Original article from Kent Live
New plans for the Dame Vera Lynn Memorial Park in Dover have been made available to the public.
The location at the Grand Shaft Barracks site will offer a capacity to host major performances for up to 3,500 people.
There will also be high quality visitor facilities, as well as a café and retail opportunities.
Work around the Grand Shaft site is expected to begin this year, while the main memorial will get underway in 2022.
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The application made to the government was for the Levelling Up Fund, which sees investment for towns, cities and coastal areas.
The total cost of the fund is £26.5m, from which Dover District Council says it will create the new Dame Vera Lynn Memorial Park and invest in the quality of the heritage and cultural assets and public realm in Dover town centre.
The council describes the proposed plans as "transformational" and reveals that creating one of the country's "premier landmark attractions" could support over 900 additional jobs in the local economy.
It was also revealed that this could generate £50m in net additional visitor spend every year.
According to the plans, the project will blend a memorial to a national icon with a place for music, culture and relaxation.
12 million passengers are said to use the Port of Dover each year, with a small number stopping in the town.
It is hoped that the memorial will give them a reason to stay and explore Dover, drawing visitors from around the world.
The council states that for centuries Dover has been a key point of transit but could now transform into a destination.
Britain will also gain a new national landmark attraction which could become iconic in the years to come due to the stunning backdrop of the English Channel.
Dame Vera Lynn, who entertained troops with visits to the front line during the Second World War, died aged 103 on June 18 2020.
The new plans follow a previous tribute made to Dame Vera Lynn on the White Cliffs of Dover last month.
A wildflower meadow had been renamed 'Dame Vera Lynn Down' to mark the anniversary of her death, but the new plans are expected to be a "catalyst for positive change across the town."
The Dame Vera Lynn Charitable Trust has also launched a campaign to raise charitable funds for the memorial, with a target of raising up to £3m by the summer of 2022.
Dover & Deal MP Natalie Elphicke has previously spoken about the plans, and paid tribute to Dame Vera Lynn.
"Dame Vera would go and visit troops all over the globe," she said.
"Everywhere she went she brought cheer and boosted morale. She helped give our troops the determination they needed to succeed – so often against the heaviest of odds.
"Yet her contribution did not end there. As well as service to our nation, she set up her own charities, and throughout her lifetime had a strong record of helping others.
"When our port was put up for sale Dame Vera swung into action.
"She played a crucial role in keeping our port and our cliffs forever England.
"In a hard-fought campaign, Dame Vera’s support made a real difference.
"Dame Vera’s passing was a time of great sadness for our whole community.
"We loved her and she loved us right back. Email after email, letter after letter came into my office, saying that she should be remembered here in White Cliffs country.
"That’s why it’s so important that we have a fitting memorial to her on our White Cliffs.
"I am fully supporting the council’s bid for government funding to help make it happen.
"It is so exciting that we should have such a project taken forward."
Within the plans, it is noted that there is currently very poor access to the Western Heights for people with disabilities or limited mobility.
One of the key aims of the project is to improve this by increasing accessibility, and it is also hoped that the work will improve walking routes and navigation across Dover.
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