By Phil Davies
A plan to revive the Western Docks at the port of Dover is being put forward to create more than 600 jobs and safeguard a further 140.
It would enable the port to ensure that it has the essential infrastructure in place for future years with the additional opportunity to increase ferry berth capacity in the Eastern Docks through the transfer of cargo operations to the west.
The scheme would protect long-term port capacity and enable the transformation of the waterfront with the potential creation of a new marina in what is being described as acting as a “catalyst” for the regeneration of Dover.
But commitment to major investment will need to be supported and enhanced by increasing the port’s ability to fund such a “massive transformation”.
Dover Harbour Board said it had reviewed a masterplan for the docks over several months and identified a “significant opportunity” to support its customers and the community and provide “the game changer” for which the people of Dover have been waiting for so long.
The Harbour Board’s vision is described as an evolution of previous proposals and “represents a possible way of achieving key benefits of the plan based upon current market conditions and opportunities within the cargo business”.
The Harbour Board said: “Having successfully achieved government approval in 2012 to develop the Western Docks, the Board wishes to seize the opportunity to lock in the many benefits that this could bring just as soon as it possibly can.”
Dover District Council leader Paul Watkins said: “Delivering major port development that protects long term port capacity but delivers jobs and opportunities now whilst creating a catalyst for major regeneration will be a significant boost to the region and shows real commitment to Dover.”
Dover Harbour Board chairman George Jenkins said: “Transforming this part of the port estate can in turn support the wider transformation agenda, one which sees the port and town working together, which the Port of Dover is also championing through its Dover waterfront regeneration project with Dover District Council.
“The people of Dover have waited long enough for Dover’s revival. That revival could start right now, breathing new life into our port and into our community.”