14 MAR 2016

Building the new homes our community needs

Civic renewal never comes easily. Yet the hard work of so many years is beginning to pay off in Dover & Deal. Burlington House has come down and urgently needed homes are springing up across the area.

The renewal of Dover has been a long standing campaign. The fall of Burlington House is not simply the firing of the starting gun on the regeneration we have so long needed. It is incredible how long hidden views have opened up across Dover. The sight lines from the castle to the Drop Redoubt are now breathtaking. Think how Dover will be even better once the development is built. No more visits to Ashford or Westwood Cross to see the latest film. People will be able to do that as well as shopping and so much more in Dover town centre. It will have a dramatic impact on Dover's local economy.

So too should the Western Docks revival. The port area will look even better when the potential of the area around the marine station is realised. There is so much happening in our area and there is an increasing sense of momentum.

Yet renewal is not simply about town centres. It's also about building the homes we need. Bringing opportunity and starter homes to our young people really matters. This is why we fought to see Connaught Barracks brought forward for development. The current progress is really promising and why so many have worked hard to see the potential of the Western Heights realised. Homes we need and the restoration of the Drop Redoubt matters to us.

Yet it's not all about Dover. The development I visited in Aylesham last week is transforming that village. It's incredible to see. A good development that is working well. We need to see sensible development in Deal and the other villages too. Critical to this is ensuring that the road infrastructure is up to it. In this regard Kent Highways is an abject failure. They allow any old dangerous overloaded road to be used for large developments. Small wonder everyone is saying we need an East Kent Unitary authority that is more in touch with the things we need.

The water companies are also dreadful. They are slow on connections and fail to put in the required infrastructure, as we have seen from the problems at Albert Road in Deal. Developments are going ahead, but the utilities and transport links must improve.

These are exciting times for our community, with a lot happening. But we need to see a lot more happen. There is increasing momentum with the town centre development in Dover, the garden village at Aylesham and the proposals to build more of the homes we need. The future is looking brighter for our corner of Kent, but we need to keep going and get the best for our area.

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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!