Dover IBF Facility Cancelled - Lib Dems Accuse Tory Government of Monumental Incompetence

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?”

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P & O Ferry Workers


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


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Deal & Walmer Victoria Memorial Hospital

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.

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Dover IBF Facility



Issued November 19, 2021

HMRC Riding Roughshod Over Residents With
Latest Dover Internal Border Facility Consultation


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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.  

Lib Dem Peer Baroness Randerson Slams Government Over Proposed International Border Facility At Whitfield/Guston And Dover And Deal Lib Dems Ask Why The Government Is Riding Rough Shod Over Its Own Law And Several UN Conventions

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.”


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Dover and Deal Liberal Democrats Slam Tory Government over new Inland Border Clearance site At Guston


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:

  1. 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?
  2. 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.)
  3. Where is the rejected inbound freight going to be stored? Will new warehousing be built to accommodate it at the expense of Kent ratepayers?

Franklin continued:

“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.”



Migrant Landings in Dover

Issued August 18, 2020
Dover and Deal Liberal Democrat appalled at Tory MP reaction to migrant landings in Dover at the weekend.
Dover and Deal Liberal Democrat chair, Caroline Howden, voiced her considerable concern at Natalie Elphicke MP’s recent tweet (August 16, 2020) about 8 migrants landing at the foot of the White Cliffs, early on last Sunday morning.
Mrs Elphicke did not meet the migrants, neither did she appear to have any knowledge as to why they wanted to claim asylum in the UK.
While Dover and Deal Liberal Democrats condemn any kind of human trafficking and agree that the perpetrators must be held to account, migrants who attempt to reach our shores should not be penalised for human traffickers’ illegal activities.
Said Caroline Howden, chair, Dover and Deal Liberal Democrats:
“I was truly shocked by our MP’s actions on Sunday morning and the lack of empathy she showed towards the migrants’ plight. It is the human traffickers she should be focusing on, not desperate people fleeing injustice, torture or hunger. No one makes the trip across the Channel lightly.
“This ‘hostile environment’ culture which was developed by the Home Office under Theresa May has got to stop. People who choose to move to the UK to build a better life for themselves, whether fleeing persecution, to be with the person they love or to work and contribute to society, should be welcomed. What sort of society can we call ourselves if we do not?
“Liberal Democrats believe all migrants should be permitted the right to work until proved otherwise — if the Government considers that an individual does not have the right to work in the UK, it should be the responsibility of the Government to prove this, not of the individual to prove otherwise. Detention should be as a last resort – not the first resort.”

Don't Lose Your Voice

Don't Lose Your Voice

Residents Urged to Look Out for Their Voter Registration Details From Dover District Council
Local residents are being warned not to lose their voice on decisions that affect them by making sure their electoral registration details are up to date.
With elections taking place in May 2021, this is an important opportunity for residents to make sure they can take part.
The annual canvass ensures that the Electoral Registration Officer can keep the electoral register up to date, identifying any residents who are not registered so that they can be encouraged to do so.
Nadeem Aziz, Electoral Registration Officer at Dover District Council said: “It’s important that residents keep an eye out for messages from Dover District Council, so we can make sure we have the right details on the electoral register for every address within the District. To make sure you are able to have your say at elections taking place next year, simply follow the instructions from your local authority.
“If you’re not currently registered, your name will not appear in the messages we send. If you want to register, the easiest way is online at, or we’ll send you information explaining how to do this in the post.
“This year’s canvass, which we have to carry out by law, is taking place during a challenging public health situation. We are working to ensure that we take account of public health guidelines, including the continued importance of social distancing.”
People who have moved recently are particularly encouraged to look out for the voter registration messages from Dover District Council and check the details. Research by the Electoral Commission indicates that recent home movers are far less likely to be registered than those who have lived at the same address for a long time.
Across Great Britain, 92% of people who have been at their property for more than sixteen years will be registered, compared to 36% of people who have lived at an address for less than one year.
Melanie Davidson, Head of Support and Improvement at the Electoral Commission, said: “It’s really important that everyone who is entitled to vote is able to do so. Making sure you provide the necessary information to your local authority when it is needed will ensure the process runs smoothly. This is particularly helpful in the current public health situation, as it will help avoid the need for home visits from canvassers.
“There’s lots of helpful information about registering to vote on our website”
Any residents who have any questions can contact their local registration team by email on [email protected] or by phone on 01304-872344

