Rail link triggers Dover makeover

Dover is set for a make­over as the Kent port seeks to cap­italise on upcoming regeneration brought by the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.

Regen agency Dover Pride wants to raise the profile of the town and is mooting an agency hire. ‘We are putting together a business plan for next year; when this admin is finished we will look for an agency,' said programme manager Richard Lawrence.

The brief will include luring property developers and businesses to Dover, promoting projects such as new sports centres, and public affairs. ‘We would like to use a local agency but our remit is national so nothing is set in stone,' said Lawrence.

Dover is struggling to attract tourists and historically has suffered high unemployment levels.

However in July, Network Rail confirmed it will fund the necessary improvements to Shakespeare Tunnel near Dover, allowing 140mph trains to travel from Dover to St Pancras in London.

Journeys between Dover and London will apparently be cut by 40 minutes because of the extension of the Rail Link service. Hourly services are planned from 2010. ‘The service will open up Dover as a potential commuter town to London,' said Lawrence.

The town's docks are also set to benefit from a £200m redevelopment scheme, announced last March. The plans will provide additional berths to help cope with the increasing traffic using the Dover-France ferries.

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