A publicity-seeking website seeks to mock Dover and rubbish our town. They probably think they're hilarious. But I don't find it amusing. I doubt these website people have ever even been to Dover. It's unacceptable for the sneering classes to talk our town down.
Let's look at the facts. Dover is a town with outstanding heritage. We have the greatest castle in the land, along with our iconic White Cliffs and the fantastic Roman Painted House. Let's not forget the Bronze Age Boat in the Dover Museum. Dover has a vibrant history. There are too many stories to tell here – but this is the town that repelled Julius Caesar and saw off Napoleon. It was here that the triumph of Dunkirk was planned and under these skies that the Battle of Britain was fought and won.
Yet it's not just our history which makes our town great. It's also the future we're building here and now. We are home to Europe's busiest ferry port and trade is booming. A new cinema and shops are rising at the St James site. Meanwhile the Western Docks Revival is set to bring 600 jobs and a new marina to the seafront.
Of course, there is work to be done. I'm deeply concerned by reports of street drinkers blighting park benches. We had this problem a few years ago before we worked with Kent Police to boot them out. I'm writing to Dover's Chief Inspector to seek urgent action once again to clear the town centre of this problem.
With the rise of internet shopping we need to rethink how high streets work across the land. While some shops have been closing, other exciting business ventures have been springing up. Dover is now home to several brilliant micropubs. Their huge popularity is a sign of how our high street may change going forward – with more independent bars, pubs, shops and cafes. We need to encourage more entrepreneurs to set up shop.
We must make sure we link our stunning promenade to the town centre. One flood-prone underpass is not good enough. I'm battling to Save Our Banksy because I believe it must be at the heart of any new waterfront development. It will draw so many people to visit the town and help make the development a success.
There is still much more to do as we build a brighter future for Dover. We have secured £500 million of investment since 2010. Things are changing. Dovorians will remember well the battle to bring down Burlington House. Yet we did it – and the formerly desolate 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.
It's easy for cowardly keyboard warriors to hurl insults. Yet what do they ever achieve? Nothing. Meanwhile we are working relentlessly – taking action to secure investment and build a brighter future for Dover.
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