Sup­port for rail plat­form

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Transport Update -

A pro­posed new rail­way plat­form has been de­scribed as a vi­tal de­vel­op­ment for sub­ur­ban Ash­ford.

There was huge sup­port for the planned rail halt on the Park Farm es­tate at the Joint Trans­porta­tion Board (JTB) meet­ing on Tues­day night.

Many mem­bers said the plat­form, which was orig­i­nally put for­ward in 2001, was a long time com­ing.

Com­mit­tee mem­ber Cllr Bernard Heyes (Con. God­in­ton) said: “We’ve been talk­ing about this for a long time. We have six years left to do some­thing.

“It could im­prove the line to Hast­ings, and even Brighton. It could re­gen­er­ate the Rom­ney Marsh and Hast­ings ar­eas.

“The sta­tion won’t only serve Park Farm, but will be a sub­ur­ban sta­tion for South Ash­ford.”

Cllr Jim Wedg­bury (Con. Park Farm), who has called for the sta­tion for a num­ber of years, said: “The town wants it and the com­mu­nity want it.

“We talk about costs, but by not putting it in it is dam­ag­ing to the town.”

Cllr Aline Hicks (Con. Weald South), said it would re­lieve some pres­sure on Ham­street sta­tion.

The scheme would see the con­struc­tion of a small rail­way plat­form on the Ash­ford to Hast­ings line, and would im­prove trans­port links for thou­sands liv­ing on the Kingsnorth es­tate.

The scheme was re­vis­ited in a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion in 2012 which looked at the re­main­ing un­de­vel­oped el­e­ments of the Park Farm de­vel­op­ment.

Both Net­work Rail and the Depart­ment for Trans­port have been con­sulted on the pro­posal, and the land is pro­tected from any other de­vel­op­ment un­til July 2021.

A to­tal of £35,000 is promised from Sec­tion 106 obli­ga­tions to pay for a in­de­pen­dent rail con­sul­tant, and £10,000 of this has al­ready been se­cured.

The next step is for mem­bers of Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil’s plan­ning team to pro­cure a con­sul­tant to carry out the first stages in the process of pur­su­ing the halt.

Cllr Jim Wedg­bury

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