected. A spokesman said: “The construction of Parkway is not justified in terms of economic or social need; and this ever-increasing sum of money would be better spent in addressing so many other needs in this deprived area.”
Ramsgate county councillor Paul Messenger (pictured) says Thanet is already “oversupplied” with train stations, having seven in total. Margate county councillor Barry Lewis (Lab) said the recommendation was “undemocratic”.
He added: “It goes against the wishes of the majority of Thanet residents and county councillors.”
The long-standing dispute over building a new station in Thanet has rumbled on since 2010, according to a KCC report.
KCC first put forward a planning application in May 2018 but withdrew it 18 months later due to concerns over footbridge access. The latest plans have been altered and an existing Victoria underpass beneath the railway will be used to link the station’s two platforms instead.
If approved, the 9.27 hectare greenfield site will accommodate an unmanned station for up to six trains an hour, along with a 317-space car park and a new signalised junction to provide access for vehicles onto the A299 Hengist Way.
Earlier this month, Parkway plans received a £12million boost from the government -reducing the amount Kent County Council now have to invest from £17.8 million to £5.8million – alongside £14m of investment from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership and around £2m pledged from Thanet council.
In a report published to the KCC planning members earlier today, officers say: “Funding should be a material consideration in the determination of this application.”
If granted, the high-speed rail link would run on two main routes from Thanet to London Charing Cross via Tonbridge and to London St Pancras via Ashford. It is likely to take 69 minutes to travel from Cliffsend to Stratford International.
No permanent station staff will be hired while commercial bus operators have declined to send services to the site, according to the KCC dossier.
KCC officers claim there is “strong” national and regional support. They add that parking will be cheap at around £3.50 a day and journey times cut by three minutes from Thanet to London.
A final decision will be made by KCC’s planning committee during a virtual public meeting on Wednesday, September 2, from 10am.
How manymillions per minute will that cost! And only £3.50 a day parking , it will cost nothing when the users ,if there are any , will park in the village of Cliffsend roads, in time it will allow Minster Station to be closed , does Minster want that , and later Ramsgate Station will be closed . KCC have to hang there heads in shame saying it was a high speed train on high speed track , clearly it is not if it is only saving 3 mins in travel time they have lied to us all.
I don’t think Ramsgate Station will close as there is too large a population. Minster will be like Dumpton Park. 1 train will stop per hour but only at peak times 06:00 -09:00 and 17:00- 20:00. Don’t forget that Ramsgate is the changing station for Dover and Folkestone. Is /will the station be value for money this will depend on Manston airport and its passenger routes. Freight from Manston Airport will still go by road mainly.
Like so much else, the railways have been privatised. So, if the private companies that own the railways want a new station in Thanet, they should apply for Planning permission and pay for it themselves! After all, they would intend to benefit from it.
We seem to have a kind of dual system in this country.
Everything (water, gas , electricity, airlines, railways,telecoms,post offices, provision of Covid19 supplies and testing etc)are privatised or on the way to privatisation (eg the NHS), but we, the taxpayers, still seem to be shelling out for them as if they were still publicly-owned. We are being taken for fools!
If private investors want to own our major industries, let them pay for them.
If they are unwilling or unable to provide the products and services that we require then we should take them back into public ownership so that WE get to decide what they do.
At the moment they are laughing all the way to the Bank(based in a tax-haven, no doubt). They get the profits from the business but the public is still paying for the ongoing investment. And asked for more at regular intervals.
If I was a sarcastic type , I would say “Thank goodness we don’t live in one of these corrupt countries abroad. Where the rich get richer and the poor keep paying them!”
Oh dear, here the moaners go again. Don’t invest in this don’t invest in that. Moan moan moan. I wonder do any moaners ever go shopping for food or don’t they bother in case the die before they get the chance to eat it.
Don’t worry Bill,the NIMBY’so will try to kill Parkway and Manston reopening off just as they have for the past 60 years. Could this possiby be why Thanet is still a deprived area.
