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Discovery Park managing director Paul Barber says establishing high speed trains to Thanet is vital if Manston Airport closes

Bosses at business hub Discovery Park say the closure of Manston Airport would make improved rail links to the area more important than ever.

While closure would not immediately be a blow to Discovery Park, bosses are concerned the lack of an airport could put off potential tenants in future.

Last year, plans for 800 homes at a new Manston Green development outlined the development of a new Thanet Parkway station.

Discovery Park managing director Paul Barber
Discovery Park managing director Paul Barber

A station at the 112-acre scheme on the edge of Ramsgate would bring down journey times to the capital to around the hour mark.

Managing director Paul Barber said: “The biggest loss is the potential it had.

"It won’t have a massive negative effect on us immediately because I don’t think a huge number of people in Discovery Park relied on the airport.

“But the airport could have been a real driver of economic growth in the future, and that might be reduced now.

The Thanet Parkway Station could be of a similar scale to the one at Greenhithe
The Thanet Parkway Station could be of a similar scale to the one at Greenhithe

“If the airport does close, we need to make sure the rail link into London is improved.

“It is already very good but it has potential to become excellent, and we need to make sure that if we lose a link overseas that our rail link to London is as good as possible.”

The business park has a target of creating 3,000 jobs, and Mr Barber said he hoped it could mitigate the employment impact on the area.

He said: “If we can help those 150 people who may lose their jobs at the airport then we will.

Manston Airport
Manston Airport

“It shows that we can’t rely on anything really. All sectors of the economy are open to global pressures.”

The final KLM flight will leave Manston tomorrow as the consultation continues on the airport's possible closure.

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