Just Yesterday, our Man About Town, (London Town) Damian Collins MP, spoke about Network Rail in his weekly column, in the Folkestone Herald. One of his pet projects which he endeavoured to write about back in Oct 2014 was Westenhanger Station (pictured) and how he wanted to turn it into a Parkway Railway Station.
Now Otterpool Park is not just about houses, water in and out, or doctors, it is about the redevelopment of Westenhanger Station too.
As a result of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request submitted to Network Rail (NR) it has become clear that Shepway District Council (SDC) have for some time been in contact with NR about upgrading the facilities at Westenhanger Station to support Otterpool Park.
And as far as we can see, SDC had there first meeting with Network rail in Oct 2016, as can be evidenced in this document → Shepway – NR Duty To Co-operate
There are three sets of emails between SDC and NR which have been released and can by downloaded – start at the bottom of emails and work up
More importantly, amongst the documents provided by NR, there are two key pieces of information:
A draft Scope of Work that NR would undertake for SDC;
An outline timescale of the proposed Scope of Work, all relating to Westenhanger Station.
You can download the full Westenhanger Station schedule
Although work appears to be well in hand – the timescale shows a “kick-off” meeting on 28 August – Just 10 days away, the FOI response covering letter indicates that SDC have not yet contracted NR to undertake the work, so things may not be progressing to plan.
The important thing to understand is that this is preliminary work, an initial feasibility study which will then be submitted to the Department for Transport for approval. It will be one among many and the success rate is not great, but we are sure with the Reuben Brothers behind it, along with Damian, approval will be a walk in the park.
All of the above aligns with Shepway’s MP’s views, expressed in his article back in Oct 2014 as we said earlier.
Two overriding questions arise:
If Otterpool Park is local housing and local jobs, why is a High Speed link to London needed?
What would be the future for Folkestone stations?
Also on the 1st Feb at a meeting of the Collaboration board at Arcadis House, 34 York Way, London N1 9AB at 9:45 am, attended by SDC employees, Jeremy Chambers, Julia Wallace and Pat Main
Savills, SDC’s agent to purchase the land at Otterpool, gave a presentation where they stated
- “When asked about inclusion of Westenhanger Station on the HS1 route to London, Savills stated that it would be a ‘gamechanger’ for the values.“
Just by stopping at Westenhanger, would increase property prices and the notes go onto say:
- “Other factors considered by Savills to be important to securing the highest possible values were inclusion of a high street, quality public realm and clear design principles.“
Montagu Evans were to invited to the Collaboration Board meeting and when asked about Westenhanger stated:
- “In response to a question about inclusion of Westenhanger Station on the HS1 route to London, Montagu Evans’ view was that the train station and plans to improve it are an important selling point but delivery of the improvements did not need to delay delivery of homes because buyers would respond well to the promise. “
If you have any questions you can contact
firstname.lastname@example.org (pictured above) – (SDC Leader)
email@example.com (pictured) – Cabinet Member for Transport
firstname.lastname@example.org (pictured) or Network Rail
The Shepwayvox Team.