The hosting of the Open Golf Championship is forecast to bring £100 million in trade and spend to East Kent in 2020, and with it up to 200,000 spectators and the world's media to this truly global event.
Royal St George's Golf Club in Sandwich Bay last hosted The Open in 2011, but not without transport and logistical problems. Much centred around the 6 carriage (realistically 8) capacity at Sandwich station, with the 12 carriage HS1 Javelin trains needing to unload the front 6 carriages, then moving forwards to unload the rear 6 carriages. This caused major blockages and frustrations in the primary New Street/Dover Street/Deal Road.
Whilst the technicalities and financing of building a temporary station extension have largely been overcome and a new walking route secured from the station, in order to guarantee that The Open at Sandwich will become a regular feature of the circuit, a permanent solution needs to be found.
I had been in correspondence with the Rail Minister, and the Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt. Hon Chis Grayling to highlight the relatively small additional cost to provide a permanent station extension in comparison with the costs of a temporary one. I was therefore delighted to welcome the Transport Secretary to Sandwich this afternoon so that he could see the issue for himself. We were joined by the Mayor of Sandwich, Cllr Paul Graeme and Sandwich Councillor Michael Hollowato
We first visited the station, and then moved on to Royal St George'sfor a round table discussion with Club officials.
The Transport Secretary said "We have got to resolve this in time for the Open in 2020. Craig and I will work together to find a solution after the election."