›  Blogs  ›  The Doverforum Blog
Gillian Smissen
The Doverforum Blog

The Front Page. - Copy 190 ( Charlie Elphicke, Paul Watkins, DHB, plus Deal HST. plus Seafront Pic.

LATEST: Just in from Charlie Elphicke MP, on recent Port Developments.

Charlie Elphicke, MP for Dover and Deal, has just sent us in this following statement:

"The change in policy has been hard won from a seemingly hopeless position in May 2010. Progress is being made. People need to be prepared for things to continue to take time. I am optimistic we will get there in the end."

"It would all go much faster if the harbour board embraced the People's Port. Sadly, given the bravado of their statements, that obvious step still seems unlikely. So we need to be prepared for the longer haul. I will continue to press our case at all levels."

The Paul Watkins statement on the.....

Dover District Council is welcoming the Secretary of State for Transport’s decision on the criteria for the sale of major trust ports, which was announced yesterday(see more below). The announcement follows the launch of a consultation in May, which DDC responded to raising a number of issues.

Cllr Paul Watkins, Leader of Dover District Council, said: “We welcome this decision, and are pleased to see that the Secretary of State has recognised many of the issues we have raised consistently, both in our earlier representations in response to the proposed sale of the Port of Dover, and directly in our response to this consultation.”

The criteria include a number of essential requirements including community participation, future investment in and development of the port, fair price, and fair competition. There are also highly desirable criteria around matters relating to transport networks and the sale process, with desirable criteria relating to employee involvement.

The Secretary of State has given Dover Harbour Board an opportunity to consider their proposal in the light of the revised criteria and submit additional material if they choose to do so. If this happens, there will be a further opportunity for consultation and representations to be made on the basis of the new criteria.

Cllr Paul Watkins said:
“We are pleased to see this recognition of the importance of community participation, including people’s ability to influence the port’s development. We are also heartened to see that there is a recognised need to ensure that strategic transport networks are protected. We will continue to work with our partners, and we look forward to continuing to move forwards for the future of district. It is essential that, given the position with Pfizer, a timely decision is reached at the earliest opportunity in this matter.”


Changing Government Policy: Transport Minister Theresa Villiers appeared to move the goalposts wednesday(Aug3) re the Port Sale by introducing new criteria. Part of this criteria is that "the government want to see an enduring level of community participation". She has asked DHB to respond within four weeks asking if they can meet this new criteria. Here immediately below is the latest statement on the changing situation direct from DHB..

Port of Dover welcomes sale guidelines from Government

Statement Aug3: The Port of Dover has welcomed the revised criteria for the sale of trust ports announced by the Government today. The Board of the Port believes that the Government’s criteria reflect the Port’s ambition to combine community participation in the port with the ability to access private capital so that the port can fund its long-term development. The Board is confident that its innovative and ground-breaking privatisation scheme, which it proposed in 2010, will be seen to meet the Government’s criteria in all respects. The Port authority also sees the revised criteria as a clear reflection of Government’s desire for similar community-focused schemes to be brought forward by other trust ports.

Responding to the announcement, Port of Dover Chairman Roger Mountford said: “The Government has recognised that benefits from privatisation should flow both to local communities and to the national economy. Our scheme will deliver community participation, investment and regeneration, and the ability to develop and expand port infrastructure, while maintaining the resilience of fundamental parts of our national infrastructure.”

With an emphasis on enduring community participation, which has remained an integral part of the Port’s scheme through its Port of Dover Community Trust proposal, the Port considers the criteria to provide the missing piece of the jigsaw which now fully aligns Dover’s vision for the future and Government policy on trust ports.

Bob Goldfield, Chief Executive of the Port of Dover added: “The Government is giving a clear message that privatisation is a way of enabling national assets to enhance the resilience and efficiency of the UK’s transport network while at the same time providing a positive, lasting and fundamental change to the way such ports can contribute to and support their communities.”

The Port now hopes that this confirmation will provide the green light for Government to approve its privatisation scheme and for the community to start enjoying the benefits.

The Port has been invited to indicate formally whether its proposal should be considered against the revised criteria and will respond to the Department for Transport in due course. Ends.

Picture of Port above by Paul 'Scotchie' Wells.



New High Speed Services...
To Deal And Sandwich.

