County Councillor Karen Constantine Parkway Station- A dangerous white elephant?

Cllr Karen Constantine

At last, Thanet Parkway railway station opened this morning. At a cost of at least £45 million and riding – the final bills aren’t in. We now have another railway station in Thanet, number eight, but this is a railway station with a twist.

As more and more people understand the climate crisis, here we have a brand spanking new railway that you can only get to if you drive. Unbelievable isn’t it ? And although there’s a nice new bike rack – there’s no cycle path. In fact the only path at the station is into Cliffsend.

Also this station is unstaffed meaning if you need a hand for any reason at all, help could be a very long way away. You’ll have to hang on and wait even if it’s an emergency. And oh, go before you go! It doesn’t have toilets.

Apart from looking very austere. It’s certainly one of the least welcoming railway stations I’ve ever visited.

It’s interesting that even Kent County Council are now saying that this is a mistake. Once they realised that the proposed housing estate destined for the Manston site wasn’t going to happen the folly of this giant spend was self evident.

I repeatedly called for the efficacy of this project to be looked at. I first spoke out about it in the council chamber in 2017 shortly after being elected, where I queried the journey time to London, which the glossy brochure said was faster. I pointed out they were quoting a time from sandwich to Stratford .

The truth is if I use this station to travel to London, by the time I’ve left my home, got in my vehicle, driven to Parkway and parked and then got on a train journey, door to office or door to theatre it’s actually going to take me longer! Not only this the cost of car parking at the station means it’s actually more costly.

On the platform today, I felt very unsafe. I simply can’t imagine using this station at any time of the day let alone at night where I fear I would feel very isolated. This is a muggers paradise.

I failed to see what we’ve gained from this monstrous, dangerous white elephant.

Yet again, the ruling Conservative Kent county council has let us down with its lazy short sighted decision making. They lacked the bravery to do the right thing, especially after Covid when commuting changed forever. They needed to look at this decision and put the brakes on it. They didn’t.



  1. Karen, have you not seen the massive housing estate being built right next door to the new station? Surely you want the new residents to use the train rather than drive to work outside of Thanet because let’s be honest here where are all those new home owners going to find jobs in this area of high unemployment?

    • There’s a perfectly good station just a couple of minutes up the line: Minster. It doesn’t have a lot of parking. But for a fraction of £44M KCC could have bought a few acres of field (from St John’s College, Cambridge, probably), tarmacadam it over, and the job’s a good one.

      • Couple of minutes? It takes around a hour along a muddy path to stroll to Minster from Cliffsend.

  2. totally agree karen well said more houses would have been better than a station that ain’t no use to anyone really a nightmare waiting to happen drinkers and use of drugs springs to mind

  3. Utter madness building this monstrosity with no design merits. Are the workers at Discovery Park really going to use this station, if so for how long.

    Is there CCTV constantly being monitored for this station incase a person is taken ill before 08:00 or after 16:00. There is no point in sending the transport police as they won’t be aware possibly of any incident.

    If you want to deal drugs feel free, just make sure its over the weekend as the station is not manned. The station is only being manned for 6 weeks during week days.

    Are KCC bothered about residents investment in this white elephant and interest payable on the loan. No way it’s not their money so why bother.

  4. Totally agree with Karen. This is a total waste of public money and an excuse to potentially close another manned station.

    • The money could have been better spent on re-surfacing Thanet road, and pavements, try riding a Mobility Scooter on them and see what I mean. Most 3rd world countries would be ashamed of our roads, and pavements especially Margate Road Ramsgate!

  5. It seems doubts arise over HS2 – something to do with the fall off in commuting generally trashing the cloud cuckoo economics.
    And Southern Water’s dreams of desalination plants aren’t going anywhere – if only an aqueduct had been in the plans instead of Thanet Parkway ?

    • Geoff, SW have no real plan for desalination, and they should have. (or the British Water Authority to come).Its the only way Thanet will be able to cope for water, with a dedicated power source , a tidal stream generator An aqueduct from where? Bewl is dry in the summer, Medway runs low and the cost of pipework (carbon cost as well as £) would be prohibitive.

      • Sorry, Dick, ‘Desal’ a definite non-starter. Q was raised at the 2021 Kent CPRE AGM when Yer Man who heads up the SE Water Consortium presented : far too energy intensive and far too much toxicity in the residue. They’ve tried this in Spain and destroyed the anchovy fishermen’s livelihood. Same goes for Persian Gulf. There was ‘chaff’ from SWater fairly recently about ‘desal’ in Herne Bay and this was referred to Yer Man who confirmed ‘No chance’. Recommend you read THE LAST DROP just published (already recommended to the TDC Climate Emergency All Party Group who should have absorbed the horror story by now.) We are taking more out of the aquifers than goes in and, given the housing explosion in North Kent, I can’t see us half inching their supplies from the Medway basin for much longer. SWater’s Plan eagerly awaited (can they even sustain the present Thanet population ?) and an aqueduct from the far NW (Cumbria (where it rains a bit more) via the ‘sodden & unkind’ Midland (G K Chesterton – includes Growth point M Keynes) might seem a better redeployment of national infrastructure budgets than HS2 – else we may have to start ‘downsizing’ as Arizona here we come in a decade or so’s time (NAO’s ‘tipping point’)? Maybe central government gave up on the Super Canterbury Hospital because there are belated thoughts about what size pop E Kent can actually sustain after all ???

