Exciting multi million pound proposals for Dover are being taken forward following major news from the Government confirming a £3.8m Sea Change grant - and partnership agencies are welcoming this major boost for the future.
Plans include an appraisal of a cable car from the Western Docks to Dover Castle; landscaping and artworks on the Esplanade in Dover; improvements around the historic castle, including updating the secret wartime tunnels, to allow new presentations of its history and heritage; and the refurbishment of the Bleriot Monument, which commemorates the first cross channel flight, which is due to be completed by July 2009.
The grant has been made as part of the Government's Sea Change funding programme, which aims to support economic regeneration in coastal areas through investment in culture and heritage. Dover is one of three towns to benefit from over £10m in the first wave of Sea Change grants. The funding has been secured following a successful KCC-led bid. The County Council will also act as the accountable body for the distribution of the money.
Dover District Council, Kent County Council, the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA), English Heritage and the Dover Harbour Board, all part of the Dover Pride Partnership, are developing major proposals. The proposals would ensure Dover's cultural assets play a central part in the regeneration of the town, and provide better access and connectivity for visitors and residents.
Margaret Hodge, Culture and Tourism Minister said: "I'm delighted these fantastic plans for Blackpool, Torbay and Dover are now going ahead. Not only will they encourage new visitors to the area, but they will also help support and enrich the community."
Cllr Paul Watkins, Leader of Dover District Council said: "These are formative, progressive times for Dover. A wealth of major development proposals coming together can deliver a world-class future. These state of the art proposals will provide vital linkage between the town, port and heritage, adding further significance to the arrival of the high speed rail link in 2009. The direction of travel is forward to very exciting times."
Chairman of Dover Pride and KCC Cabinet Member for Regeneration Roger Gough said: "This is good news and I am pleased for Dover. Funding has also been approved for a whole variety of work, including continuing our good work on the esplanade and big improvements at the castle."
Tracey Wahdan, Visitor Operations Director for English Heritage SE said: "This funding will enable English Heritage to realise the potential of Dover Castle as one of the finest visitor attractions in England by significantly improving the interpretation of the Secret Wartime Tunnels and the Great Tower. This should in turn help to greatly increase the number of people not only visiting the Castle but also the town of Dover. We look forward to working with Kent County Council and Dover District Council on this project."