10,000 signatures reached: Government will respond to rail services cuts in our rural communities - Emily Fermor response
A petition posted by local residents on the Parliament website has received 11,576 signatures, more than the 10,000 required for the Government to respond.
The petition rejects any reduction in rail services between Tonbridge and Ashford in Kent. This includes stations: Pluckley, Headcorn, Staplehurst, Marden and Paddock Wood.
The petition deadline was brought forward by almost one month, after Theresa May called a snap general election and Parliament was dissolved on 3rd May.
Local residents shared the petition with friends and family, and on residents and community Facebook groups. On the final day, Tuesday 2nd May, it received over 5,000 signatures.
Emily Fermor, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Maidstone and the Weald, which includes Staplehurst and Marden stations, said:
“This has been a real team effort. Residents in Staplehurst, Marden, Yalding, Hunton, Coxheath and East and West Farleigh, have pulled together to publicise the petition and send a clear message to the Government: these cuts to our rural services cannot go ahead.
“Many local people and businesses rely on these services for their livelihoods. What’s more, with more houses being built in Staplehurst and Marden, there will be more of a need for a good rail service - at this time, it should be increased, not reduced!
“I’d now like to ask everyone affected to respond to the Government consultation, which ends on 23rd May.
“It is important we reject any attempt to cut services to our rural communities. Having been brought up in these villages, I know how beautiful they are, and it is important for families, and for the elderly and disabled, and those who rely on transport for work, that they continue to be vibrant communities with good and reliable transport links.”
Whilst the petition has now ended, the consultation on the future of South Eastern rail services is open until 23rd May: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/future-of-south-eastern-rail-services