20 JUN 2010

The People's Port

What do you do when the country is bust and the previous Labour Government has proposed a plan to sell off our port to pay down the national debt? What do you do when the cornerstone of our local economy is threatened by a serious breakdown in relations between the ferry companies and the Dover Harbour Board? And what do you do when the people of Dover are crying out for regeneration after 70 years of broken promises? Oh, and don't forget, you've just been elected for a month and are still trying to find your feet!

Last week I decided to take the bull by the horns. I tabled a detailed and substantial proposal that we, the people, should be allowed to buy the port. This has been reported on in detail by the Dover Express and the Daily Telegraph. The plan is to put the future of our jobs and money in our community's hands. Why? Because it is high time that:

  • trust and confidence is restored between the ferry companies and Dover Harbour Board;
  • our port, our town and the ferry companies forged a long term partnership where we all work together to take our local economy forward;
  • the people got some benefit from the national class economic and transport facility that is on our doorstep; and
  • that Dover sees real regeneration. We've been waiting 70 years. That's too long and it's time we saw some real action.

Deep down we all know that doing nothing is not an option. Doing nothing will see our port flogged off by a nation financially on its knees. Acting now, together, is to grasp an opportunity that could transform our community. We all know that the previous Government was so far advanced by the time of the election that the Minister's pen is even now hovering over the sale order. That we stand at 5 to midnight when it comes to our port. I believe in our community and believe we can do this. The prize for us all if we succeed is truly great - we would be able to tell our grandchildren how we changed Dover forever.

This is just the start of the debate. I want us all to be involved. I have listened and have led the way - but it's the community of us all and everyone must have a say. If we are to build a people's port, all of us need to be involved. And if the Minister is prepared to give our community the chance to own our port, an important step will be to put the proposal to community vote for endorsement. Please click the image (right) to read letter I have sent to the Minister. Please do comment here, write or email me and tell me what you think.

3 comments

Yes,Charlie you are right, we need to keep the port in our hands and not in foreign hands, too many problems could emerge by doing this. Your proposal for a Dovorian bond could work, its certainly sounds feasible. Dover is certainly worth building up again, it can and should become somewhere fantastic to visit and live. Lets get the this momentum going.
- Pauline Beresford

Yes,Charlie you are right, we need to keep the port in our hands and not in foreign hands, too many problems could emerge by doing this. Your proposal for a Dovorian bond could work, its certainly sounds feasible. Dover is certainly worth building up again, it can and should become somewhere fantastic to visit and live. Lets get the this momentum going.
- Pauline Beresford

Appears to be a good alternative. It should be noted that our then Labour MP, Gwynn Prosser, also opposed the port sell off. If this Community Trust scheme were to become a reality I would like to see non-tradeable shares or bonds priced at such a level that would be affordable to individuals who live and work in Dover, not just business. The Port could then be said to truely belong to the community.
- P West

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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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