LONDON, 2 August 2011: Southeastern today confirmed that high speed services will start to operate from Deal and Sandwich – thanks to the support of Kent County Council – from the 5 September, one month earlier than planned. Also announced today are additional high speed services at weekends from Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 September, in time for the opening of Westfield Stratford City.

Transport Minister Norman Baker said, “Domestic high speed trains have already had a positive impact by introducing passengers from Kent fast and convenient access to central London – it is good news that Kent County Council and Southeastern have reached an agreement so that these services can be extended.”

Sandwich and Deal services

The new services from Deal and Sandwich are being funded by Kent County Council to boost business confidence and support new employment opportunities in East Kent at the same time as Pfizer withdraws from the area. They follow the successful use of high speed services during the recent Open Golf Championship at Sandwich, when 37,000 spectators travelled by train.

There will be three services in the morning departing Sandwich at 05:50, 06:18 and 06:50, calling at Deal six minutes later. In the evening there will be two services to Deal and Sandwich leaving St Pancras International at 17:40 and 18:40. The new services will operate Monday to Friday and will take approximately 90 minutes. Existing Mainline services to Deal and Sandwich take approximately 135 minutes.

Vince Lucas, service delivery director said, “These new services will be a real benefit for the local economy and encourage people and business to look at the opportunities in East Kent. We have worked closely with Kent County Council, Department for Transport and Network Rail and Kent MPs to get these services introduced as quickly as possible. It is testament to everyone’s commitment to the area that we have managed to introduce these earlier than planned.”


Paul Carter, pic left, Leader of Kent County Council and Chairman of the Sandwich Economic Development Task Force, said, ‪“The new high speed rail services will act as a catalyst for employment opportunities and international investment in East Kent as Pfizer withdraws from the area and we promote the site's world-class facilities.‪

“The launch of these services was a specific recommendation of the first report to Ministers by the Sandwich Economic Development Task Force. We knew it was vital to put East Kent on the high speed map because the big question asked by potential investors in the Pfizer site is, ‘What’s the connectivity like?’ By slashing the journey time to London to approximately 90 minutes, the site is now as close to the capital as Cambridge and Oxford.” ‪

Charlie Elphicke, pic right, MP for Dover and Deal said, ““This marks the fulfilment of a key pledge to Deal. The service is vital to boosting the local economy. I am delighted that Southeastern has agreed to provide this service and KCC has been able to fund it. We need more jobs and money in Deal and the fast train stopping at Deal is a key part of that.”

Laura Sandys, MP for South Thanet said,
“The new high speed service is a victory for the residents of Sandwich, Deal and the Stour Villages. The new service will slice off an incredible 45 minutes from the average journey time into the capital which will open up a whole host of new opportunities for East Kent. Businesses considering setting up in the region – particularly on the Pfizer site – will realise that East Kent is not only a superb place for their employees to live, it is accessible and within easy commuting distance from London. We are no longer left at the end of the line!”

Weekend services

Additional early morning services at the weekend have also been announced today, to help passengers get to the new Westfield Stratford City, due to open on 13 September. From Saturday 10 September there will be additional services departing from Faversham (06:58), Margate (06:53) and Dover Priory (07:44) as well as services from St Pancras International to Faversham (06:55), Margate (07:42) and Dover Priory (08:12). All these services will call at Stratford International. Also starting on Sunday 11 September will be an additional service departing Ashford International at 07:43.

Vince Lucas continued,
“These new services reflect feedback from passengers and stakeholders who wish to get into London early on weekends. On Saturdays there was a gap in the service, which was required for track inspections which are no longer carried out at this time, so we have taken the opportunity to run another service. On Sundays it was not possible to get into St Pancras International much before 9am so this new service will help ensure those early risers can get in before 8.30!”

For further information about all these new services please visit
Re Picture of HSTrain: This was the very first HS train out of Dover..time was early morning something like 6am as I remember, train packed with local bigwigs all along for the inaugural ride, pic taken by yours truly Paul Boland.

* *

Dover Enjoying the Hot Hot Weather!

Aug 3: We are basking..for the moment, in blistering temperatures. The picture above shows one way to cool down. This motor boat powered past at a very very fast speed in the sweltering heat. Whether it was safe to do such speed close to shore I dont know but it made for an exciting picture. PB.


You must have an account to add a comment - log in or register an account now.

There are no comments