Dover port and community 'to work together'

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Media captionPort workers and businesses have welcomed the developments

Plans set out for Dover port will enable it to work together with the community, the government has said.

Ports Minister Stephen Hammond unveiled changes to the port's constitution that he said would help it grow.

Members of the community will be able to sit on the board and the port will have greater financial flexibility.

The port, which is run as a trust, has seen privatisation plans and a community bid to buy it, but Mr Hammond said this was "win-win" for everybody.

He said: "I have set out changes to the port's constitution and financial powers that will help it grow in the future, and put the community at the heart of decision-making at the port."

'Devil in detail'

Under the changes, the port will be able to enter joint ventures and borrow against its assets, allowing the board to raise funds to invest in the future, Mr Hammond said.

George Jenkins, chairman of Dover Harbour Board which runs the port, said the board had recently announced plans for a new cargo terminal at the Western Docks.

"We will be resolute in continuing our engagement with the community; this is a real opportunity for the port and town of Dover to come together and deliver an exciting future for all," he said.

Mr Elphicke, Conservative MP for Dover and Deal and a director of the People's Port Trust, which has campaigned to buy the port for the community, said: "Now we've got to work out how we achieve our key community priorities."

He said those priorities were partnership with the board, a voice for the community in the boardroom, and improvements for Dover with a community fund from the port.

Port worker Michael Doel said: "As ever, we have to watch out for the devil in the detail, which is yet to be decided, but if it means job security and future prospects for future generations, then I'm all for it."

Labour's parliamentary candidate for Dover and Deal Clair Hawkins said more information was needed.

She said there had been little detail about how the changes would work in practice and how large the community's share of profits would be.

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