Thursday, 29 September 2011

A transport hub is key to the future of Deal

On the 5th September 2011 Southeastern commenced operating a highspeed commuter service from Deal train station bringing journey times to the Capital down to 82 minutes. Argueably one of the most momentous events for the town in recent years.

Initial passeneger takeup has been good and continues to grow, perhaps not surprisingly the highest passenger numbers have been on the Friday evening service from London St Pancras to Deal.

An estimated 18 million people pass through London St Pancras every year and many will now see the Kent town name of Deal displayed on its destination boards. The huge London jobs market has become accessible to the residents of Deal which helps the local economy to grow. Equally important; visitors to Deal have modern direct access to the town which brings a huge boost to tourism.

Recently Deal train station has had a welcome facelift. However complacency does not secure the increased passenger numbers we need to make sure the highspeed service remains after the one year trial and to ensure the introduction of all day services.

Deal train station can suffer from anti social behaviour and needs CCTV coverage. The Department for Transport and British Transport Police have a Secure Stations Scheme which has already accredited some Southeastern stations. If you witness any anti social behaviour I urge you to inform Dover District Council and ask for secure station accreditation. The popularity of cycling to the station is also increasing and this would be encouraged with CCTV monitoring.

An increase to station staffing hours would also be of huge benefit, the recent suggestion by the McNulty report that station ticket offices such as Deal should close is pure madness in fact we need the reverse. Another seated shelter towards the Sainsburys end of platform 1 would be desirable. A review of bus services and how they can be integrated with the new highspeed service should also be investigated and a modern electronic notice board outside the station, detailing local facilities and attractions could also pay dividends.

If the funds are not available for these modest improvements then perhaps any agreement to allow further housing development in areas such as Sholden should include the provision to pay for them.

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