Bench Street

New space for SMEs, creative and digital skills are part of a £63m investment in Dover

£63m Boost for Dover with Levelling Up Fund

Projects boost town centre jobs, skills, and education, and keep traffic flowing

Two projects in Dover have been awarded over £63 million to deliver new investment to boost jobs, skills, and access in the town in the latest round of the Government’s Levelling Up Fund.

Dover District Council has secured £18.1 million for the Dover Beacon project to transform a brownfield site on Bench Street in the heart of Dover town centre. The redevelopment of the site delivers over £90 million of economic benefit and includes: 

  • An education campus providing training opportunities in the fast-growing creative and digital industries, expanding access and the curriculum for local students
  • A business centre, providing flexible, affordable facilities for start-ups and small, and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to attract and retain skilled workers and provide new employment opportunities
  • A riverside parklet, creating accessible green space for local people and visitors.

The project comes on the heels of other recent investments in Dover town centre, including the £3.6m revamp of the Market Square as an event space to boost footfall and bring new reasons for people to visit the town’s traditional shopping centre, and to improve links with the £53.2 million St James retail and leisure scheme, and Dover Waterfront.

Separately, Kent County Council has been awarded £45m for the Dover Access Improvements project. This will improve the flow of traffic from the UK to the EU, with more border control points and a new exit route to help the Port of Dover operate more efficiently and reduce congestion on local roads in Dover.

Cllr Trevor Bartlett, Leader of Dover District Council, said:

“This is tremendous news for Dover and a recognition from the Government of the need to level up Dover as the UK’s gateway town. Today’s announcement sees the highest level of funding in the country, with the two projects delivering a combined investment of over £63 million in the future of Dover town centre and the Port of Dover.”

Doug Bannister, CEO, Port of Dover, said:

“This is a great day for the port and for Dover. I am incredibly grateful to Kent County Council for their invaluable support on this and to Natalie Elphicke for championing our cause on securing such significant funding to help deliver our important Outbound Controls Project.

“This will be a transformational project, delivering the next evolution of Britain’s busiest ferry terminal with a reconfigured layout and enhanced border control points to help secure traffic flow and capacity for the long term. Today is a celebration of many things. It is recognition of the Port’s fundamental economic role in supporting levelling up across the nation. It is also a demonstration by the government of its commitment to our future success and that of Dover and Kent more widely. As such, I also offer my sincere congratulations to our partners at Dover District Council for their successful funding bid. Together, such investment in the people, town and port of Dover marks a bright new chapter for us all.”

Dover MP Natalie Elphicke said:

“This £63million investment is a fantastic win for Dover. The exciting new creative and digital campus will create new jobs and skills opportunities in our area. The queue-busting investment at the Port of Dover will help to keep Dover clear and see port traffic run more smoothly. We are ambitious for the future of Dover & Deal - today’s great news will help move our community forward.”

Posted on 19/01/2023