It’s a fundamental economic truth that having a railway station puts a town in a much stronger position than not. Surely therefore if the Parkway scheme goes ahead and Ramsgate Station is neglected or even closed, then the economy of the town will be seriously damaged. This is something which politicians from all parties should be avoiding.
Personally, I believe the Parkway Station scheme is based on muddled thinking and could become, like the TransEuropa debt scandal, another massive waste of public money. The recently published interim report of the Airport Commission excludes Manston Airport from the resolution of the, highly questionable, south east air-traffic capacity problem. This decision will, in my opinion, lead to the eventual closure of Manston Airport. This means that there is no need for a Parkway Station because the oft-predicted millions of airport passengers just ain’t gonna show up!
Likewise I’m unconvinced by plans being developed by Thanet Council’s Labour Cabinet for a container facility at Ramsgate port which, it is argued, may necessitate the development a freight railhead at Parkway. With competition from the newly opened London Gateway super-container port, http://www.londongateway.com/ you don't need to be a maritime mogul to recognise that a sustainable container operation at Ramsgate is simply not feasible.However, if the £millions earmarked for Parkway were to be invested in developing a high speed rail link between Ramsgate and Ashford, reducing journey times to London to an hour or less, then the economy of Ramsgate and Thanet would receive a massive and sustainable shot in the arm.
Tourism would increase. There would be a major growth in commuting, fuelled by the house price inflation in London and its suburbs. And new sustainable businesses would rapidly begin to appear, catering for the needs of these new customers and providing many jobs. Central to this would of course be Ramsgate Station which will require major investment as more and more people begin use it.
Focusing on the development of a fast link Between Ashford and Ramsgate means that hundreds of acres of valuable greenfield land which would otherwise be sacrificed to a totally unnecessary railway station and the various hare-brained housing schemes currently being touted, will be protected.Finally, a remodelled Ramsgate Station with a bigger transport interchange would also provide the owner of Manston Airport, Anne Gloag, who I understand used to run Stagecoach Buses, an opportunity to develop a shuttle service to whatever she might decide to build on the Manston runway once the airport closes. I am sure these plans are probably already in the advance stages of preparation!
Whatever anyone may say I think there is a long-term future for Ramsgate Station and I think that future is very bright!