Thanet Parkway Station plans unlikely to be submitted this year as feedback suggests most residents would not use it
PUBLISHED: 14:39 23 August 2017 | UPDATED: 14:39 23 August 2017
Kent County Council carried out a consultation on the proposals earlier this year
Proposals for a new parkway train station in Thanet are unlikely to be submitted this year as planned after the majority of respondents in a recent consultation claimed they wouldn’t use it.
Kent County Council says the station will provide access to more employment opportunities for local residents using high speed rail services to London and other parts of Kent.
Bosses also claim it will improve investment opportunities at Discovery Park Enterprise Zone and surrounding business parks in Thanet, bringing jobs and prosperity to the east of the county.
Thanet Parkway is earmarked for being on the existing Ashford International to Ramsgate line, south of the former Manston Airport site and just to the west of the village of Cliffsend.
It will be sited between Minster and Ramsgate railway stations, and will be served by both mainline and high speed trains.
The proposed station is designed to be unstaffed with two platforms and have a variety of facilities, including ticket vending machines and passenger help and information points offering remote assistance.
There will be step-free access from ground level to both platforms which can accept carriages up to 12 car trains, while a 300 space car park will be adjacent along with a forecourt with bus stops, drop-off and pick-up zone, dedicated taxi area, electric charging points and an area for cycle storage.
However, when KCC invited feedback on the proposals earlier this year, of the 306 responses it received to a question asking whether they would use the station, 40 per cent answered ‘no’ compared to 34 per cent who said ‘yes’.
In response, council chiefs point out there may be a number of reasons for that claim, such as them living within walking distance to an existing station or because they do not currently need to travel by train.
When asked how frequently they would use the station, only three per cent of respondents said they would do so daily, with 40 per cent saying they would use it once or twice a month, 35 per cent claiming more than once a year and eight per cent once a year or less.
There were also concerns about a lack of toilets and disabled facilities and the station being unstaffed.
The council responded in the report, published this month, by saying: “Comments have been noted by the project team and reasonable improvements to the station facilities will be explored when developing the station design and will be considered in line with the project budget.”
The design of the station was also criticised by some, with the bridge described as “an eyesore”, however the majority of respondents said they were satisfied with the proposed look.
Concerns were also raised over congestion on the roads and car parking - with many requesting charges be kept to a minimum to discourage passengers from parking in residential areas of Cliffend.
The local authority added: “Pricing of car parking at the station is still to be decided.
“Different scenarios are being explored by the project team and will be presented to the cabinet member [Matthew Balfour] for a final decision.
“Should it be decided that parking will be charged, KCC will work with Thanet District Council to explore measures to prevent commuter parking in residential areas.”
The feedback is not expected to derail the plans, however it is understood a planning application is now likely to be submitted next year, rather than by the end of 2017 as KCC hoped when launching the consultation.