You people are nuts. Parkway wasn’t dreamed of 60 years ago and the airport existed, so how come Thanet is a deprived area. Unemployment has actually fallen since the airport closed. I believe in a regenerating Thanet sustained by modern jobs that look to the future, not jobs in industries that are dying. We love Ramsgate, work hard to improve it for everyone, and don’t agree with the lies disseminated by those that don’t care about it. Check out Tony Freudman’s (RSP) history – he has failed at every airport he has been involved in. Manston will be no different.
I don’t know how they can keep on getting away with the lie that building the new station will reduce journey times from east Kent. It won’t. For all the existing stations, journey times will be increased.
I emailed KCC and got this reply (edited):
“The prospect of a new parkway station was conceived alongside the Journey Time Improvement (JTI) scheme, and the two projects are connected. The JTI scheme as it’s name implies, is about reducing travel times between East Kent and Central London. The enhancements to line speeds will offset the additional time required to call at a new station and hence there will be no detriment to passengers at Ramsgate and Margate”
So there you have it, from KCC. The new station won’t improve journey times, it will make them worse. The improvement (if any) will come about through the “Journey Time Initiative” , whatever that is.
Exactly right. It’s always been disingenuous and purposely mislieading of KCC to claim that this will reduce journey times. Adding an extra station will of course lengthen them!
Another vanity project, the relatively few passengers who will save the 3 minutes will be those using Parkway. The vast majority of Thanet rail passengers and commuters who will continue to use Ramsgate, Broadstairs and Margate stations will all have longer journeys than now. A total waste of time and money. TDC should say no and save their £2 million contribution that I doubt they can afford anyway.
Of course the journeys from Ramsgate, Broadstairs and Margate will be longer than before! TDC should spend money improving Thanet’s other railway stations! Or does that sound too much like common sense? There are no environmental benefits attached to this station. A 300+ space carpark?? And all this on a greenfield site!
Andrew give yourself a blue peter badge in being able to copy and paste.
Bill, why are you always so unpleasant. You don’t appear to have anything to say apart from moaning about everyone else. No constructive comments at all.
When Manston re-opens it will be a godsend!
How so Robster? It’s not a freight station and Manston is not going to be a passenger airport. Two white elephants in one place.
Correction, Manston will initially be a cargo hub and then later a passenger services and business aviation.
Correction, it will initially be a cargo hub, then later a passenger services and business aviation, and finally the spaceport for Virgin Galactic.
You forgot the pigs that will want to fly too! Why are the public paying for this station? I thought the railways had been sold off, and privatised, so if they need another railway station, why arn’t these companies paying for it?
Ramsgate Lover. I am far from unpleasant, I have a positive outlook on life, I want there to be lots of job opportunities in east kent so unemployment can be a thing of the past and everyone has the chance of doing well in their life. I detest the negatively of those who object to the airport the parkway station and anything else that will create opportunity’s for others. Positivity breeds positivity negativity breeds negativity.
What’s positive about having a cargo hub airport near Ramsgate or a completely unnecessary new railway station?
The reason its 3 minutes quicker is the station is 3 miles nearer london than existing Thanet station. Times from existing stations will take longer because of extra stop. High speed trains start at ashford not thanet. Car park and the station unmanned meaning its a muggers paradise,
Added traffic at nearby lord of the manor busy roundabout. National rail become landlords so no return on investment for kcc or Thanet council while dover council pay nothing. No local council is paying over money to crossrail or hs2 so why we subsiding National rail? A complete white elephant
You’ve nailed it there Barry. KCC please see sense and kick this ridiculous vanity project into the long grass.
I expect someone will get their paws into the money being found for this useless project. Why a station in the middle of nowhere? Who is going to bother to drive out to this station when we have enough stations in Thanet already. Unless a whole load of houses are to be built nearby for DFL’s there is no need to waste all this money which would better be used on a thousand other projects in Thanet. Anyone who thinks this is a good use of funds needs their heads examined or is one of those on the make.
Barry Lewis. Is Minster Station or Dumpton Park station or Broadstairs Station “ a muggers paradise” NO you are just talking rubbish and scare mongering. As a County Councillor you should be ashamed of yourself. Parkway station will have monitored CCTV like the other stations.
