This evening I hosted a Town Hall in Dover as part of my backing local jobs campaign. On the panel was Shadow Minister Mark Simmonds MP, Kent County Council cabinet member C Cllr Parry and Dover District Council cabinet member Cllr Collor.
We had a really interesting and wide ranging discussion. People spoke passionately about their concern on business rates, the potential to get tourists from France, the number of shops closing down locally and the need for a proper hospital rather than a tiny little polyclinic. There was also a strong desire to sort out the lorries in the sea front, improve the shopping centre, make the most of the tourism offer and enable Dover to grab the opportunities before it.
There is so much that needs doing in Dover. It's a great town, yet deserves to be so much greater! I am passionate that we get lorries out of the sea front, that we get a really great harbour side leisure and entertainment complex - like Ocean village in Southampton - that we get a proper hospital and that we stop the Government's newly announced plans to sell off the port of Dover. The council has done much, yet there is much still to do. I am keenly aware this will require central government investment that has been sadly lacking in recent years. I am keenly aware of the level of responsibility that may fall on my shoulders and the level of expectation.
You know, if I get elected I will do my best. Yet we all need to be realistic. It will take a long long time to turn things around. Years of neglect and our being ignored by the Government are not going to be turned about on a dime. That said, I do mean to ensure we get our fair share, I will bang the table and I won't stand for us being taken for granted as we have been for the last 12 years!
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