Friday, January 20, 2023

Labor candidate Mike Tapp claims Dover’s Leveling Up funding is ‘filling holes’

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Mike Tapp says he’s furious: “I welcome the funding and when I saw it I was really excited and then I saw what £45million of that is being spent on.

“What we are looking at are new entrance cabins in the port and the redesign of some of the road infrastructure.

“Now in 2020 there has been a £33million bid for new entry points which has been rejected by the Cabinet Office and they should pay for this type of infrastructure.

“When it comes to roads, coverage is the responsibility of the county council.

“So unfortunately what we’re seeing here isn’t a ‘level’, we’re just seeing money being spent where the government should be spending it anyway.”

The £45m will be spent on additional border checkpoints and a new exit route at the Port of Dover.

It is one of five projects in Kent that will be awarded a combined £123m share of the £2.1bn fund.

Another project in the county is the Dover Beacon project, which aims to convert a brownfield site in the city centre.

Conservative-led Kent County Council leader Roger Gough said the improvements would not only have a positive impact on Dover and the surrounding area, but also on Kent and its economy as a whole.

Speaking on Thursday when Labor disputes in France impacted cross-channel servicessaid Mr Gough: “The success of the Dover Access Improvements tender is excellent news for Dover itself, for East Kent and for the county and a real attempt to deal with the disruptions and difficulties we all know only too well, if problems arise at the border.

“It is very concerned with issues in and around the Port of Dover to try and improve traffic flow with more logically placed security checks, a buffer zone so you can get a lot more queue traffic off the roads, a doubling of border checkpoints and a new one exit route.

“However, there are wider implications for Kent and the economy of Kent and the ability of our residents to go about their daily lives without being disrupted by these tremendous growls that we get when Operation Brock has to be called out.

“Because of that I can’t promise it will never happen again and nothing is a silver bullet for this problem but this can be seen as a big step forward.

“With the new border regulations for the European Union, the so-called Entry-Exit-System or EES, which may be introduced later this year, it is doubly important that we focus on this issue.”

Port of Dover CEO Doug Bannister said: “This is a great day for the port and for Dover.

“I am incredibly grateful to Kent County Council for their invaluable support in this regard and to Natalie Elphicke for championing our cause in securing such significant funds to implement our important Outbound Controls project.

“This will be a transformational project delivering the next development of Britain’s busiest ferry terminal with a reconfigured layout and improved border checkpoints to ensure traffic flow and capacity over the long term.

“Today is a celebration of many things. It is an acknowledgment of the port’s vital economic role in supporting leveling across the country.

“It is also a demonstration by the Government of their commitment to our future success and that of Dover and Kent more broadly.

“As such, I also offer heartfelt congratulations to our partners at Dover County Council on their successful bid for funding.

“Taken together, such investments in the people, city and port of Dover mark a bright new chapter for all of us.”

Dover MP Natalie Elphicke said: “Serious delays at the port are having a huge impact on residents and businesses in our community.

“This important investment will help keep Dover clean and port traffic run smoother. It will make a huge difference for us locally.”

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