Manston airport will play a pivotal part in Kent’s role as the UK’s “front door”, according to a new report which sets out a long-term vision for the county. The report, commissioned by Kent County Council (KCC) and put together by one of the world’s leading architects, Sir Terry Farrell, sets out ambitious plans designed to unlock the area’s economic potential.
Many of the aspirations centred on the benefits stemming from the high speed rail line, which council chiefs plan to extend from Ashford and Thanet, further reducing journey times to central London. But infrastructure improvements are also planned at Kent International Airport, which the report says will have a “multimodal interchange” that is linked to the high speed line and forms part of a “co-ordinated national airport network”. By 2030, rail passengers will even be able to check in at Ashford International to catch a flight out of Manston.
The blueprint, entitled 21st Century Kent, labels the county as the UK’s only “super region” and says the area has huge potential to build on. Sir Terry said:
“We need to work together to make the most of Kent’s assets – its many very special places and its wonderful landscapes – to ensure that future investment and growth is of the highest possible quality with maximum benefit to the people and communities of Kent.”
Cllr Paul Carter, the Conservative leader of KCC, added:
“Visionary forward planning is exactly what Kent needs to do now. This report will help to unlock the massive potential of the county’s economy, environment and people.”
The report also suggests that within two decades, Kent will have the country’s most distinctive and thriving coast, with a ‘cultural triangle’ centred on Margate, Folkestone and Canterbury that will be enriched by creative industry. Cultural festivals will attract more than five million visitors, while local beaches will be international destinations for water sports and recreation. Kent’s coast will also have a “vigorous environmental economy” that embraces renewable energy, including wind and tidal power.
Thanet Extra 29th Jan 2010