The Secretary of State for Transport has decided not to confirm the transfer scheme

A proposal to privatise the Port of Dover has been rejected

by the government.

Transport minister Simon Burns has decided not to confirm the transfer scheme from Dover Harbour Board.

He concluded that:

  • the proposed transfer scheme would not ensure a sufficient level of enduring community participation in the port
  • there were other options available to secure the redevelopment of the Western Docks

The Dover Harbour Board, which is behind the bid, said members were

‘surprised and extremely disappointed’ by the decision.

The Port of Dover is one of Europe’s largest passenger ports and the nearest English port to France.

Bob Goldfield, chief executive of the Port of Dover, said: ‘The

decision is frustrating for the Port and for the community, for whom this was a

unique opportunity to benefit from the success of this major international

gateway.

‘Developing the Port, providing an important contribution to the regeneration

of Dover, growing and adding value to the business, were key objectives for the

DHB scheme and will continue to be our focus as we remain as a trust port.

‘It is, however, a great pity and a disappointment to the Members of

the Dover Harbour Board that the people of Dover will not now benefit from the

injection of many millions of pounds into local community projects, via our

proposed Port of Dover Community Trust that would have been possible had the

decision been in our favour.’

He added: ‘We will now take some time to consider the analysis behind

the Ministerial decision in detail and assess its impact on our future

strategic and financial plans.’

In a statement Mr Burns said: ‘I concluded that

the transfer scheme proposed would not ensure a sufficient level of enduring

community participation in the port.

‘I also concluded that so far as the

board made the application in order to be able to obtain the additional finance

necessary to undertake the proposed redevelopment of the Western Docks, there were

other options available to secure that redevelopment.’

The Government’s rejection paves the way for the People’s

Port Trust bid to step in.

Dover Harbour Board

submitted the bid for the voluntary transfer scheme in January 2010.

Read the full decision

letter here.

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