County council gives permission for Thanet Parkway Station to go ahead

Thanet Parkway railway station

By Local Democracy Reporter Ciaran Duggan

Controversial plans to create a multi-million pound train station in Thanet have been approved by councillors today (September 2).

The £34million Thanet Parkway Station off Cliffsend had been recommended for approval by County Hall officers and was passed by a vote of 8 for and 5 against today.. The project has spiralled in cost from an initial £11.2 million.

There have been 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.

Minster Parish Council, based near the Ramsgate site, had strongly objected to the scheme. 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 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.

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.

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.

Proposed Thanet Parkway Station

Last 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.

The aim is for the high-speed rail link to 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.

North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale said: “I am grateful to KCC Leader Roger Gough and to the committee for recognising the importance of the new station to the economy of not just Thanet but a large area of East Kent.  The station will, when completed, facilitate connectivity between London, the towns of East Kent, Dover and Ramsgate Harbours, Discovery Park and, of course, Manston Airport.

“We are now literally “on track” for a new era of business and passenger prosperity in an area that has been crying out for investment in infrastructure.”

However, Cllr Lewis has branded it as a new burden for Thanet commuters to ‘suffer’ adding time to travel from the isle’s other seven stations and Ramsgate Councillor Karen Constantine expressed concerns about the need for many Ramsgate residents to drive to Parkway and the need to pay parking fees. She says there are also safety concerns due to it being an unstaffed station.

Cllr Rosalind Binks (Con), who represents Broadstairs at county level, said she has been “hot and cold” over her views on Parkway since the idea was first mooted under the administration of former KCC leader Paul Carter (Con) in 2010.

62 Comments

  1. Ha ha ha. Get it built ready for Manston Airport to reopen. I will send two free boxes of tissues out one to Jenny Dawes and one to Ramsgate Town Councillors to help dry their tears.

    • They’re off their rockers! And Manston Airport if it were to be successful would turn the area around it into a hideous, noisy, dirty dump. People supporting the airport should visit places near a busy airport and consider if they would like to live there. Thanet’s MPs are not fit to be MPs. They should be like the MPs for the area around Heathrow who objected strongly to the proposal for a third runway. Aviation , like the private car, needs to become a thing of the past.

      • People supporting the airport have already lived near an operational airport. It’s called Kent International so they know full well the advantages. It has never been a hideous, noisy, dirty dump! Goodness knows how many houses and tens of thousands of people, their vehicles etc would kill the area. When the airport was operational before and prior to that the many decades as an Air Force Base, wildlife has strived throughout. With one big housing estate, that would surely put an end to that. And………..has anyone seriously thought of where all of these people will find employment? When the airport is open, it will create hundreds of jobs directly plus hundreds more indirectly.

        • The previous airport,small and with few flights, wasn’t what is now proposed by the property developers who now own the site.

          Worried about extra cars? Then campaign for better public transport. A petition with about 26,000 signatures might help the cause.

  2. What a waste of taxpayers’ money surely they could have been a better way to spend that kind of money

  3. How does the lack of permanent staff on such a station fit with the rules and regulations as to health and saftly serving a railway station of this character on a main line? How far will passengers without a vehicle have to walk for a bus? What guarantee is there for passenger safety?

  4. Thanet Resident
    No it’s not a waste of taxpayers money it is being sensible and planning for the future. The days when THANET and East Kent in general were a forgotten underfunded backwards area have gone. Of course there are those dinosaurs who look back through rose coloured specs and would be happy for horse and carts to be back on the roads but that’s never going to be like that again. Good road and rail links and a working Airport are essential for jobs and prosperity in this region. No person or any Court are going to stop that so you better get use to it.

    • Ann, you do realise that this period when Thanet was forgotten and underfunded included a period when Manston airport was open. So you are saying that the area wasn’t prosperous then?

    • How does a train station a mile or so away from manston airport help manston airport. The new rail station isnt for freight. Plus Ann says good roads I havent read anywhere about the thanet way and the M2 being up graded to 4,lanes. So what good roads are these?

    • Yeah – this is confused. The station is no use for a cargo hub given the existing number of passenger trains. If anything it just backs up the fact there will be more houses in the area on green field land that could have been on the disused airport.

      Also not many jobs at a cargo hub but pointing that out doesn’t seem to work.

    • Ann, I assume that you are unhappy with the current rail links to London and elsewhere. Could you point out any problems this station would solve? Thanks.

