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Tourism operator threatened with legal action

Capt Richard Mahoney at the Grand Shaft
Capt Richard Mahoney at the Grand Shaft

by Graham Tutthill gtutthill@thekmgroup.co.uk

Tour promoter Richard Mahoney says he has been threatened with prosecution, and even prison, for work he has carried out to one of Dover’s historic attractions prior to opening it to visitors

Mr Mahoney, who operates the White Cliffs tours of the town and harbour, offered to take over the running of the Grand Shaft in Snargate Street and open it to the public throughout the summer. He plans to open it next month.

Youngsters from the LSBC job training and enterprise organisation based in Dover have been helping clean up the triple staircase and its entrance areas.

“The young people have been working on the main three staircases, sweeping and cleaning all the walls, steps and ceilings,” said Mr Mahoney. “Much of the wall covering needed replacing.”

Mr Mahoney is paying for much of the work himself, but hopes to secure grants for the work and for staffing from local authorities.

“We have been clearing all the weeds from the top grounds, and limewashing the walls.

“Limewash paint was used on the tunnel walls and black smooth metal paint was used on the iron gates and hinges.

“Two very skilled artists have painted 19th century soldier figures on a wall.

“I constructed the new 1806 sign and fitted it on the wall over the entrance. All the work has been done professionally.”

But now Mr Mahoney says he has been accused of defacing the property and could face legal action.

“I have been told I could be sent to prison for what I have done,” he said.

A Dover District Council spokesman said Mr Mahoney had been given permission to tidy the site, but other work had been carried out without consent.

"As this is a listed building, the council is discussing with English Heritage what action should be taken." said the spokesman.

Full story and photo in this week's Dover Mercury.

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