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People's Port at Port of Dover set to introduce new plans

By Mercury reporter

The people of Dover will be at the heart of decision making for the port under new plans announced by the Ports Minister today.

Stephen Hammond, the shipping and ports minister, visited Dover to reveal a new plan which will see the community working together with the port aiming to benefit the people who use it, the port itself and the town of Dover.

High levels of traffic are expected to pass through the Port of Dover due to closure of the Channel Tunnel

This announcement comes after years of campaigning since it was revealed that the Port of Dover could be privatised and sold to overseas companies.

Mr Hammond said this latest move would ensure it will not be privatised and the community can help to regenerate the Port of Dover.

He added: “These measures will place the community at the heart of the decision making at the port.

“I believe these steps are what is needed to secure a shared and enduring future for the port. I now urge the town and the port to work together to deliver its full potential.”

Dover and Deal MP Charlie Elphicke

It will also give Dover Harbour Board greater financial powers, to provide it with flexibility by allowing it to enter joint ventures and borrow against its assets.

These changes will allow the board to raise substantial funds to invest in the future.

Mr Elphicke said: “I think what people wanted was no sell-off but they wanted to see the port improved, they wanted to have a voice in the board room and wanted to see the port benefit the community. They got all these things today.

“I’m holding a public meeting on May 2, in Dover Town Hall and I urge people to have their say as we start to nail down the detail.

“These measures will place the community at the heart of the decision making at the port" - Stephen Hammond

“I want the community to be fully involved.”

George Jenkins, chairman of Dover Harbour Board, said: “I think it’s a really exciting prospect that we’ve been offered today.

“We have really tried to engage with the community in a number of ways. We absolutely recognise that this is a major international gateway to England that sits in the middle of the town.”

Discussions will now take place to decide how the community board will be put together.

The hope is that this investment will help to deliver real benefits to the port, its customers and the local community.

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