  5. ABSOLUTELY PATHETIC.

    Goes to show even further, how KCC & TDC, really don’t understand the commodities, or economics of the situation.

    An unstaffed station, how will that provide jobs to the local community? If there were any jobs, we all know they would be given to Eastern Europeans.

  6. A total waste of taxpayers money given Thanet has more than enough provision already. As a passenger station only Parkway will likely be under utilized regardless of what happens at Manston given the forecasts for reduction in rail passenger numbers started by Covid but which will have a lasting impact as many people continue to work from home either full or part time. There are far more pressing issues here that could do with investment in infrastructure rather than another station.

  7. Im not fussed either way about this station but why have they built it? Are loads of new homes planned close by? Or it might have something to do with airport? A station at the airport with a tunnel link to the mainline might have been better if thats the case.

  8. I recall when they were “consulting” the public… A young man of about 20 years old with a clip-board (who was obviously from outside Thanet) asked me what I thought, and when I said that I couldn’t see the point of it, he explained how it could be used as a park and ride to get to Thanet’s main shopping centre: He was lost for words when I told him that Westwood Cross doesn’t have a railway station!

    Much as I (with some minor reservations) support the airport, I still can’t see how it would be of much use, as even if the airport becomes a passenger hub, it would be just as easy to jump in a taxi and go that short distance to Ramsgate, Minster or Birchington stations.

  9. More wasting of tax payers money. KCC obviously don’t know how to read the room. I wonder whose pockets this money will fall into? The only reason for this to be built is for more rabbit hutches to be erected on farmland around Cliffsend. And don’t start with ‘this is needed for Manston’, it’s going to be a cargo hub so of no benefit to it.

  10. What on earth is Roger Gale on about? Dover harbour is predominantly a roll on roll off ferry port, mainly for freight. How does a passenger station a dozen miles away help?

  11. You might be surprised to know that in the U.K. there are thousands of unmanned railway stations. However I do know from a relative who works for British Transport Police. That those stations do have monitored CCTV. Minster station / Westgate station / broadstairs station / Dumpton Park Station are all unmanned.

    • As always Ann you are 180 degrees off beam. Ramsgate Town Council are on record as supporting the project, so your unsolicited gift is unnecessary. I suppose you are against it now?
      Very few stations are completely unmanned and they tend to be very small halts or those like Dumpton on a limited timetable, with no buildings.
      A station in an isolated spot with only CCTV for protection will be difficult to protect, CCTV or no CCTV.
      This is a housing scheme got up as a transport project. Not exactly nemcon at KCC, which is odd seeing they are so gung ho, for this white elephant.

  12. Total WRONG Place to be of any use to Airport or Port also no freight
    handling only there so more Rabbit Hutches when WestWoods Mimi
    London is finished

  13. Hardly a surprise that KCC have given the final go ahead for Thanet Parkway Station! I can only assume that, as all rational arguments for NOT building the station have been ignored, that someone, somewhere, has got plans for a massive expansion of housing in Cliffsend on the farmland on either side of this station.
    I find it very hard to understand why Sir Roger Gale believes that this station is of importance to the economy of not just Thanet but all of East Kent, and that it will facilitate connectivity between London, the towns of East Kent, Dover and Ramsgate Harbour, Discovery Park and Manston Airport. This is to be nothing more than a two platform two track station on the extreme edge of Ramsgate, which at best will only take a few extra commuters in and out of Thanet. The station itself will not help or benefit the other East Kent towns, will have no bus service to anywhere and is miles away from Dover Harbour.
    The current journey from Ramsgate to St Pancras, which is where 95% of commuters go to, takes one hour sixteen minutes. KCC says the expected journey time from Thanet Parkway to Stratford will be one hour nine minutes. It would appear that Thanet Parkway will have no effect at all on journey times to London. Is there to be no improvement in journey time for all this money?
    Mr Gale says that we are now on track for a new era of business and passenger prosperity. Given the lack of serious, genuine hard evidence to support the building of this station I would suggest we are on track for the unmitigated waste of £35 million plus of public money.
    I hope that the Chancellor’s Infrastructure and Projects Authority will now have the good sense to cancel this unneeded, unwanted and unnecessary project, because, if it goes ahead, the voters of this area will not forgive the Conservative Party at the next County and District elections.

