Fancy relocating to Calais? It might not be your first choice, but few doubt that the Canterbury district has considerable change in store. Under mounting pressure from central government, our council is pledging to build thousands of new homes in the coming years. Surrounding towns in east Kent are under similar pressure. And don’t forget London, whose Mayor, Boris Johnson, seems to think we can accommodate the capital’s overspill too. Radical problems tend to require radical solutions. French businessman Thaddée Segard puts forward a convincing case for the cross-channel commute. Property is relatively cheap over there — approximately a third of what we pay – and there’s plenty of space as the population has dwindled.
Eurotunnel, owner of the Channel Tunnel, says it has enough capacity to run daily commuter services. What’s more, a retired fleet of Eurostar rolling stock could soon be up for grabs. What’s missing is a rail operator who’s keen to run such a service, and political will on both sides of the water. The idea of a Transmanche Metro has been doing the rounds for some time. With space at an increasing premium in the south east, it may get more serious consideration as time goes on. In which case a spacious retreat on the French coast might seem a pretty good option after all.
Herne Bay Gazette, March 19th 2015