South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay believes the proposed Thanet Parkway station has the potential to emulate the success of Ebbsfleet International.
Last week, Kent County Council’s cabinet agreed to contribute almost £18 million towards the new controversial station in East Kent.
Speaking exclusively to Voice of Kent ,Mackinlay confirmed he had mixed feelings about the project, but confirmed he would support the proposal.
Mackinlay said: “The economics of the whole scheme are probably a struggle to stack up, but given the choice of having it, or losing it completely, I think it is worth having.
“I would have thought when Ebbsfleet was first being built, you’d have thought what a waste of time. It has been a big success story and has helped development in that area and I think the Parkway station would do similar. It’s obviously not that far away from Manston and it’s well supported by Discovery Park so I think on balance it has to be a good thing if it is on offer.”
Mackinlay added: “The aim is to serve the public so they can access the high-speed service a little more simply, with some decent parking facilities which are completely devoid in Broadstairs and Ramsgate. I think it will be an asset which helps development come forward.
Councillor Rosalind Binks is opposed to the idea, believing the added time on the journey will affect passengers. “It’s going to be an extra station, adding five minutes to the journey from Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate. One could argue that isn’t very much but it’s been good news that it has been brought down and now you’re making it back up to an hour and a half again.”
The station is due to be situated just to the west of Cliffsend. Road access is currently proposed from the A299 Hengist Way with additional pedestrian and cycle access via Cliffsend village.
The impact on Ebbsfleet has been cause for a concern for Mackinlay: “I am concerned for the people of Cliffsend, who have raised concerns that their streets will become the free parking area to that services that station so no matter what happens we will need to have a very robust residents parking scheme in place to protect them.”
The station would add time on to the journey from the coast, which has recently been reduced to around one hour and 15 minutes, and the plans for the new station have seen criticism from many people in the area.
“I’m very concerned for the people of Cliffsend that they will see a lot of their roads taken up by commuters parking. It happens in every area where this is a station.”