Published: 08:40, 04 August 2020
| Updated: 12:17, 04 August 2020
A new controversial commuter railway station has been given a huge cash injection of £12 million in government funding.
They were put on hold in April as Kent County Council slammed "disingenuous" suggestions that £17.8 million ring-fenced for the proposed scheme should instead be used to fund the coronavirus effort.
A critical decision, due to be made by KCC's planning committee in May, was deferred and the scheme is yet to be given the green light by the authority.
It came after calls were made to "shelve" the proposal by Thanet county councillors.
If approved, it will have two unstaffed platforms, a 300-space car park and a road connection to the A256 Sandwich Bypass and A299 Thanet Way.
The project will bring 800 new jobs to the area and a further 40 construction jobs.
But the new station on the Ramsgate to Ashford International line, aimed at bringing journey times to the capital down to an hour, has divided opinion, with some branding it a "waste of money".
Concerns of overcrowding on trains have also been raised due to the predicted increase in passengers.
The £12 million investment is part of the government's new Getting Building Fund to boost local infrastructure projects in a bid to drive economic growth in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
The South East Local Enterprise Partnership, which works with the government to drive ecocomic growth, bagged an £85 million share of the funding.
Bosses narrowed down a list of projects with a focus on ones that can "progress quickly" and stimulate areas most impacted by Covid-19.
KCC's cabinet committed to coughing up to £17.8million for the scheme in January while the remaining £2 million will be funded by Thanet District Council.
North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale MP (Con) said the funding was a "significant step forward".
"Thanet Parkway Station is a key piece of the jigsaw that will open up East Kent to investment and employment and will also facilitate the re-opening and success of Manston Airport," he said.
South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay also praised the government boost and said, after a difficult period, these are "momentous times" for Thanet.
"It’s well-known that accessibility to London is a major determinant of economic success," he said.
"Thanet, with its peripheral location, has endured slow journey times to London.
"That can now change with a headline journey time of around one hour to London Stratford International."