I think we’re talking about the tunnel here, Bill. Also have you ever tried to get anyone to use CCTV to protect themselves, let along solve a crime? It is not the panacea it may seem. The station is not necessary, costs far too much money, and adds to the journey time. A typical vanity nonsense. And also only really useful if there’s housing at Manston, instead of a cargo hub, so I’d be careful what you wish for if I were you.
Bill , minster and Broadstairs stations are near shops and houses, parkway station in the middle of a field !!. Proud to save both t d c and k cc millions of tax payers money. .
Like most of young people with any get up and go I escaped from the depressed economic and “Close Everything” attitude when I was 18 and only returned at 72 to retire.
Today the only way to escape poverty is to leave and pray the close everything merchants die off be free they do terminal damage to Thanet.
The public will be so excited, saving 3 minutes.
Just what will you do with the extra 3 minutes?
Stay in bed 3 mins longer.
Sit on the toilet 3 mins longer.
Listen to Boris the burke, for an extra 3 mins.
Spend an extra 3 mins queuing to get the train, while social distancing, to save 3 mins on the train.
The list is endless…
They say your saving 3 minutes but you’ve still got to drive to the Parkway Station which is going to take a lot longer than the 3 minutes saved where ever you are in Thanet. The whole thing is a huge white elephant and I’d be very curious about any back handers or payoffs that have been made regarding the construction of something that the majority of Thanet don’t want.
I note in the article a quote from “Cllr Nigel Collor (Con), portfolio holder for transport on Dover council, who supports the move.”
Yet the article says that aside from KCC, SELP and the Government; it is Thanet District Council that are pledging £2million.
If Dover are so keen surely they should cough up the two million pounds not TDC.
Does anyone know why it is TDC not Dover putting in or pledging any money?
Essentially this is a car park extension for Ramsgate Station.
How do blind and partially sighted customers access this staffless dystopian travel option?
It’s ok – for some reason some of the Riveroak fans seem to think it will be used for transporting freight and that there won’t be many lorries on the road as planes will fly in, the freight moved to another plane and flown back out to other airports !!!!
Don’t be so ridiculous, this station was never intended for any freight to go through it, River Oak has now given the opportunity to send freight from Manston which would probably be cheaper than sending freight from London airports which includes London Stansted.
But it won’t be cheaper as it will cost that much more to transport it here to put on planes and vice versa. Plus the airport will not be able to compete financially. And we all know what happens then as it has happened several times at Manston before, so who is being ridiculous?
Louise Congdon of York Aviation costed out RSP’s “plan”. She concluded that in order to make a return on the investment, RSP would have to charge such high landing fees that no one would use the place.
But what does she know?
(She’s a senior member of York Aviation’s team. York are consultants to the government)
Manston will NOT be cheaper than London airport, you have the added costs of being stuck on the thanet way, M2 , aviation fuel brought in my tanker etc. It has to be cheaper landing near good infrastructure and be more central to the country, the opposite of Manston !
Road journey times for freight from Stansted to London are significantly quicker than those from Manston to London as the M11 has more capacity than the M2/A2. But much freight would not go to London anyway as many distribution centres are located to the north of London where Stansted has an even bigger win on journey time. The big problem for Manston is it is in the wrong place even for perishable cargo. Stansted and East Midlands airports are both better located and have all the infrastructure already in place as well as the contracts. No one can see how Manston could ever compete with them let alone make a profit.
Instead of freight being flown in to Manston and then flown to another airport – how about the planes go straight to the other airport? I think I’m on to something here.
KCC say it’ll give more jobs to cliffsend resident’s, it’s an unmanned station! so how does that work?
Good point lol
Seriously flawed proposal based on consultation in 2015. The £3.50 a day figure is taken from the business case that says “lets assume £3.50 a day”. as for 69 mins travel time being about an hour then guess what ? I can run a four minute mile. Recent changes to the work pattern and commuting to London through Coronavirus requires this whole thing to be re examined.
