Original article from Kent Live
Two large border facilities are due to be built in Dover to handle post-Brexit border checks, it was confirmed today (July 5).
Dover and Deal Natalie Elphicke MP, Kent County Council leader Cllr Roger Gough and Dover District Council leader Cllr Trevor Bartlett all hailed the news a "double victory for port related investment locally".
The plans include a new customs facility in Whitfield on 27 acres of fields opposite the existing B&Q store.
A second major site will be needed to carry out port health checks on food and animal products.
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MyDover understands that a specific location hasn't yet been agreed but commercial discussions are underway.
Combined, investment in the two sites is thought to total around £80 million.
Welcoming the news, Natalie Elphicke MP said: “Today we are seeing millions of pounds of investment committed into our area.
"This is a real Brexit Boost for our community, and a strong vote of confidence in the Dover area by the Government. Hundreds of local jobs will be supported in the HMRC and health operations and for the surrounding port businesses.
“It’s been a hard fought campaign to secure investment and jobs we need to ensure that Dover remains the UK’s leading port.
"I am delighted that we have been successful. This investment will not come at the expense of our community. I am glad that the concerns raised by local residents have been listened to by Ministers and taken into account in the design and delivery of the White Cliffs border facility.
"Together with local councillors, I have worked hard to ensure residents’ voices have been listened to and acted upon.
“The investment we are seeing today will help our community make the most of the opportunities of cross-border travel and trade in the years to come.”
MyDover recently reported how the opening date for the Whitfield facility, originally scheduled for July this year, has been pushed back to 2022.
Both the district council and some local residents had raised concerns about the proposals, which do not require planning permission.
Instead it can be granted under emergency Brexit legislation which allowed for Ministers to grant "Special Development Orders".
Some members of Dover District Council were also opposed to the location off the A2 rather than the A20.
The road is single lane in the port direction, and already suffers congestion at the Whitfield roundabout.
Over in Ashford, where a new border facility has been built in Sevington, some have compared the lighting to the scale of Wembley stadium, with people living miles away claiming they are able to see them.
The council said it could only support the proposals if serious mitigation measures were put in place.
Today the district council leader Trevor Bartlett welcomed the "smaller and less intrusive" site.
The plans have still not been made public, however.
Cllr Bartlett said “This is fantastic news and very welcome new investment for our area.
"My colleagues Cllr Martin Bates and Cllr Oliver Richardson have been determined that local residents’ concerns were taken on board in the design of the HMRC White Cliffs Border Facility.
"I am very glad the Government listened to these concerns and has made the facility smaller and less intrusive, while still ensuring that the jobs and investment needed are coming to our community.
“Works on the new access road are expected to begin shortly at the White Cliffs site, with more news and plans to follow in the coming weeks.”
Cllr Roger Gough, Kent County Council leader, said: "“This is excellent news for Kent. Today sees record investment in both Dover and Ashford, setting the county up for success in jobs and infrastructure through the Channel Ports, while also ensuring that there is a resilient and strong border network for our county.
“At MP, County Council and District Councils, we have worked hand in glove to deliver a smart and resilient solution, and millions of pounds of investment in our area.”