High-speed trains could stop at village station…

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A VILLAGE’S small station could be a stop on the east Kent highspeed line under plans for a controversial garden town.

Shepway District Council [SDC] is lobbying Network Rail for the 125mph HS1 trains to call at Westenhanger, on their way to and from London and Dover if the 12,000-home project Otterpool Park goes ahead.

Westenhanger, a village of 400 residents lying just off the M20 motorway, bordering Folkestone Racecourse, currently has just one train per hour to the coast and capital, with the station only being used 67,000 times last year.

Last week, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid released government funds to support SDC in formalising plans for Otterpool would blight the landscape of the surrounding villages, which also include Lympne, Stanford and Sellindge.

A council spokesman said: “As part of the plans for Otterpool Park Garden Town we have been talking to Network Rail and lobbying hard so that changes are made to  Westenhanger Station so that high-speed trains stop at the station.”

Rail works would be needed to transform the railway station in order for it to be suitable for the fast Javelin trains operated by Southeastern.

Developers are currently in midst of carrying out public consultations for Otterpool Park
before a formal planning application for the garden town is submitted to the council.

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