The jobs forecast for Manston was primarily made up of secondary employment, i.e. not on the airfield itself. Look around any major airport. The areas around them are filled with’sheds’ and warehousing; the kinds of businesses that don’t mind being somewhere noisy and polluted. If you campaigned for Manston to be reopened as an airport you campaigned to have the area around it developed. You can hardly complain if this includes a train station.
Eggnog, RSP claim that there will be 6000 ‘direct’ jobs within the first two years.
No if you look at the submission they said 3149 direct jobs by 2043! And ExA said even that is an overestimate by at least 20%! These promised jobs which are driving all the airport supporters nuts, are pie in the sky. There are so many people now out of work in the aviation industry, they won’t be up for grabs by locals either, with so many well qualified people needing work.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, intends to refer poorly thought out infrastructure projects to the Infrastructure and Projects Authority in order to eliminate waste, amid concerns over public finance expenditure in the wake of the Covid pandemic..
If any project deserves to be referred to this Authority it is KCC’s plan to build Thanet Parkway.
The recent award of £12 million towards the cost from the Government’s “Get Building” fund can only have been made without any serious investigation into this project.
This project is so flawed it should be abandoned immediately.
Are there any other areas in the UK other than major urban areas that have or need seven stations in close proximity, never mind eight?
What genuine, hard evidence is there that Parkway will bring economic benefit to the area? There has only been supposition and guesswork. All freight in or out of the area moves by road and will continue to do so. Thanet Parkway would have no facilities for freight. As much as the development of Discovery Park is important, Thanet Parkway would be of little benefit to it as there is no bus service between the two.
Thanet Parkway will make no difference to the time to St Pancras. Any suggested improvement is simply the time it takes to get from Ramsgate to Parkway and for the train to stop there.
Are many commuters going to want to drive across Thanet to use Parkway during the rush hour and school run, which could add 20 minutes to journeys at each end of the day? I doubt it very much!
Who in their right minds would propose to build a station on top of a narrow 15 metre high embankment with all the costly reinforcement and engineering work that would entail? If this station really has to be built there is a far better site available immediately to the west of the new Sandwich Road bridge, which is flat and would have room for a car park and have good access to the Sevenscore roundabout.
Very little attention has been given to the destruction of a great many healthy trees along both sides of this embankment or the destruction of habitat for birds, plants, animals and insects. Surely environmental groups should be taking up this issue now, before it is too late?
The issue of access for disabled persons has not been considered sufficiently. If Parkway is going to be an unmanned station, who is going to help a disabled person on or off a train. If a disabled person needs to access the southern platform they will have to negotiate a 300 metre footpath from the car park on the northern side, through a tunnel and then up in a lift before getting on a train. Is that acceptable?
I can only hope that the Thanet Parkway is referred by the Chancellor to the Infrastructure and Projects Authority and that they declare it a complete waste of public finances and that it should be cancelled forthwith. This project’s money should be spent on matters which would genuinely be of benefit to the people of Thanet!
If you agree then please make your voice heard at Kent County Council level before next week, when Thanet Parkway goes in front of the KCC planning committee for final approval.
So today Gatwick announce that they are going to lose 600 jobs which they state is a quarter of their workforce… Gatwick directly employ 2400 people.
RSP state – “From the date that the airport reopens, almost 6,000 jobs would be created – around 850 jobs on the airport site itself and a further 5,000 indirect and catalytic jobs in the wider economy, in associated industries or businesses.”
Who believes their job proposals????
This is the same council who were happy to see substantial cuts made to local bus services in Thanet last year to save a few hundred thousand. They haven’t got a clue about getting their priorities right.
Look at Ebbsfleet station stuck in the middle of nowhere. They are only just NOW- 25 years or more on- investing in the area- including a useful theme park of course
“Who believes their job proposals????” I doubt that anybody truly believes the jobs forecasts which RSP have put forward. That’s becasuewe’ve heard it all before. Mr. Freudmann who is head honcho for RSP was previously the Managing Director of the airport when it was bought by Wiggins. Then, as now, he promised that thousands of jobs would be created. In the end no more than a few dozen poorly paid jobs materialised. The few proper jobs went to people who moved into the area to take them. I find it hard to believe that anyone would be daft enough to fall for it for a second time.