  14. 34million plus will be paid to Network Rail to build it. Once built Network Rail will assume the Freehold of the Station minus the Car Park. Network Rail have not and will not offer any funding contribution.
    So it’s like buying a plot of land, paying a builder to build a house then handing the builder the keys and the deeds to the house.
    Utter madness!
    There are no footpaths or cycle paths from Richborough.
    There is no commitment from any Bus company to provide a service.
    There is only a left in left out on the southbound carriageway of the A299/A256 meaning all traffic emanating from north, south and west of the station will have to negotiate the Lord of the manor roundabout in order to be on the southbound carriageway to have access.
    The Station and it’s Car Park is specifically designed to encourage non electric car usage before the Rail journey.
    No freight capabilities means no use to RSP.
    In order to stop Station parking charges avoidance from commuters a fence is being erected to stop access from Cliffsend Earlsmead area. So even if Cliffsend residents wanted to use the Station it seems they would have to use their cars to drive there when they could easily walk.

  15. What a total waste of much needed funds. If it is unmanned what will the jobs be?. There are much better ways of investing the money in the area.

  16. Everyone seems to forget about Discovery Park and the importance of transport Links for business. Also, Dover has expanded its cruise terminal and marina, so anyone linking their travel has the option to use this station. Being a Man of Kent I don’t see the problem with all this investment. Ever since I was young I have seen the closure of local manufacturing, the coal mines, Pfizers, Ramsgate ferries and the airport, to name a few. I don’t like nimby’s making outrageous claims of adverse affects as much as politicians and developers making dubious claims on jobs. The truth is the South East as much investment, of whatever kind for it to improve. Encouraging art and culture is not enough, it just helps complete the picture.

    • This station is miles from Discovery park! It would be quicker going into Sandwich to catch the train. It is then still 13 miles from Dover so I don’t see this point of it being a link to the cruise terminals?

    • So a passenger on a cruise from Dover would choose to travel to Manston Parkway rather than Dover Priory?? Not only does the actual train journey take longer but you then have a half hour taxi ride as well.

  17. Peter if you your camera to those stations you can take some nice photos of the models when there is no staff about which is most of the time.

  18. It currently takes 67 minutes to go by train from Ramsgate Station to Stratford International Station according to the SouthEastern Trains website.

    It currently takes 58 minutes to go by train from Dover Priory to Stratford International Station according to the SouthEastern Trains website.

    So they are building a station for the purpose of making the journey even longer to Thanet and to Dover.

    As for a train for Manston Airport. A) it is proposed to be a cargo airport. B) you cannot walk from the station to the runway. C) train tickets are always going to be more expensive and the train journey longer than any other competitor.

    On current costs it about £75.60 for a return ticket which is twice the price of Heathrow Express for a journey that will be 4 times as long.

    RSP and Roger and Craig made a lot of promises that Manston Airport would not cost the public purse anything.

    12 million from Government and 2 million from TDC is fourteen million from the public purse.

    Another false promise.

  19. Will this mean that either, or all of Ramsgate, Broadstairs, Minster or Margate stations will close ? No one has said anything about this yet, and, if they do, what will the site’s be used for, and where will the money of the sales go to ?
    I don’t expect a sensible reply, but it’s just nice to know what will happen to the money, and who to contact, if it doesn’t,
    without them “hiding” behind a cloak of secrecy.

      • The decision to run down or close stations is not made by politicians but by the new owner of thanet parkway national rail. They have closed railways stations in the past including Folkestone. And remember they increased the rail time it now takes to get to victoria station to force people to pay a surcharge fare to get on hs1 via st pancras.

  20. Utterly ludicrous, if the decision was based on the facts presented. As Paul Messenger says, Thanet has 7 stations already, extremely well connected with Ashford for Eurostar, Stratford International and various London termini.
    However, if there is a (yet to be revealed) plan to build 1000s houses at Cliffsend, it makes a little, but not a lot, of sense. Such a housing development could be served equally well by the existing Minster station: just need to tarmac over a field to make a car park.
    As for Rodger Gale and his frankly bizarre notion that a passenger station would be of any use to a cargo hub, words fail me.
    And even if passenger planes flew from Manston, passengers would have to take a shuttle bus the km or so from Manston to the Parkway station. Once on the bus, they might just as well shuttle to Minster or Ramsgate instead.
    An utterly dreadful decision.

