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01.06.20

Dover District Council's £2.5m plan to support town centres

Cabinet members at Dover District Council are set to meet on June 1 to decide a number of new budget measures, including a £2.5m support package for town centres.

The fiscal challenges faced as a result of the coronavirus crisis have resulted in a revised budget proposal from the District Council, as the budget pressure for 2020/21 reaches a forecasted £5.3m for the authority.

So far, central Government has set £1.2m aside for Dover District Council to cope with the additional pressures and income decline over the past few months.

With Government plans to reopen non-essential retail on June 15, the authority has ring-fenced £2.5m to support town centres as they reopen and recover.

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

“Thanks to prudent financial management, we’ve been able to maintain our core public services throughout the pandemic and are now looking to see how we can best support the local economy as we adapt to a new normal.

“As we look to a cautious re-opening of our high streets, we want to do everything we can to support local traders.  We are proposing a £2.5m fund in this new budget to support initiatives to regenerate our town centres.

“Of course, we can all do our bit for the local economy by returning to our high streets in a responsible way to shop locally.”

In addition, the Council has invested £1.5m in match-funding for the restoration of the oldest and most prominent public historic building in the town centre, The Maison Dieu.

The money will support a £4.2m bid to the National Lottery Heritage Fund, with the second round bid for the £8.9m project awaiting a decision due for October 2020.

Cllr Bartlett added:

“The restoration and rejuvenation of the Maison Dieu as a heritage and events venue has the potential to kick-start the regeneration of this part of Dover town centre.”

The revised budget will require £4.6m in savings, through the capital programme of major projects and a £1m programme of asset disposal, with the potential for additional borrowing being reviewed.

LISTEN: LORD KERSLAKE - A GRADUAL EROSION OF LOCAL AUTONOMY

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