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Dover District Council will not hold a meeting following e-petition on Dover Town Investment Zone

28 January 2014
by Victoria Chessum

More than 450 signatures have been placed on a petition asking why work has not yet started on a major town centre redevelopment.

The St James’ redevelopment is one of the long standing projects that has been questioned by Dover Town Investment Zone.

Launched on Tuesday last week, the petition is accessible via Dover District Council’s (DDC) website.

District council leader Cllr Paul Watkins in the St James' Street area in Dover, which is to be redeveloped

District council leader Cllr Paul Watkins in the St James' Street area in Dover, which is to be redeveloped

It reads: “The St James development has no sign of material progress after many years of effort.

“Occasional press releases suggest progress is being made but this is yet to materialise into development work becoming visible.

“The public are entitled to understand what has happened in significant detail. Effort on this project is evident, but outcomes are not.”

Curious residents are pushing for 1,600 signatures, which if achieved, will incline the council to hold a public meeting, giving residents the answers they are seeking.

So far, 452 signatures have pushed the campaign on its way to appealing for answers.

However, when the Mercury asked if this would be the case, the council stated that a meeting would not be on the agenda.

A DDC spokesman said: “Major progress has been made on the St James’s development, with key planning decisions in place, Cineworld’s agreement to operate a six screen cinema, and Marks and Spencer signing up as an anchor tenant with a M&S Simply Food store.

“We are at a crucial stage with the preparation of the compulsory purchase order that will be considered over the next couple of months.

“We are working hard to enable regeneration for the future, and we understand that people want to see this development happening, however a public meeting could be counterproductive at this time.

“There are currently many projects coming to fruition that will benefit the district, and a public meeting could detract from progress being made.

“There are processes for the review of projects through DDC’s Scrutiny channels, in which the public can participate at the appropriate time, and people are encouraged to make use of this function.

“We do have set procedures for the acceptance of petitions, and any petition that is received is of course treated in accordance with the agreed DDC Petitions Scheme.”

To access the e-petition, visit: moderngov.dover.gov.uk/mgEPetitionDisplay.

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