Just weeks after the announcement that Kent County Council was facing the biggest financial crisis in its history, its officers are recommending that a £34 million Thanet Parkway railway station be approved.
The officers claim the development of the station will enable journey times from Thanet to London to be cut by three minutes… and yes, that is put forward as a positive.
KCC planning committee is to decide on the scheme during a virtual public meeting on Wednesday, September 2, from 10am.
Just to clarify a little background to that impending decision: a cost of £34 million (the initial estimate was £11 million), the loss of some 23 acres of high-quality farmland, no permanent station staff and no commercial bus services… all for a saving of three minutes’ journey time.
And even that alleged saving is very much up for debate. A damning Department for Transport statement from 2018 said its panel was “concerned that accommodating an additional stop at Thanet Parkway would add two minutes to the journey on the line between Ashford and Ramsgate.”
So the time-saving from Thanet to London is, in truth, down to one minute, while the journey from Ramsgate to Ashford, for example, would actually take longer!
Then factor in the added driving time for travellers using the Parkway rather than existing stations such as Margate and Ramsgate (and the resulting congestion) and it’s difficult to see any benefit to this scheme at all.
South East Local Enterprise Partnership has granted £14 million towards it, the government £12m and Thanet District Council some £2m. That leaves some £6m for the county council to pay.
It is reported that KCC could have to make up to £130 million savings… Thanet Parkway station might be a very good place to start.
- To read more about the (very expensive) Thanet Parkway white elephant, click here
Thursday, August 27, 2020