Monday, 21 February 2011

Thanet Parkway station would have required substantial Pfizer capital

The potential for a new Thanet Parkway train station adjacent to Manston Airport was identified in Kent County Council (KCC)’s Transport Delivery Plan for Kent, Growth without Gridlock, which was launched on 1st December 2010.
Kent County Council made a bid on (21st January 2011) for a £10 million Government investment for the Thanet Parkway station. The Access to East Kent bid, spearheaded by KCC's Councillor Nick Chard, hoped to grab a slice of the Regional Growth Fund, worth £1.4 billion, over the next three years. In addition to government investment, discussions were ongoing regarding a potential financial contribution from Pfizer Ltd.
On the 28th January Cllr Nick Chard (Con) who spearheaded the bid lost his job and was replaced by his deputy, Cllr Bryan Sweetland.
On the 1st February Pfizer publically announced it was closing the Sandwich Research and Development facility. During a discussion regarding the Pfizer closure decision at The Foundation for Science and Technology a Pfizer source indicated one of the key reasons was geographical isolation.
If the proposed Thanet Parkway station does get the go ahead in reality it will be many years before it will be completed and be of any benefit to the Pfizer site and the East Kent economy. It is vital that Kent County Council now concentrate immediately on extending the Southeastern highspeed network to stop at Deal and Sandwich stations and the possibility of shuttle bus services from each station to the Pfizer site. The cost of this initiative is minimal compared to the Access to East Kent bid and would bring instantaneous results.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The Southeastern highspeed map of shame

"A picture is worth 5,000 jobs" (Pfizer permanent and contractual job losses)

Annual station usage season ticket entries


Folkestone West44,083
Station parking spaces

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Pfizer bombshell must prompt immediate Southeastern highspeed inclusion

The shocking news that Pfizer is to close the Sandwich research facility will have a devastating impact on the East Kent economy and the 2,400 employees and their families. Kent County Council leader Paul Carter is to lead a taskforce trying to ease the impact of Pfizer's closure decision on jobs and the East Kent economy.

He said it would "do everything we can to mitigate the impact of this decision and continue with our ambitious plans for East Kent. Many of Pfizer's workforce live in the area and are among the most highly skilled workers in Kent. This will also have a massive impact on the local people and the local economy that support Pfizer as a business."

An immediate initiative must be to make additional stops at Deal and Sandwich with the empty Southeastern highspeed trains which already pass through but do not stop.

Transport infrastructure is a key basic requirement for economic regeneration and sustainability, extending the highspeed network to Deal and Sandwich should be an immediate response.

East Kent has one of the lowest ratios of jobs to employed workforce in the South East and it's shameful exclusion from the Southeastern highspeed network and continued abysmal reduced mainline services throws serious doubt over KCC's claim that it has ambitious plans for East Kent. KCC and Kent MP's have been continually lobbied to improve train services to East Kent but the reality is that we have seen a dramatic worsening of services, increased journey times and extortionate fare increases.