Enjoy the Views While You Can


If Dover Harbour Board has its way, these views will soon be lost for ever.

  Sitting here on the western end of the promenade on a warm day you can watch people swimming, rowing and sailing in the harbour; children playing on the beach.  Through the western entrance you can see the coast of France and the many ships that sail up and down the Straights of Dover between the North Sea and the Channel.  Alternatively, you can take a stroll along the Prince of Wales pier and watch the people fishing; maybe stop at the cafe on the end of the pier for a cup of tea or a light lunch.  But not for much longer if Dover Harbour Board has its way, which it usually does.

This view was somewhat spoiled in the late 1970s by the building of the new hoverport, when the open ironwork of the Prince of Wales Pier was filled in with steel plating and concrete, blocking the view under the pier and closing the North pier to public access.

It is now threatened again by the Harbour Board's expansion plans.  If permission is granted for the current plans, the lighthouse at the end of the Prince of Wales pier will be removed, and three new roll-on-roll-off ferry berths will be built on the eastern side of the pier, parallel to the promenade, totally blocking this view.  A further terminal will be constructed on the western side of the pier, facing out to sea.

The area of beach shown in the picture will be lost when the yacht marina, which currently occupies the Wellington Dock and the Tidal Basin, is moved into an area enclosed the Prince of Wales pier, the new terminals, and a new pier.

  The proposals will see the Wellington Dock land-locked, with apartments and shops surrounding dead water.  The boats will be gone and there is a suggestion to extract "grey" water for flushing toilets in the new terminals.  The River Dour flows into the dock through an underground pipe at the eastern end.
  The Granville Dock and Tidal Basin will be reclaimed to provide access roads and shore-side facilities for the new terminals as well as a shopping complex.  Proposals have been made to re-site the boat yard to the base of the Admiralty Pier.

The Harbour Board claims this expansion, planned for completion around 2013, is essential to cope with the increased demand for freight lorries crossing the Channel.  They claim that the development will bring some 2,600 jobs to the area and, along with the St James's redevelopment, help kick-start the regeneration of the town.

Past experience suggests that the combined proposals will cause further deterioration of the town centre as people are drawn to the new facilities, causing what few shops remain in the High Street to go out of business.

Also, unless a large area of countryside off the A20 is turned into a lorry park, problems such as French strikes and high winds will continue to cause havoc on the M20 as Operation Stack has to cope with ever increasing numbers of lorries.