Dover and Deal Liberal Democrat chair, Roben Franklin, has joined other local parties in its wholehearted opposition to the new Inland Border Clearance site for HGVs, which is scheduled to start construction this month on agricultural land between the new Dover Leisure Centre at Whitfield and Guston Village.
Concerns have been growing since July 2020, but became a reality when residents received a letter from the under-secretary of state at the Department of Transport, Rachel Maclean MP, dated 31 December 2020, that work would start on the site in January 2021.
“Dover and Deal Liberal Democrats are appalled at the way in which residents were informed and that a Special Development Order was implemented, with little or no consultation with our local council or local residents, Franklin comments. “After four long years of planning for Brexit, this is the not the kind of New Year’s present residents expected to land in their laps from our Conservative government and with no warning. Once again, the Conservatives have revealed their complete incompetence, their total failure to plan ahead and their utter inability to be transparent with voters.
The Dover and Deal Liberal Democrats are asking:
- How is an Inland Border Clearance site for up to 1200n HGVs, with floodlighting, power points for refrigerated lorries and generators in use 24 hours?
- Why was a geographically more suitable location not selected? On a brownfield site or in Calais for instance (the Le Touquet agreement covers passport controls and migrants – many of our Border control officers who live in Kent travel daily to France to undertake their jobs – but this could have been arranged for goods)?
- Where is the rejected inbound freight going to be stored? Will new warehousing be built to accommodate it at the expense of Kent ratepayers?
“To add insult to injury it is also shocking that the Government has ridden rough shod over local residents’ concerns and have refused to publish any Environmental Impact Assessment,” Franklin continued. “The Conservatives have insisted on pulling Britain out of the Customs Union and the Single Market and the much lauded Brexit benefits are mountains of red tape and additional taxes for which no-one voted. The impact on East Kent is that we now have customs clearance centres and lorry parks which were not included on the side the bus, or any bus. They could have been avoided if the Government had taken a more constructive approach to Brexit. The Tories promises of prosperity and control were empty; rather we are ending up with stagnation in Dover and Guston/Whitfield residents being left without a say or any control over their rural community.”
- This article was updated on 21 March 2021, to correct the assertion that the site falls within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). It does not.