French teacher leads fight to keep trains to Brussels
A TEACHER’S battle to keep Eurostar services from Ashford International running has drawn support from Kent County Council.
Edith Robson, from Willesborough, a former French teacher at the Towers School, has so far collected 2,500 signatures on a petition calling for Eurostar to keep trains to Brussels running from the station.
The rail firm is planning to relocate most of its Continental services from Ashford to Ebbsfleet in north Kent.
Last week, a cross-party group of European Parliament members announced they were supporting Mrs Robson, after meeting her in the Belgian capital, and Ashford Borough Council has also pledged its support.
Now KCC has joined them. Roger Gough, cabinet member for regeneration, said: “Ashford is being promoted as one of the Government’s growth areas because it has the right rail connections.
“To reduce international services at Ashford will undermine the town’s growth potential.
“Kent County Council and Ashford Borough Council are doing all they can to bring more pressure to bear on Eurostar.
“If they ignore local people in the Ashford area, they will lose custom.”
Opposition to the cutbacks in services has also come from three other local authorities in the South East: East Sussex, West Sussex and Hampshire.
East Sussex County Council leader Peter Jones said: “This is also our fight in East Sussex.
“We see this withdrawal of services as a real threat to the regeneration of our economy, especially in vulnerable areas like Hastings.”
Roy Perry, Hampshire County Council executive member for community development and external affairs, said: “It seems very strange to cut services at a time when record numbers of passengers are using the service from Ashford.”
Anyone who would like to sign the petition can contact Mrs Robson on firstname.lastname@example.org