20 OCT 2016

Building a brighter future for Betteshanger, Dover and Deal

Anyone who has turned on the news recently might think all that MP's care about is Brexit. Every day there are more headlines about the ups and downs of leaving the European Union. In my view everyone should accept the referendum result and we should just get on with it.

Yet what matters most to me is rolling up my sleeves and getting things done for Dover and Deal. That's why it was so great to take part in the "topping out" ceremony at Betteshanger Sustainable Parks on Friday. The frame of the £8 million visitor centre is now complete – and we are one step closer to its official opening next spring.

One of my election pledges when I ran to be your MP in 2010 was to get more jobs and money – seeing the £40 million Betteshanger project built is part of that. I was determined we got the 121-hectare site around the former colliery back to its best. That's why I have done all I can to support Hadlow College in its bid to turn the brownfield site into a sustainable energy park, with a focus on green technology and renewable energy. The plan is now to build a campus and small business hub on the old colliery site itself.

Once open, the park will create about 1,000 new jobs in the area. I am urging the Government to make the new park part of the Discovery Park Enterprise Zone.

Getting more jobs and money was not the only thing I campaigned for in 2010. I vowed to stop our Port of Dover from being sold off to the French or whoever. And we stopped privatisation. We fought for a new hospital in Dover. We got it built. We campaigned for more jobs for Dover and Deal. Since 2010, unemployment is down 46 per cent and youth unemployment has dropped by 60 per cent.

But we must not stop there. Dover and Deal are on the up – but it is a work in progress. That's why we're now battling to fix our roads by making sure Highways England stick to their promise to end the 40mph limit on the A20. We're doing all we can to get the A2 dualled all the way to Dover. Burlington House is down but Dover now needs to get Cineworld, Nando's and the other St James' shops built. The Port of Dover must finish its roadworks on time and start building a new marina. The rail line is fixed – but we must make sure Dover and Deal commuters get a good service.

We've done a lot and come a long way together in Dover and Deal. Yet there's no place for complacency when there's so much more to get done.

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Charlie Elphicke

Here you can read about local news matters and what I've been up to. You can make comments too. I'd welcome your feedback, so please do feel free to comment!

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