03 NOV 2016

Building the homes we need in Dover and Deal

All over Dover and Deal cranes tower in the skyline and diggers roll by as workmen are busy getting things built.

Since 2010, we've built a new state-of-the-art hospital, fixed our rail line in record time – and soon new shops and restaurants will spring up at the St James site.

Meanwhile, thousands of new homes have been built across the constituency. But still, young people are finding it too hard to get on the housing ladder.

It shouldn't just be an aspiration, it should be the norm. Homes are somewhere to settle in the community, raise a family, create personal and lasting memories, and lay the foundations for an even better future for our loved ones.

But for too long people haven't had the supply to meet demand. That's why it's vital we back brilliant projects like the Connaught Barracks development I visited on Friday.

Some 500 homes will go up at the former army barracks. Most of the old buildings have been torn down, with construction of new houses due to start next year. They will be affordable, good quality, have stunning views, and make sensible use of government land that is no longer needed. Many will be starter homes for first-time buyers.

We've made a good start on getting new homes built. The number of new builds started in Dover and Deal in 2015 was 394, almost double the UK average of 222. Another 167 new builds were started in the first two quarters of 2016.

We've also had a jobs revolution in Dover and Deal since 2010. Unemployment is down 46 per cent since 2010, while youth unemployment has fallen 60 per cent. These new workers need good homes to live in and decent places to shop.

That's why I was so disappointed when the Campaign to Protect Rural England again blocked plans for hundreds more homes in Farthingloe. This project would bring investment for what could be an outstanding tourist attraction at the Drop Redoubt and Western Heights. We must put the future of our young people ahead of such unelected, anti-democratic campaign groups.

This sort of nimby thinking has already caused problems at Connaught Barracks. Weeks of work and tens of thousands of pounds were lost, I was told, because of an EU Habitats Directive which meant workers had to accommodate a community of bats on site, including their very own "bat hotel".

Everyone knows I have always been an animal lover – but spending that sort of time and money is just absolutely batty. It's also another good reason to leave the EU, which for so long has put red tape in the way of getting things done.

But despite the best efforts of the EU, the CPRE and other out-of-touch cliques – with hard work we'll keep getting things done for Dover and Deal.


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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!