  6. The Labour way is to build nothing and class it as savings while agreeing to excessive pay increases to their Union paymasters.
    Nothing will come to Thanet with Labour in charge except for mayhem

    • ‘Union paymasters’ lol. So, who do you think pays for the Conservative Party? apart from Russian oligarchs, construction firms ,fossil fuel firms etc.

    • Party loyalty superseding serious local issues again.
      Ever was with certain party supporters.

  7. Strange that the Labour leader of TDC, Rick Everitt, is talking about the new station in gushing terms.

    Same old, same old from Labour. Get elected then slowly tear themselves apart as they can’t agree on anything. Too many factions in play which will also cost them dearly in the next General Election.

  8. Whilst I agree its a White Elephant I cant believe this Councillor is spouting on about pollution.
    Iwalj everyday around Labour Wards of Ramsgate and am greeted with every step by a piece of litter.I counted 124 pieces of litter just on Boundary rd thd other day.Oh and pretty much the same amounts of weeds from unswept roads that silt up the drains blocking water catchment.Get on with the basics its so easy.Hypocrite.

    • The litter in Boundary Road Davo is caused by the volunteer litter pickers! Yes, you heard right! I have been trying to get these idiots to realise that leaving upwards of 5 or 6 of the White TDC bags of litter on the corner of Boundary Road, and Chatham Place defeats the object if TDC don’t collect them! I have seen these bags ripped open by vermin overnight time and time again, and every time they get attacked the contents are strewn down the road, yet they still do it! Its an utter waste of effort if they pick up the litter only to transfer it somewhere else, Duurh!

      • The TDC litter bags are pretty much seagull proof, unlike black domestic refuse bags.
        Some of our parks and public spaces benefit from the work that volunteers do.

        • Phyllis, this morning two TDC white bags of rubbish left out overnight, have been ripped open, probably not by sea gulls, but foxes! Sea Gulls will now have access to the rubbish, so will rats! I have been trying to stop the volunteer litter pickers from littering our roads and pavements for a long time, and I despair they still do this! This morning there were other fly tipping bags of rubbish nearby, because the Volunteer Litter Bags left out uncollected by TDC attracts other Fly Tipping, Duurh!

    • 124 pieces of litter?

      Did you pick any of it up?

      “I don’t get paid, it’s not my job, I have rights” etc etc

  9. I also agree yhat Ramsgate must be a contender for Labours most neglected or poorest performing council.
    The back streets look Yhird World Labour!

    • Labour are barely in their seats. Give them time.
      Maddy’s hold over the last administration is still a lingering odour about the place.

  10. For goodness sake stop moaning about everything otherwise the party I have been a life long member of will not be winning the next general election. All labour do is help the Tories stay in power. Im really hoping Manston Airport is given the go ahead then once it’s up and running the parkway station will be a god send. In the meantime I’m sure it will be used more and more.
    as for climate change if the U.K. was totally green today it would
    Not make the the slightest difference to the climate changing it’s a kin to saying we want the Sun to cool down. Labour stop moaning about everything and get a life.

    • Exactly, Bill.

      Would I have spent £44 million on this station? No.

      But, like Turner Contemporary (which I was also against) it is here now, so we all might as well make use of it.

      • What a ridiculous comparison.

        Why would I use this station when there are three closer to home and another batch that are better locations to get off at. It’s pointless. The people arguing in favour would presumably happy with a station every 2 miles as the same argument would stand. The Ramsgate station is so close it’s almost embarrassing

      • Comparing to the Turner? They may both lack any purpose (beyond an appetite to vacuum up taxpayer money) but at least the Turner has security guards, a cafe, heating and toilets.

    • What Labour Party Bill? It’s a misnomer, it has been hijacked by double speaking red Tories. After the damning campaign that Zionist supporter Kid Starver exercised by excluding any socialist members from the Party, your vote for Labour will wasted on a party with no core ideology at all. It’s just the middle classes virtue signaling whilst standing on the heads of the majority who despite their best efforts are being relegated to the serfs scrap heap. There is no hope left for people or the planet anywhere.

    • Why will the station be a godsend if the airport reopens ? They won’t be sending the freight down to the airport by rail or vice versa so what difference will it make ? .

      If you’re referring to passenger flights then you’ve completely fallen for the SMA pipe dream. Never going to happen.

