Today, the Department for Transport’s formal consultation period on its proposals for an Inland Border Facility on a site adjacent to the White Cliffs Business Park comes to an end.
I am grateful to the Minister for her and her Department’s extensive engagement with residents and local representatives, including myself, since October 2020; for her agreeing to my request to extend the formal consultation period; and her assurance that Departmental engagement will continue with me, residents, the council and the local community over the coming months.
The Government’s proposal to invest in a dedicated border facility at the White Cliffs Business Park would unlock and support much needed jobs and work in both the construction and operation of the site over the next 5 years. This represents a multi-million pound investment by Government in the Dover area.
I have been clear throughout the process of the importance of community engagement, traffic management and sensitive design of the site. I have asked the Department to put in place a formal engagement mechanism for continuing regular engagement with our local community and that the site design takes account of a range of matters including environmental; archaeology and heritage; traffic flow and access; buffer zones and landscaping near residents’ homes; light and noise.
More work is required in the coming months to continue to explore every opportunity to improve the effectiveness of the strategic road planning right across the area. In relation to this specific development, this should include upgrades to the Duke of York and Whitfield roundabouts, as well as continued progress on the upgrading of the A2, and connectivity and resilience along the A256 and A258. I have also asked for continued attention on traffic mitigation for residents at East Cliff and Aycliffe.
I welcome the proposed investment and opportunities for jobs and work for our area and I have asked the Department for active consideration throughout the programme as to how local firms may bid for work contracts relating to the site, and how additional apprenticeship or other training and employment opportunities can be supported for our local community.