Dover’s Port is the gateway to Britain and must remain forever England. Labour put our port up for sale. Charlie successfully campaigned to stop the sell-off. Now a People’s Port is rising at the docks. The community will have a real say in the Port’s running. The Port is the key to making Dover a Jewel in the Crown of the nation once again.
Charlie’s Key Election Pledge – Keep Dover Forever England
On 7th December 2009, Gordon Brown’s failing Labour Government announced plans to sell off the Port of Dover. All that was needed was the flick of a Minister’s pen to approve the sell-off, and hundreds of years of history would have gone.
Charlie had long opposed any plan to sell off our port to the French or anyone else. Charlie’s opposition to the sale of the port was a key election pledge in the General Election of 2010. For the people of Dover & Deal, as well as the nation, the port is a national asset and should remain so.
Charlie tables the People’s Port Proposal
After being elected Charlie tabled a plan for Dover to become a People’s Port in June 2010. A port owned by the community through a community trust, forever England and never again subject to the threat of privatisation. If the Government sold it, the people of Dover would buy it.
Charlie set out the plan in a detailed proposal to the Transport Secretary.
Charlie then launched the Dover People’s Port Trust which tabled a funded offer for the port. The offer was launched on Dover seafront on 30th October 2010. The People’s Port Trust offer was delivered to No 10 Downing Street on 1st November 2010. The trust is a charity with its own existence and identity, along with well over 1,000 members. If the Government sold it, the people of Dover would buy it. A referendum was held, with 98% of Dover residents voting for the sell-off to be stopped.
Port sell off rejected – Charlie fulfils election pledge
On 20th December 2012, the Government rejected Gordon Brown’s port sell off plan. Three years of campaigning by Charlie and our community paid off. This marked the fulfilment of Charlie’s key election pledge to save our Port.
This was only the first step. Charlie wanted to see more reform for the Port to benefit the town, get a closer relationship between Port and town and secure more investment.
Already the Port’s rules have now been changed to allow the Port to raise the investment it needs. There is an exciting vision for the Western Docks Revival.
The first two community directors are in the process of being appointed to the Dover Harbour Board. They will help to ensure that the Dover community has a real say in the running of the Port.
There is also now a community benefit fund to benefit the town. The fund was launched in October 2014 with £250,000. Charlie wants the fund to be increased and under the control of our community rather than the establishment. Yet, it’s good the principle has been secured for the Port to benefit the town.
A People’s Port is rising at the Docks. Charlie’s vision is for a Western Docks revival and a town centre development that should properly connect the town and Port, currently separated by the A20. Dover should be a destination for visitors to come to, not pass through. Investment and reform at the Port will help make it a Jewel in the Crown of England once again.