Tuesday, 1 October 2013

What's the DEAL Charlie Elphicke?

I had envisaged this post would be composed of many detailed paragraphs but I am going to try and use the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid).

The previous Labour Government decided not to include DEAL in the HS1 rail service which they launched in December 2009, furthermore they reduced the existing classic service and increased journey times.

Good rail links are vital to DEAL.

Prompted by the Pfizer closure at Sandwich, Kent County Council (KCC) put their money where their mouth was and funded a peak high-speed (HS) service for DEAL & Sandwich until the expiry of the existing Southeastern franchise agreement in March 2014. The service has been a huge success and exceeded everyone’s expectations. Furthermore KCC agreed to promote all-day HS services for DEAL & Sandwich as their top priority additional requirement for the new franchise specification.

So what's gone wrong?

The coalition government had a "franchise fiasco" at the Department for Transport (DfT) which has resulted in delaying new rail franchises and subsequently potentially means DEAL & Sandwich will have no HS services from March 2014.

Whose fault is it?

It is the fault of the Government and the DfT and as local representatives of the Government; ultimately the blame must lie with Charlie Elphicke MP (Dover & Deal) and Laura Sandys MP (Thanet South).

Regardless of the existing 'franchise' in 2011 Helen Grant MP (Maidstone and the Weald) secured HS services to Maidstone West which as far as I am aware is not under threat from March 2014.

Charlie Elphicke has spent a considerable amount of his political time on securing the 'Peoples Port' of Dover and a new Buckland Hospital. But in DEAL we have lost a high school, our hospital and a children’s centre is under threat and now rail services.

The potential of Betteshanger Business Park has still not been realised nor has a North DEAL access road. In fact I am struggling to think of any direct positives Mr Elphicke has brought to DEAL.

So come on Charlie, now is your opportunity to actually make a difference and secure all day HS services to DEAL. It’s quite simple... all the DfT have to do is tell Southeastern to stop HS services at DEAL.

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