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.

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