A Brexit customs site which would have eased pressure on the Port of Dover and created 400 jobs has been axed a month after building work started.
The facility, proposed for White Cliffs Business Park in Whifield off the A2, would also have brought in £80 million investment for the area.
But HM Revenue & Customs has today announced it won't be built after a review showed existing facilities have enough capacity to deal with the flow of traffic.
A spokesman said: “IBFs were introduced to deal with border control checks post-Brexit, and were constantly under review to make sure they provided value for money.
“A new proposed site at Dover was part of this review, and after looking into the amount of cross channel traffic and the necessary associated checks, a decision has been made not to progress with the site.
“The review showed that the existing facilities have enough capacity to deal with the flow of traffic and therefore a new site was not necessary.
“This decision will see a saving of around £120 million – the anticipated cost of developing and running Dover IBF for the intended duration – and allow the funds to be utilised elsewhere.”
However, the statement from HMRC stressed that the decision not to build the facility does not mean the asset is no longer required by government.
Construction work to build the new border facility began in April, with Dover MP Natalie Elphicke taking part in a ground-breaking ceremony that month.
The government first identified the site between the B&Q and the Dover District Leisure Centre in October 2020 for port health as well as border control checks.
Following consultation with the community, the government decided on two locations within the White Cliffs Business Park, the other for a port health centre at Bastion Point.
To date, in excess of £100 million has been committed to the border control programme, which is expected to create a total 650 jobs through the two centres.
MP Natalie Elphicke, Dover District Council leader Cllr Trevor Bartlett, and Kent County Council leader Roger Gough pressed the government to bring in the facilities.
Mrs Elphicke, Dover constituency MP, attended the ground breaking ceremony.
She said at the time: “It’s been a hard-fought campaign to secure more than £100 million of investment and hundreds of local jobs at the border facilities for Dover.
"After such an extensive consultation and planning process, at over 18 months, it is good news to have got a spade in the ground at the new HMRC facility.
“At the ground-breaking I met local people who were already working on site.
"I learned that the vast majority of workers and materials being supplied to the site are based in Kent.
"That is good news for the Kent economy and a shot in the arm for our Dover economy too."
In October 2020, exactly 12 months after the site was first announced, plans were unveiled to reduce the impact on residents in nearby Guston and to allow for heritage and environmental concerns.
The customs clearance site was meant to have 1,200 lorry bays but this was reduced to 96 after locals' concerns.
Mrs Elphicke said: "This new facility is now right-sized for our community, and a welcome boost to our economy too.”
Since the UK left the European Union, on January 31, 2020, more customs and transit checks are needed for ports like Dover.
Bastion Point, which is still going ahead, will be used by Dover Port Health Authority for food, plant and animal goods inspections, ensuring items coming into the country meet stringent UK requirements.
Alongside Dover, the Birmingham and North Weald IBF sites will also close ahead of schedule. They were introduced on a temporary basis to support customs checks when the UK first left the EU.
Now the sites in Holyhead, Wales and Sevington, near Ashford are fully operational and coping well with demand, HMRC says it no longer needs the support of the interim sites.