My KCC Election Manifesto & Video

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Say No To Ramsgate Parkway Station


Former Thanet Councillor Ian Driver has called on Kent County Council (KCC) to abandon its plans to build Thanet Parkway station, following revelations that anticipated construction costs have soared. The Thanet Parkway Business Case, published in March 2014, estimated building costs at £11.2 million (1). But documents uncovered by Driver which were discussed by the Kent & Medway Economic Partnership (KMEP) in August (2) show that estimated costs  have now risen by a massive 83% to almost £21 million (2) in just over 2 years.
In 2014 the Government agreed to pay £10 million of the estimated £11million cost of building the station through its Local  Growth Fund, leaving KCC and Thanet Council to cover the predicted £1million funding gap. With building costs now estimated at £20.5 million, KCC and Thanet Council would need to find £9.3 million to plug the funding gap - a highly unlikely prospect given the huge budget reductions which have been forced upon the two councils.
In June 2016 a KCC spokesperson downplayed Driver’s warnings about escalating Parkway building  costs, saying that the “current cost estimate for construction is £16 million” (3). The latest documents reveal that Driver was right all along. The proposed station will require new control mechanisms and improvements will have to be made to the Cliffsend level crossing, bringing the total costs to astronomic £20.5 million (4).

Driver  has condemned  Thanet’s  politicians for failing to alert local people to the dramatic cost escalation. He said “This is one of KCC’s most important and prestigious transport projects.  Information on the growing construction  costs for the station has been available since January, yet not a single one of Thanet’s 8 KCC councillors has made a public statement about it. They are clearly not doing their job and failing to keep residents informed”.
  
He added “Thanet Council’s Joint Transportation Board is supposed to consider public transport work programmes such as Parkway station  and be a forum for consultation between KCC and TDC on policies, plans and strategies for public transport – yet the Board and its 14 elected councillor members has also failed to discuss Thanet Parkway station at any of its meetings during  the past year. This lack of debate about an important Thanet transport issue is shameful. I wonder what these councillors, who have special responsibility for transport in Thanet, have be doing whilst the construction costs of the Parkway station have been skyrocketing?”
 
“Given that all 3 parties (UKIP, Tory & Labour)  and senior KCC and TDC officers are all committed to supporting Parkway station, my suspicion is that  debate on the controversial station and its rapidly growing construction costs is being deliberately and undemocratically  stifled  because the powers that be are afraid of the resulting  public  outcry, which might put an end to their plans. In fact an overwhelming majority of the comments submitted by local people about Parkway station during the 2014 public consultation  exercise, were opposed to the construction of the station. No wonders senior officers and politicians want to keep this quite!”

“I’ve always argued that Thanet Parkway Station is a massive white elephant which is not needed. It will actually increase journey times from existing Thanet stations to Canterbury, Ashford and London, and it could ultimately lead to the closure of some of Thanet’s town stations. Building the station will also cause substantial environmental damage. A huge area of farmland will be concreted over to accommodate the platforms, a 350 space car park and approach roads. Extra traffic to and from the station will cause congestion and air pollution in an area which is already very congested. If the station gets planning permission, property developers will be queuing up to submit planning applications  to build houses on all  the open farmland around the site, and if this happens, Cliffsend village will quickly be  swallowed up by Ramsgate”.
“I have talked to many local people about Thanet Parkway station, and most believe that it would be better to spend money providing more parking spaces near Ramsgate station, especially on the site of the old swimming pool,  and improving public transport links to it. If TDC and KCC plan to continue with this hare-brained scheme, they will be wasting £21 million of taxpayers’ money on a huge polluting white elephant that isn’t needed and that nobody wants”.

 
1.     See http://www.kent.gov.uk/roads-and-travel/travelling-around-kent/thanet-parkway-railway-station  and then click on Draft Business Case Report. 2014 estimated construction price is on page 1.
 

2.     Click on Related Documents link here http://kmep.org.uk/documents/KMEP_Board_Papers_-_1_August_16.pdf

and see item 9 page 44.

 

3.     See Kent Online Kent County Council insists Thanet Parkway station won’t be derailed despite rising costs http://www.kentonline.co.uk/thanet/news/estimated-costs-of-thanet-parkway-97489/

 
4.     See note 2 above.

8 comments:

  1. The Parkway station will benefit 2 people Musgrove and Cartner of Discovery Park and Stone Hill Park... Interesting that as Discovery Park in theory owes Kent County Council money and that KCC likes to pour money into Discovery Park and calls it a success.

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    1. Interested to know why you think Discovery Park owes KCC money. Can you tell me how much and when the loans were granted?
      The government when Eric Pickles was a minister in 2014 gave Discovery Park £6 millions (as and enterprise zone) to refurbish some of the buildings but nothing to do with KCC and not repayable

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    2. https://democracy.kent.gov.uk/documents/s49905/Item%20B1%20-%20Record%20of%20Decision%20Discovery%20Park%20Enterprise%20Zone%20Growing%20Places%20Fund.pdf

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    3. Still not KCC money but central governments money allocated by local authorities. The Growing Places Fund is supporting key infrastructure projects designed to unlock wider economic growth, create jobs and build houses in England.

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    4. why would building houses at Discovery Park be of use?

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    5. how many civil servants are being paid to not build the Parkway?

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  2. Well said Ian: a foolish project with he end of Manston - we ant the old swimming pool rebuilt!

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  3. The replacement of the swimming pool in the Warre Recreation ground would certainly be an asset, provided the council did a proper job of getting it out to tender, before some bright spark decides to build "affordable" homes on it. Parkway is a dead end, forget it before we end up in even more debt.

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