Sunday, 20 May 2012

Orient Express visit to Kent's coastal jewel in the crown

On Saturday 19th May 2012 the first of four Orient Express excursions planned for this year to Deal was welcomed by a large crowd of Dealites and welcoming ambassadors including representatives from The Just Reproach, The Bohemian and Platform 1 Cafe.

The excursion was a sell out with two hundred passengers alighting at Deal station and exploring our great town. Once again BBC Radio Kent were live at Deal station and below you can listen to Nick Stevens from Platform 1 Cafe give an excellent interview championing Deal.

The introduction of peak highspeed train services to Deal has been a huge boost to the town, a catalyst for aspirations and investment. Kent County Council has committed to build a new youth centre, stagecoach have increased bus services, the Quarterdeck replacement has been agreed, Deal Business Park is nearing completion, fibre optic broadband is being rolled out and the seafront shared space project is gathering impetus. Furthermore we have seen some great new businesses start-up such as The Just Reproach and Platform 1 Cafe.

This is only the start as we still require a full highspeed service, more local jobs, better policing. I suspect we will always be lacking something because this town is a progressive town.

But the reason for all of the above improvements are down to one thing and that one thing is what defines Deal above all other towns, our community. Groups like Trains4Deal, Deal With It, North Deal Community Partnership and businesses like Platform 1 Deal are championing our town. I know there are many other groups and individuals who are working just as tirelessly.

The talk from afar is that the town is on the up! Long may it continue.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Highspeed DEAL can become a Hi-Tech hub

Recently Charlie Elphicke MP wrote a very good article about his ambition to make DEAL a high-speed town with better communication links and high tech jobs to compliment the highspeed rail service. Recently you may have noticed some new green boxes appearing on street corners! These are high-speed broadband cabinets and BT are currently rolling out FTTC (fibre optic broadband to the cabinet) which puts DEAL in the forefront of next gen technology.

Quite rightly Charlie wrote about the huge benefit that the Hadlow project would bring to DEAL and desperately needed well paid high tech jobs. The other day fellow DEAL and HS1 patron @horacebat tweeted me a great idea about having a remote office centre with video conference, fast broadband etc in DEAL where commuters could hot desk from. This then got me thinking... I bet like myself a lot of commuters from DEAL are working in tech centric jobs and would find a remote office centre useful so they can sometimes work locally. But why stop at that... local businesses and start-ups would also probably find this an invaluable service.

All of sudden you have got local start-ups and businesses networking with London IT professionals helping them prosper and grow and with a bit of luck a high tech hub emerges in DEAL, an East Kent satellite of London's Silicone Tech City. I am convinced we already have a wealth of IT innovators living in DEAL and that will only increase as our high performing academy school and the technology school in SANDWICH continue to thrive.

I would love to get some views on this so please comment if you have an opinion, idea or experience of hot desking.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

December 2012 Southeastern timetable consultation begins

As far as I can tell the main change that would affect Deal and Sandwich is the proposed removal of the 05:56 service from Deal, this would be replaced by a 07:26 service which arrives at St Pancras at 08:49.

The 06:56 service would no longer make an attachment at Ashford but would additionally stop at Ebbsfleet. Journey times seem to have crept up from 82 minutes to 85 minutes which seems ridiculous as so much time is wasted hanging around Dover Priory. In my opinion HS services from Deal to St Pancras could easily be brought down to under 80 minutes.

The 18:10 St Pancras to Margate & Dover will run as a 12 car to Margate, cutting journey times from St Pancras to Canterbury to 55 minutes and will no longer serve Folkestone or Dover however the 18:18 St Pancras to Ebbsfleet is extended to Dover.

Once again there is no timetable provision for weekend HS services to Deal or Sandwich and the majority of these overall timetable changes seem geared to give Canterbury, Margate & Ramsgate quicker and more frequent services.

You can view the draft timetables using the following link and there is also a link on that page to submit your comments.

December 2012 Southeastern timetable consultation begins