Over £18.3 Million Squandered on
Scrapped Dover Inland Border Facility
Dover and Deal Liberal Democrats have been shocked to discover that the proposed Dover Inland Border Facility (Dover IBF), located at White Cliffs Business Park, Dover, which was scrapped in mid-June 2022 after only 7 weeks of construction work, has cost the taxpayer well over £18.3 million.
Following a question to HM Treasury posed by Lib Dem Peer, Baroness Randerson, asking the cost of acquiring the land for the proposed Dover IBF, the government has revealed that it will not divulge the “initial cost” of the land, which they say is confidential, despite it being bought with taxpayers’ money! In addition, the Department for Transport (DfT), the current owner of the land, has disclosed that £6.4 million was spent on preparatory works by HMRC and a further £11.9 million by the DfT towards site readiness. (https://bit.ly/3RjwwvK)
“The entire project was a white elephant from the start and is the direct result of incompetence and knee-jerk planning by this inept Conservative government,” said Penelope James, chair of the local Liberal Democrat party. “To be unable to divulge the cost of the land is bad enough given that it was purchased with taxpayers’ money. But citing that the government cannot release the “initial cost” means that there have been additional land costs which have yet to be revealed. The lack of transparency beggars belief.”
James added: “The 400 jobs promised as part of this project have now been lost. This money should have been better spent on well thought-out projects, developed in consultation with the community. Projects which would have had a real benefit to local residents in terms of jobs, amenities, and the environment. At a time of an alarming rise in energy costs and the cost of living this additional waste of millions of pounds is completely unacceptable. This Conservative government simply does not care is and has, once again, taken people for granted.”
Liberal Democrats opposed the Dover IBF development from the start, when it was first presented to residents in Guston, in the most appalling way on New Year’s Eve 2020, leaving them little time to comment.
A range of objections were submitted at the time including:
- The impact the site would have on local traffic at the Duke of York, B&Q and Whitfield roundabouts, the A2, the A258 to Walmer and Deal, the A20 and rural lanes.
- The huge negative environmental impact the development would have and challenged HMRC’s promise of a “biodiversity net gain”.
- The employment of a Special Development Order (SDO): a mechanism originally designed strictly for national emergencies to grant temporary planning permission and thereby avoid proper scrutiny by Dover District Council.
- How such a development would enable Dover District to become carbon neutral by 2050?