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10th September 2015 - Press Release

Port "bowled over" by community backing for Western Docks Revival



Civic leaders have thrown their weight behind the Dover Western Docks Revival project after port chiefs revealed they'd been "taken aback" by objectors.

Following widespread initial support, the Port of Dover had committed a massive £120 million to the scheme in order to create a new cargo and distribution facility, as well as a fantastic community leisure space.

The project will attract investment into the town, provide quality employment opportunities for local people, and transform the waterfront with a new marina, piazza and more public access, says the port.

But at a meeting of Dover’s Port and Community Forum on Tuesday, chief executive Tim Waggott told members his team hadn’t expected the amount of negativity surrounding the start of the construction phase.

His candid admission prompted a spontaneous surge of support from community leaders.

County and town councillor Gordon Cowan said: “I stand 100 per cent side by side with you. This project is vital for Dover. This is what we’ve been waiting for, for decades. It will bring the economy alive. It will bring regeneration to our community.”

Mick Tedder, an independent elected representative on the forum, said:  “You have to ask those who are against this ‘What’s the alternative?’ The alternative is to do nothing.”

The district council’s Tim Ingleton said he believes that, combined with the St James’s Development, the Western Docks Revival would help Dover rival Southampton and Portsmouth.

And district council leader Paul Watkins stressed the objections did not relate to the project – which already has Government and planning approval - but to “technicalities of listed building consent” surrounding the port’s proposals to remove and restore historical fittings on Prince of Wales Pier.

After the meeting, Mr Waggott said: “In recent weeks it’s felt like we’ve been kicked in the teeth.

“The objections we had seriously took us aback. It’s as though a vocal minority genuinely wants us to do nothing with this largely derelict site rather than create something that will benefit Dover for generations to come.

“The response from the Port and Community Forum, however, has been incredible and we really appreciate it.  I certainly didn’t expect a round of applause!

“As far as the Port of Dover is concerned, it’s now full steam ahead with this crucial piece of dock redevelopment.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

The Port and Community Forum includes a broad representative cross-section of the local community, including councils, residents associations, heritage groups and local business.

Issued by Corporate Affairs on 01304 240400 (ext. 4410 from 8.30 – 17.00)

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