    • You don’t live in the CT11 postal area then do you Bill, because those who do, and much of Thanet will have their lives wrecked if Manston re-opened with low flying cargo aircraft approaching over Ramsgate Harbour at less than 300 meters high, getting lower as they fly up the High Street, until less than a 100meters over Nethercourt before touchdown! Get real Bill, the American Hedge Fund company that owns Manston couldn’t give a you know what about the people of Thanet.

  11. Facilities wise, how is this station any worse than Minster, Dumpton Park, Chestfield & Swalecliffe and all of the stations that lock up at midday?

      • I didn’t realise that Network Rail, who built and own the station received money from the public. Perhaps you can enlighten me?

        • This from Wikipedia:
          “The project is funded with £14 million from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership via the Local Growth Fund, £12 million from the UK Government Getting Building Fund, £3.4 million from the New Stations Fund, £2 million from Thanet District Council, £700,000 from the East Kent Spatial Development Company and £5.8 million from Kent County Council. £875,000 of extra UK Government funding was required in 2022.[5]”

        • If you don’t understand how “privatisation” works by now you never will.

          I’ll give you a quick summary….

          Privatised firms make no real investment in infrastructure, put up prices and cut as many jobs as possible – until it gets to the point that everything is break and this point government gives grants and bail outs and they keep their obscene profits.

          This station is public funded.

  12. I agree with you Bill,
    Just a sone throw from the station is Manston Airport where a £500 million investment is being offered, yet the oddballs of Labour are doing their utmost to stop the airport, they would rather help Jenny Dawes than help the jobless get back to work.
    They have no right to call themselves “Labour” when they are trying to keep people jobless. Disgusting

    • The Tories election literature for the recent local elections made it clear that voting Labour would harm the development of the airport.
      And lo and behold, Thanet returned a Labour LA.
      It’s a fact that since 2014 (when the airport closed) unemployment in Thanet has fallen (except during lockdown)
      How many jobless air traffic controllers or aircraft handlers are there in Thanet?

    • Nope Ann – no money has been offered or raised. Rather RSP keep saying that they can raise it. That’s a huge problem – who exactly is going to invest? It’s very unlikely.

      • In RSP’s Funding Statement, submitted to the Planning Examiners, they make it clear that, subject to the DCO being approved, the substantial sums (I would imagine more than £500M by now) would be raised by inviting carefully selected investors to chip in. Clearly RSP don’t have anything like the money to develop the airport.
        Someone on the NNF fb group worked out that a loan of £500M over 20 years at 5% would cost more than a £1M a month to service. If you had 1000 skilled workers at £60,000 a year, then you add at the very least another £5M a month
        Where will all that money come from?
        Sally Dixon of Azimuth Aviation did not produce a business plan. Louise Congdon of York Aviation did, and pointed out that to meet the costs, RSP would have to charge such high landing fees that no-one could afford to use the airport.

    • You need to get help Ann if you believe if Manston was re-opened it would create jobs, in fact it would do the reverse! Low flying cargo aircraft over Ramsgate Harbour, and the town will have a very adverse effect on the hospitality trade due to noise pollution, and poison the air! Would you stay in a hotel if every night aircraft flew so low you could see the pilots from the window? No, the 2 chocolate MP’s for Thanet are conning the people into thinking its a good idea, when in fact it will devalue thousands of properties under the flight path, and have a detrimental affect on the health of Thanet people. They are traitors to the people of Thanet, because they are trying to promote the re-opening to an American Hedge Fund company who own Manston, because they think it will win them votes, Duurh!

  13. I don’t think of donating to a judicial review as “helping Jenny Dawes” but as “helping to stop an airport from being opened next to Ramsgate”. Perhaps the hundreds of JR supporters should have accompanied Ms Dawes to the actual review.

  14. I agree with you Karen.
    This is just another station in Thanet, permanently unmanned, that can only be reached by car, with a bus stop that will likely only be used when the bus replacement service is running, at a cost of £44m+, £2m of which comes from TDC reserves. The only growth it will encourage is of housing and industrial estates in the surrounding fields.

    • I you suggesting that no-one lives within walking distance of the station? This is CLIFFSEND, with its ever-expanding modern housing estates, not Crundale!

      • There are more densely populated areas a longer distance from a station. I really don’t understand why all houses need a train station within a mile. Buses can take people to stations.

  15. All Karen seems to do is divide our community saying everything built whilst the Tories are in power is rubbish and her her party will do better I can’t see how or a difference we have NO politicians that we can trust. They said the same about Ebbsfleet it is now a thriving village and station

  16. Parkway the name says it all it for people in the surrounding area that can park a car at a Thanet station as Ramsgate and minster, Broadstairs,dumpton park,sandwich do not have that many parking spaces.

  17. Any local politician pushing any issue ridiculously hard (Manston Airport) Should have their bins regularly checked for Brown envelopes and the mattress turned once a month for any recent money deposits.

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