Last week we received some stunning news for Dover town and our community. Two bids for Dover were put forward for the Government’s levelling up funding competition. The fantastic news is that both bids have been successful. The £63.1 million of extra funding secures a huge brownfield regeneration project in Dover town. It also supports improvements to local traffic resilience towards our programme of work to Keep Dover Clear when there is disruption on the Channel.
The Dover Beacon project will redevelop the Bench Street area of Dover by creating a new campus offering training opportunities in creative and digital industries, creating more jobs, more skills and homes. This project for a new Creative Quarter has been led by the Council Leader Cllr Trevor Bartlett and I was pleased to support it including meeting with the Levelling Up Minister and raising the Beacon project in Parliament. The Dover Beacon project is centred on the eyesore of buildings around Bench Street which can make our town look run down and neglected. This eyesore detracts from the multi-million pounds of investment in Dover town and on the seafront, including the Port’s Western Docks revival project with its attractive new marina curve.
Dover Beacon, the new Creative Quarter, is the third, and the largest, Government investment in Dover’s town centre. It complements a £3.2 million Future High Streets Government funding award which will better connect the high street from the Market Square, past the Creative Quarter at Bench Street and through to the seafront. A £2.44 million Government funded development to Market Square has delivered new seating, lighting and an attractive water feature. From more jobs and money to supporting better outside and amenity space, the funding that the Government has committed now tops £68.75 million.
I continue to work hard on the campaign to Keep Dover Clear. The £45 million Dover Access bid has been awarded to improve the flow of traffic at the Port of Dover and help to reduce congestion on our local roads. This will benefit Kent as a whole and that’s why I backed Kent County Council putting forward this second successful bid.
The work to Keep Dover Clear and improve the resilience of our local roads network is ongoing. In addition to this latest investment, I continue to press for improvements on upgrading the A2, improvements at the Whitfield roundabout and reducing the use of the Dover TAP system that takes such a toll on the community of Aycliffe when lorries are queued overnight next to their homes.
This week’s news is a real shot in the arm for Dover and our community as a whole. It is a vote of confidence in the leadership of Dover District Council, Kent County Council and the Port of Dover. By working together, we are really delivering for our local community.