Sunday, 6 January 2013

DEAL on track for 2013

It's been a momentous 2012 for the high-speed train service to DEAL and Sandwich but also for the town of DEAL as a whole. Most of the town now has accessibility to fibre optic high-speed broadband, our sea defences are currently undergoing major investment, the high street is starting to thrive again and tourists flocked to the town during the summer months.

The recent announcement that Walmer Science College will close and the future of DEAL Hospital are serious set backs. But we have also had more welcoming news with modest unemployment falls, improved bus services, the completion of phase 1 of DEAL Business Park and plans to open a museum of the moving image.

Looking forward in 2013, work should be starting very soon on the old Quarterdeck site and we should also see the opening of Wetherspoons in March. The Ward Homes Sholden development will commence and hopefully plans for a new youth centre will progress. One issue which I personally think will become a big issue in 2013 is the need for a North DEAL access road. A new road could give access to North DEAL and the Royal Cinque Ports golf course and also link the town to Fowlmead and Betteshanger Business Park.

DEAL is now served by eight high-speed trains, four morning and four evening. The service has been extended to 2014 when the current Southeastern franchise is due to expire. Kent County Council, Dover District Council and the stakeholder group Trains4Deal have all submitted recommendations to the Department of Transport that the new franchise specification should include a full (all day and every day) high-speed service for DEAL.

Platform 1 Deal retro cafe opened last year within DEAL station and is a great addition to the station, I urge everyone to make use of it. The Orient Express visited DEAL on four occasions in 2012 and the guys at Platform 1 Deal made sure passengers had a great reception. They have also hosted Radio Kent's live breakfast show and are great ambassadors for the town. The Community Green group DealWithIt have proposed a community garden at the station and I think this would be another excellent addition. 

In 2013 rail fares have increased unjustifiably and I will be lobbying as best I can to appeal for some of this money to be invested in local line and signal upgrades and station improvements. We could see Southeastern try and reduce staffing at DEAL station and I urge people to fiercely oppose this.

Happy 2013.