Dover and Deal Liberal Democrats Accuse Tory Government of Monumental Incompetence over Dover Inland Border Facility
Dover and Deal Liberal Democrats are accusing the Government and HMRC of monumental incompetence over the latest announcement to scrap plans for the construction of the Dover Internal Border Facility, work on which began just two months ago in April promising 400 jobs.
“The whole saga is a litany of incompetence and knee-jerk planning”, says Penelope James, chair of the local Liberal Democrat party. “The Conservative Government had four years to prepare for border checks, did nothing and then came up with this ill-thought-out development. Worse still there was virtually no consultation with the local community at the time who could have told them that the proposed development at Whitecliffs Business Park / Guston was in the wrong place.
“While we welcome the fact that the proposed facility is no longer to go ahead there are many crucial questions to be answered not least how much has this whole fiasco cost the taxpayer in terms of hundreds or wasted civil service hours, land purchase costs, legal fees, construction work and costs, cancellation of contract costs, the returning of the land to its original state as promised by HMRC and more?”
Issued March 18, 2022
Dover & Deal Liberal Democrats demand government step in to help redundant P&O ferry workers and amend legal loophole which permits this action
Press Release from Dover & Deal Liberal Democrats.
Victoria Memorial Hospital, Deal - Death by a thousand cuts?
The Dover and Deal Liberal Democrat party continues to voice its concerns about the future of the Victoria Memorial Hospital, Deal and will be supporting the vigil 6.15PM on Friday February 25 2022, at Deal Pier.
In November 2021 Dover & Deal Lib Dems wrote to Paul Bentley, CEO of the Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT), which manages the hospital, voicing concerns that the medical services being offered by the hospital were being run down and moved to other locations. This was followed up by a second email in January 2022. Neither communication has yet received a response.
Issued November 19, 2021
HMRC Riding Roughshod Over Residents With
Latest Dover Internal Border Facility Consultation
Dover & Deal Liberal Democrats are fielding a slate of candidates across the District in the local elections on May 6.
Kent County Council:
Deal and Walmer - Penelope James
Deal and Walmer - John Gosling
Dover north - Annabel Stogdon
Dover Town - Roben Franklin
Dover Town - Luke Lyden
Dover West - Richard Blackwell
Sandwich - Vernon Recas
Dover District Council:
Mill Hill Ward - Richard Blackwell
Deal Town Council:
Mill Hill - Richard Blackwell
Caring for your community, your environment and for you!
Vote for a party that gets things done.
Issued February 16, 2021
Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Penelope James at the Guston IBF Site
Lib Dem Peer Baroness Jenny Randerson slammed the Government over the White Cliffs International Border Facility in the House of Lords, last Thursday (11 February) during a debate on Border Facilities and Infrastructure.
Baroness Randerson asked why the Government chose to use a Special Development Order (SDO), designed strictly for emergencies, to grant temporary planning permission for the site at Whitfield/Guston. “Time and again the Government was warned by hauliers and exporters of the need for early preparation. Therefore I find the repeated pleas of urgency used in the EM completely unacceptable. The Government has had 41/2 years to prepare for Brexit. It is no good shouting “emergency” now.”
Baroness Randerson was shocked at how little information local residents and councillors were being given: “The residents of the neighbouring villages of Whitfield and Guston are disgusted by the way they have been treated in this process....Their rights to protest or even to know what is going on are minimal. This week Dover District Council dealt with the issue. Councillors say they were not allowed to see the application until 24 hours before the meeting, and in secret, and were not allowed to disclose details to others.”
Baroness Randerson also highlighted the fact that, despite the selected site being in a rural location and close to an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, no Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has been undertaken for this application. (An EIA reviews the impact of a project on the environment and the measures needed to mitigate this impact).
Dover and Deal Liberal Democrats also ask why no EIA has been undertaken as the Government itself introduced a law in 2019 which specified that an SDO cannot be used for any development over 5 hectares. The site at Whitfield/Guston covers 37 hectares, which means the Government is obliged to undertake an EIA.
Furthermore, the Government is in clear breach of three conventions:
- UN’s Aarhus Convention, to which the UK is a signatory, and which allows everyone the right of access to environmental information and allows for the public to participate in environmental decision making.
- the Espoo Convention – Environmental Impact in a Transboundary Context: Article 2.2 – for Environmental Impact Assessment, which the UK signed in 1991 and ratified in 1997
- the Kiev Protocol – Strategic Environmental Assessment (to be undertaken earlier than an EIA) which provides for extensive public participation in government decision-making in numerous sectors, which the UK signed in 2003.
Local Liberal Democrat campaigner, Penelope James, commented:
“The Government has shown its utter incompetence in the way it has handled this development. Their inability to plan ahead and be transparent with the local community defies belief. The fact that they are willing to ride rough shod over their own laws and UN conventions to which they have signed up is beyond contempt. The Conservatives insisted on pulling Britain out of the Customs Union and the Single Market so we could regain control over our laws. It seems the residents of Guston Parish have less control now than when Britain was a member of the European Union.”
NEWS RELEASE –
Issued January 12, 2021
Dover and Deal Liberal Democrats Slam Tory Government
over new Inland Border Clearance site At Guston
Dover and Deal Liberal Democrat chair, Roben Franklin, has joined other local parties in its whole hearted opposition to the new Inland Border Clearance site for HGVs scheduled to start construction this month on agricultural land between the new Dover Leisure Centre at Whitfield and Guston Village.
Concerns have been growing since July 2020, but became a reality when residents received a letter from the under-secretary of state at the Department of Transport, Rachel Maclean MP, dated 31 December 2020, that work would start on the site this month, January 2021.
Roben Franklin comments:
“Dover and Deal Liberal Democrats are appalled at the way in which residents were informed and that a Special Development Order was implemented to allow a development like this to be enabled in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with little or no consultation with our local council or local residents.
“After 4 long years of planning for Brexit, this is the not the kind of New Year’s present residents expected to land in their laps from our Conservative government and with no warning. Once again the Conservatives have revealed their complete incompetence, their total failure to plan ahead and their utter inability to be transparent with voters.
“To add insult to injury it is also shocking that the Government has ridden rough shod over local residents’ concerns and have refused to publish any Environmental Impact Assessment.”
Dover and Deal Liberal Democrats ask:
- How is an Inland Border Clearance site for up to 1200n HGVs, with floodlighting, power points for refrigerated lorries and generators in use 24 hours, being allowed to happen in an AONB?
- Why was a geographically more suitable location not selected? On a brownfield site or Calais for instance? (Le Touquet agreement covers passport controls and migrants - many of our Border control officers who live in Kent travel daily to France to undertake their jobs – but this could have been arranged for goods.)
- Where is the rejected inbound freight going to be stored? Will new warehousing be built to accommodate it at the expense of Kent ratepayers?
“The Conservatives have insisted on pulling Britain out of the Customs Union and the Single Market and the much lauded Brexit benefits are mountains of red tape and additional taxes for which no one voted. The impact on East Kent is that we now have Customs Clearance centres and lorry parks which were not included on the side the bus, or any bus. They could have been avoided if the Government had taken a more constructive approach to Brexit. The Tories promises of prosperity and control were empty, rather we are ending up with stagnation in Dover and Guston / Whitfield residents being left without a say or any control over their rural community.”