04 SEP 2015

Preserving local assets for our community

One of the best things about our community is the pride people take in our area. So many people are passionate about the kind of positive future we can build in Dover and Deal.

We've seen it time and again. Our community rallying round to protect important community assets or get a fairer share of public services for our area.

When the previous Government tried to sell off our Port to the French or whoever, local campaigners helped stop the sell off and keep our Port forever England. A people's port is now rising at the docks with more investment, a community fund and community directors set to be appointed once the paperwork is finalised. This weekend's successful Dover regatta showed how far things have come from the dark days of threatened privatisation.

When the Dover Hospital project stalled, I was proud to march with campaigners and we all worked tirelessly to get the project back on track. We now have a brand new state of the art Buckland Hospital thanks to those efforts.

When services at Deal Hospital were threatened with closure, thousands of residents came together to answer surveys and came to packed public meetings to safeguard the hospital. They succeeded. Local doctors now have plans to base even more clinics and services at the hospital.

Recently, I have been working with the local Shepherdswell residents to help save their local pub, the Bricklayers Arms. The Bricklayers is a great local pub. Unfortunately, the owners are trying to sell the pub and villagers are worried it will be converted for other uses. Residents have succeeded in getting the pub listed as an 'Asset of Community Value'. They've now organised an action group to try and save the pub – possibly even bidding for it themselves.

It's a powerful example of people coming together to protect something they care about. I will do all I can to support the action group to help keep the Bricklayers for community use. When local people stand together to make positive change, councils and government should do all they can to help them.

There is a similar story in Deal at the Regent cinema. A local community group have come together to try and get the Regent Cinema on Deal seafront re-opened. They now have over 200 members and want to get the cinema listed as a community asset. It's got such potential to be a great asset for the community again. I was delighted to meet with the group and it is great that the local district councillors look set to help take the campaign forward.

I got into politics because I'm passionate about positive change and social action. To have the chance to make people's lives better through hard work and campaigning. When local people come together on an issue they care about, they can make such a positive difference.

I will continue to support local social action to make Dover and Deal all they can be. It's one of the best parts of my work as your Member of Parliament.

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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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