Notes to editors
For more information, contact the Electoral Commission press office on 020 7271 0704, out of office hours 07789 920 414 or [email protected]
Elections are taking place in the Dover District in May 2021.
The Representation of the People Act 1983 places a duty on Electoral Registration Officers to maintain the electoral register for their area and to conduct an annual canvass of all residential properties.
The electoral register lists the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote in public elections. The register is used for electoral purposes, such as making sure only eligible people can vote. It is also used for other limited purposes specified in law, such as detecting crime (e.g. fraud), calling people for jury service or checking credit applications.
The open register is an extract of the electoral register but is not used for elections. It can be bought by any person, company or organisation. For example, it is used by businesses and charities to confirm name and address details. Your name and address will be included in the open register unless you ask for them to be removed. Removing your details from the open register does not affect your right to vote.
To be eligible to register to vote, a person must be: aged 16 or over (a person may register to vote at 16, but may not vote until they are 18); a British or qualifying Commonwealth citizen who has leave to enter and remain in the UK or does not require such leave; a citizen of the Republic of Ireland or other European Union (EU) member state.
British citizens, Irish citizens and qualifying citizens of Commonwealth countries (including Cyprus and Malta) can vote in local government elections and Police and Crime Commissioner elections. To date, the UK Government has not made changes to the eligibility of EU citizens, meaning at present they too can vote in these elections.
Full details of the Electoral Commission’s research on the electoral registers can be found on its website.
Posted on 14 July 2020

Dover refugees response

Dover refugees response

Dover & Deal Lib Dem member, ROBEN FRANKLIN responds to Natalie Elphicke MP's comments on Kent Online in which she called for a crackdown to end migrant crossings....

In order to tackle criminal gangs taking advantage of refugees, Mrs Elphicke should be moving away from the xenophobic policies the Conservatives have installed into our immigration system and instead fix properly the broken system that is the Government. In Mrs Elphicke’s question, she discusses the horrible way children are being forced to take risks to enter the UK.

If Mrs Elphicke is serious about protecting children, then she should encourage the Government to invest in a non-political body to undertake the role of processing visa applications and make decisions efficiently and with equity. Further to this, fees for registering a child as a British citizen should be reduced from £1,012 to the admin cost of £372. This is crucial not only for the safety of the child but also the integration of migrant children into British society as they age and grow accustom into Dover’s values and those of the UK. Excluding them from their Britishness will only cause isolation from society and they will fall through the safety nets established by the Government.

However, we must do more for migrants who find themselves exploited by gangs and profiteers. We should Introduce a practical, smart implementation of labour market standards with a new Worker Protection Enforcement Authority (WPEA) to protect people both in and entering the country from slavery and trafficking. The WPEA and a non-political agency are needed to fix the immigration system, as judges must reverse 52% of Home Office decisions on immigration and asylum. Mrs Elphicke, we are sure, is genuine about ensuring pregnant women and children are not exploited, but returning boats to France will only continue the cycle of exploitation and misery.

As the Liberal Democrats have set out, there are alternative options available which can mitigate the experiences migrants encounter such as Home Office incompetency and failure or exploitation by gangs. Such options would spare the coast guards and border guards from having to witness such horrific scenes and pleas from desperate souls, while at the same time save the taxpayer from having to pay for the equipment and paperwork needed to return migrants . We urge Mrs Elphicke, for all involved, to encourage the Home Secretary to reform the system for the better, rather than a continuation of the pain and suffering already being felt by refugees."

15th June 2020 

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