05 OCT 2017

Dover and Deal are on the up

We're working hard to build a brighter future in Dover and Deal. And it's clear things are on the up in our beautiful corner of Kent.

The new cinema and shops at St James are set to open in the coming months. The £120 million Western Docks development is underway. Deal continues to go from strength to strength and was recently ranked as one of Britain's top coastal towns.

There are exciting times ahead and people I speak to when I'm out and about are really positive about the future. Indeed, last week research was published which said happiness in Dover and Deal has reached its highest levels since records began.

Our level of happiness in 2016/17 was 7.69, researchers found. This is above the national average of 7.51 and a big rise locally from 7.17 last year. When the Office of National Statistics started measuring personal well-being in 2011/12, the level of happiness in Dover and Deal was 7.38.

Life satisfaction in the constituency is also up year on year, while anxiety is down. More people feel what they do in life is "worthwhile" than in 2011/12.

Too often some people talk us down. Yet the truth is that Dover and Deal are on the up. We've come a long way in the past seven years. We stopped the port sell-off, got a new hospital built in Dover and safeguarded Deal's. We secured £500 million of investment for our area and unemployment has near halved.

People said we'd never get the fast train to Deal – yet now it sweeps into the station every day. People said Burlington House would be there forever – yet we kept fighting until it was torn down. Now the former St James site is transforming before our eyes. Meanwhile the rubble from Burlington House is being used to lay the foundations of the Western Docks Revival.

Of course, there is still much more to do as we build a brighter future for Dover and Deal. The most vital issue of our times is ensuring we are ready on day one for Brexit. We cannot have a situation where there are long queues of trucks clogging up our roads. That's why I've been working with industry experts to put together a plan setting out the action we need to take now at the Dover and Deal frontline.

If we get it right, we can enjoy a real boost from Brexit. I got 40 MPs together to write to the Chancellor, calling for duty free sales on travel to Europe to return after Brexit. This could help boost visitor number and our ferries.

Things are changing. We are working relentlessly – taking action to secure investment, plan ahead and build a brighter future for Dover.

And if there's one reason above all else to be happy – it's that we finally got rid of the 40mph limit on the A20!


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Charlie Elphicke

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