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Shabby welcome to Dover sign will be removed following complaints that it's an embarrassment

By Beth Robson

A welcome sign, which is ironically unwelcoming, will be removed.

Dover District Council is embarking on the clearance at the tatty site known as The Crypt after it hit the headlines for being an embarrassing eyesore.

The authority says it has brought together the various land and property owners to agree a plan to clear the unsightly hoardings and overgrown vegetation from properties on the corner of York Street and Townwall Street in Dover within the next four weeks.

The Welcome to Dover sign. Picture: Graham Hutchinson
The Welcome to Dover sign. Picture: Graham Hutchinson

Shabbily nestled between the acclaimed Banksy mural and the £53 million St James retail and leisure park, it is overlooked by the splendid Dover Castle and across the road from the developing world class port and cruise terminal.

But the neglected sign, originally designed by students at the former South Kent College, makes the town appear a laughing stock to visitors and ferry port travellers according to MP Charlie Elphicke.

A council statement, released today said: "The programme of works will commence with vegetation clearance to enable the removal of the Welcome to Dover hoarding, and a comprehensive clear up of the site of The Crypt on Bench Street.

"New hoardings will be erected on the corner of Bench Street, Townwall Street, York Street and Chapel Lane."

The front page of the East Kent Mercury on June 20
The front page of the East Kent Mercury on June 20

Cllr Keith Morris, leader of Dover District Council, said: “We understand local frustration with this site, which is now in stark contrast to the new St James development.

“It’s a complex site, with land and buildings in multiple ownerships.

"Alongside this, The Crypt is also Grade II listed.

"I am pleased that we have reached agreement with the various interests to clear this area.

“We continue to work towards our ultimate goal, which is to see this whole area redeveloped and contribute to the regeneration of the town centre as part of the Waterfront Masterplan."

Charlie Elphicke and Graham Hutchison. Picture: The office of Charlie Elphicke MP
Charlie Elphicke and Graham Hutchison. Picture: The office of Charlie Elphicke MP

Dover and Deal MP Charlie Elphicke said: “This is fantastic news. Dover District Council deserve huge credit for listening to the community's concerns and taking action.

“The Welcome to Dover sign has become an embarrassment to the town.

"This horrible hoarding simply has to go.

“Meanwhile, the former Crypt site has been left to ruin for decades – so the council’s promised comprehensive clean-up will be welcomed by the community and local businesses.

“This is yet another significant step towards making Dover town centre the best it can be.”

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