Two large border facilities are expected to be built in Dover to handle post-Brexit border controls, it was confirmed today (July 5).
Dover and Deal MP Natalie Elphicke, Kent County Council Chief Cllr Roger Gough and Dover District Council Chief Cllr Trevor Bartlett all hailed the news as a “double win for related investments at the port at the local level “.
Plans include a new customs facility in Whitfield on 27 acres of fields across from the existing B&Q store.
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A second large site will be needed to carry out port health checks on food and animal products.
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MyDover understands that a specific location has not yet been agreed but commercial discussions are ongoing.
Together, the investment in the two sites is expected to total around Â£ 80million.
Welcoming the news, MP Natalie Elphicke said: âToday we see millions of pounds of investment being made in our region.
“This is a real Brexit boost for our community and a strong vote of confidence from the government in the Dover region. Hundreds of local jobs will be supported in HMRC, health operations and surrounding port companies.
âIt has been a relentless campaign to secure the investments and jobs we need to ensure Dover remains the UK’s premier port.
âI am delighted that we have succeeded. This investment will not come at the expense of our community. I am pleased that the concerns raised by local residents were listened to by ministers and factored into the design and delivery of the White Cliff Border Facility.
âTogether with the local councilors, I have worked hard to ensure that the voices of residents are heard and taken into account.
âThe investment we see today will help our community make the most of cross-border travel and commerce opportunities in the years to come. “
MyDover recently reported how the Whitfield facility’s opening date, originally slated for July this year, has been pushed back to 2022.
The district council and some local residents have raised concerns about the proposals, which do not require building permits.
Instead, it can be granted under emergency Brexit legislation that allows ministers to grant ‘special development orders’.
Some members of the Dover District Council also objected to the location off the A2 rather than the A20.
The road is single-lane in the direction of the harbor and already suffers from traffic jams at the Whitfield roundabout.
In Ashford, where a new border facility has been built in Sevington, some have compared the scale lighting at Wembley Stadium, with people living miles away saying they can see them.
The council said it could only support the proposals if serious mitigation measures were put in place.
Today, District Council Chief Trevor Bartlett praised the site “smaller and less intrusive.”
However, the plans have still not been made public.
Cllr Bartlett said: âThis is fantastic news and a welcome new investment for our region.
âMy colleagues Cllr Martin Bates and Cllr Oliver Richardson determined that the concerns of local residents were taken into account in the design of the HMRC White Cliffs border facility.
âI am very happy that the government has listened to these concerns and made the facility smaller and less intrusive, while ensuring that the necessary jobs and investments arrive in our community.
“Work on the new access road is expected to begin shortly at the White Cliffs site, with more news and plans to follow in the coming weeks.”
Kent County Council Chief Cllr Roger Gough said: â’This is great news for Kent. Today we are seeing record investment in Dover and Ashford, enabling the county to succeed in jobs and infrastructure across Channel ports, while ensuring there is a resilient border network. and strong for our county.
âAt MP, County Council and District Councils, we have worked hand in hand to deliver a smart, resilient solution, and millions of pounds of investment in our region. “