  21. The more I think about this the more bonkers it is.
    It’s claimed that it will attract inward investment and create jobs.
    Yet the station has no bus service. So people coming *to* Thanet Parkway would only be able to reach their final destination by foot or taxi, because their cars would be in car parks at their embarking stations. They wouldn’t need a 350 space car park, just a bus stop.
    However, people living on a huge nearby housing estate *would* need a carpark, because they would drive there from their homes (being no buses, they’d have to).
    So, it’s fairly clear that Thanet Parkway has little to do with inward investment, journey time improvement or Manston airport. It’s to do with a huge housing development at Cliffsend (but don’t tell the locals, especially those that voted Tory!)

  22. We had this with the ferry port many years ago , millions spent on new road look at all now. Not much beach left and a road ok for changing engines / car repairs when the road is open . Total waste of taxpayers money.

  23. When plans were submitted for a terminal at Ramsgate (Sally Line), it was predicted to be a 60% failure, but it still went ahead.

    Look at it now.

    Now we have the most pathetic plan ever, a train station in the middle of nowhere, to service nobody, and to offer no employment prospects.

    You just know TDC would be involved in this scandal.

  24. When the first Sainsbury’s was planned (the previous building), at Westwood. Sainsbury’s offered to pay for a new road layout, and access around Westwood. Thanet Council said it wouldn’t be required, and turned it down.

    Look at it now, or even how busy it had become ten – fifteen years ago.

    Another little known TDC scandal.

  25. Because it will be yet another failure, with the possibility rate of it failing kept quiet.

    You can just imagine the voice on the tannoy at the station, once in operation

    “The train now calling at Thanet Parkway, is empty as usual”

  26. Nobody, absolutely nobody, can tell me how blind or partially sighted travellers are able to access this station. At best, it is also an overflow car park for Ramsgate.

    It is a shockingly inept idea and I am also really sick and tired of Roger Gales fantasy land of hot air. I think Thanet might have the worst two MPs in the whole country, and just look how stiff the competition is for that accolade.

    This is just ego glory spend on a “spade ready” project to claim investment success.

      • People tend to vote for a party or principle, rather than a person.
        That being said, I did know of a bloke who voted for Al Murray, the “Pub Landlord” who stood for Thanet South at the last election.
        His idea that a passenger station in the middle of a field can be of any use to a cargo airport a kilometre away is simply asinine.

      • Tories have won every election in the last 10 years. They must be doing something right! Poverty is down, public services are up, public finances are up, national spirits are up, education levels are up, migration is down, and relations with Russia are up.

        • Hey Boris, you forgot to mention how homelessness has almost been eradicated, crime is at it’s lowest level for twenty years, and the public now have more trust in the Government, the Police, and justice system, than ever before. Not to forget the current Government being the most popular since Churchill.

  27. I have a suggestion to save some money. Stop consultations…they never listen to us buggers as they all think they know what is best for us…

  28. So Thanet, previously desired and defined by its clean air, beautiful coastline, architecture and rural setting is destined by construction bandits supported by a gangster County Hall to become a sprawling London suburb with a highly polluting airport. Everything our politicians and local authorities touch turns to grotesque concrete, with no respect for the people who pay its operating costs and absolutely no intelligence when it comes to preserving the unique value of a place. We are governed by myopic, besuited, trouser pocket jugglers and MP’s like Gale with his fully inflated ego. There should be a law against this institutional moronic behaviour!

    • Stop being so rude about London. Or is it just Londoners? Or London suburbs?

      I’ve never been aware of this sort of xenophobia before. It’s disgusting. Kent voters voted overwhelmingly for the Tories. Who have been in power for years now. They are the ones you should be rude about.

  29. The County council and , now, this government, are very good at offering to build “things” like airports, railways to the North, railway stations, Thames bridges etc and then saying that these “things” will bring jobs at some point in the future. Meanwhile, there are less street cleaners, fewer librarians, closures of Police stations, virtually no Youth Clubs, reduced numbers of GPs in the area, reduced bus services partly due to the lack of drivers, existing railway stations with no staff to help the lonely travellers, tiny Council legal departments so they have no staff or money to enforce action to deal with derelict buildings etc.. The list of underfunded and understaffed services goes on. If the government and County Council have all this money to spare, let them spend it on the basics like local public services which WILL employ people. “Get back to basics” was a previous Tory slogan, I recall. They seem to have forgotten it!

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