A bridge over the A20 in Dover has moved a step closer to reality – after the project was selected for the next stage of the Government’s new Future High Streets Fund.
Local authorities were invited to make initial submissions for up to £25 million grants as part of a £1 billion fund announced in the autumn 2018 budget. Dover’s bid focused on a pedestrian footbridge linking the town centre to the seafront. The district council will now receive up to £150,000 to develop a business case. Winning bids will be announced in spring 2020.
In his letter to me, the Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick MP said: “Dover has the potential to be front and centre with bold proposals to deliver housing and investment on the waterfront, which will tackle the unique challenges Dover faces as one of our busiest port towns.
“There was a very high degree of interest in the fund, which received more than 300 expressions of interest and was heavily oversubscribed. It is a great achievement for the authority to have made it into the business case development phase.”
This is hugely encouraging. I have continued to press Government ministers on the case for major funding in Dover. It seems we are finally getting through. Because it’s vital that we keep building on recent progress. Burlington House and the multi-storey car park were torn down. A shopping and cinema complex has risen in their place. Meanwhile the seafront is being transformed and we hope to see bars and restaurants on the new marina curve.
That’s why the connection is crucial. The subway is not fit for purpose. A better link has been badly needed ever since the A20 was built.