10 APR 2014

Latest Developments 10th April

Local news very positive about the effect of the changes announced by the Hon. Stephen Hammond MP Minister for Transport on the 9th April at the Marina Hotel in Dover. http://kentonline.newspaperdirect.com/epaper/viewer.aspx

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28 NOV 2013

Your Town, Your Port, Your Future, Your Decision

The below extract by Simon Finlay is from Dover Express 28/11/13

A COMMUNITY port proposal should be put to the residents of Dover in a referendum, MP Charlie Elphicke has claimed.

Mr Elphicke spoke after the visit of Ports Minister Stephen Hammond on Monday.

Mr Hammond had a series of one-to-one meetings at the Dover Marina Hotel with town leaders in a bid to gauge local feeling as he considers the future of the port.

Mr Elphicke, who is a vocal supporter of the People's Port community sale idea, said: "The minister will be looking actively at all options now. But I do feel that if a proposal, whatever it might be, is proposed that it should be is put to the people in a referendum for them to decide.


"I welcomed the minister's visit and it's really important that he listens to all interested parties in charting the way forward. There is a real opportunity here to secure the future of the port and transform the docks, harbour areas and regenaerate other parts of the town."

Dover Harbour Board, the People's Port, ferry companies, Dover District Council and the town council all had audiences with the minister.

A DHB spokesman said chief executive Tim Waggott spent aboutround 40 minutes with Mr Hammond.

He added: "It was a good, positive discussion. They talked about the thriving performance of the port and our regeneration vision."

People's Port spokesman Neil Wiggins said: "It was a very positive set of meetings. I believe the minister heard all that he needed to hear."

In his weekly Dover Express, Mr Elphicke writes: "I feel it is essential that Dover becomes a form of community port."

Read more: http://www.dover-express.co.uk/Dover-people-decide-town-s-future-referendum/story-20228283-detail/story.html#ixzz2lwgghRbh

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08 NOV 2013

Minister Takes a Personal Interest

A Statement from the Hon. Stephen Hammond MP, Under Secretary of State for Transport with special responsibility for ports and shipping has been issued this morning.

The statement which confirms the current Chairman of DHB, George Jenkins, as Chair effective January 1st 2014 and goes on to emphasise the importance of the port to the nation is reproduced in full below.

"Shipping and Ports Minister Stephen Hammond has today (8 November 2013) re-appointed George Jenkins as Chair of the Dover Harbour Board. The appointment will take effect on 1 January 2014.

This follows the minister's decision earlier this year to refresh the board through the appointment of 3 new non-executive directors with special responsibilities: Erik Ostergaard for port marine operations, Frank Martin for local partnerships, and Bob Lane for regeneration.

Mr Hammond praised the work that has been done by the refreshed board and executive team in improving relationships with port users, and re-launching engagement with the local community. He noted that this major port has continued to operate effectively and efficiently, as we all saw during the recent storm.

Mr Hammond said:

I am keen that Dover Harbour Board builds on the foundations put in place over recent months, and ensures the port's position as a significant part of our transport infrastructure, both now and in the future.

There is more to be done to ensure that one of the UK's major ports realises all possibilities of regeneration for the town and citizens of Dover. I intend to make sure that this happens, and that all parties are properly involved to achieve what we all want – a thriving Dover.

The minister plans to visit Dover later this year, to see first hand what has worked well since his last visit to the port in January, and to understand what more might be achieved.

He intends to hold discussions with interested parties, to inform ongoing work on how government, the port, its users, and the local community can best interact for the benefit of all."

The DPPT is very pleased to read of the Minister's personal involvement with and commitment to ensuring that the port realises all possibilities to deliver a thriving Dover and look forward to being able to welcome and meet with him when he comes to Dover.

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18 SEP 2013

AGM 2013 Dover Town Hall

The AGM 2013 of DPPT held on the 13th September 2013 at Dover Town Hall

Chairman's Statement and report:

Chairman reported on the events and work of the DPPT throughout 2012 and its collaborations with UNITE the union, the Port's Users, workforce, Town Councillors and the membership of DPPT; the preparation and presentation of consultation documents for the Department of Transport and the level of personal representations which eventually led to the rejection of the DHB's private equity sale plans on 20th December 2012. The Chair thanked the membership for their personal engagement with the consultation process. The Chair went on to make a brief statement about what has been happening since the end of 2012 – the detailed examination of the decision Minister's statement and letter leading to the formulation and presentation to Government of several strong representations on behalf of the communities of the Dover area and the membership of the Trust about the future ownership and Governance of the port. The Chair expressed his vision that investment into the Town and a new pro-active partnership between port and town could be achieved and that the new approach by the Executive and Board of the DHB towards customer and community relations was most encouraging.

Good news this morning 20th December 2012 for all DPPT members, the communities of Dover and Deal, the Port's workforce and the Port's users, The Minister of State for Transport, Simon Burns MP, announced his decision to refuse permission for the Dover Harbour Board to sell the port to private owners from where ever. The full text of the decision can be found by clicking here

02 JUL 2012

Investment Strategy

Here we outline the principles of the investment strategy for RegenCo and reflect the current stage of evolution around the role that RegenCo will play in the Dover local area. RegenCo's overriding strategy will be to facilitate and promote the regeneration of Dover. RegenCo will be operated by a chief executive assisted by a very small team of employees who will have the following broad responsibilities:

Negotiate, structure and invest in assets and projects that fit within the agreed investment strategy Where appropriate, secure co-investments for the identified projects, leveraging maximum available investment from public funding sources such as EBRD ,and ensure that the value of RegenCo is maximised at all times. Monitor compliance and risk. Recommend and manage appropriate exit strategies from investments.

The investment strategy covers the following four areas:

Focus of investment – outlining the type of projects targeted by RegenCo - Nature of investment – reviewing the way in which RegenCo can invest in projects - Appraisal – the criteria by which RegenCo will select investments - Performance – the options for return rates targeted by RegenCo

Focus of Investment

Policy rationale –The fundamental criteria would be to focus on projects that facilitate and promote the regeneration of Dover and , generally, they will be expected to provide an acceptable financial return (as discussed further below).

It is suggested that RegenCo should not be just a vehicle for charitable donations like the Lottery fund. Were it to be structured that way, it would be unmanageable and unless limited to donations out of income would have a very finite existence. It is instead recommended that RegenCo is structured as a growing sustainable fund where capital is ultimately recycled and increased, leveraging further and further regeneration. Because the Trust will be mutually owned and is concerned predominantly with the regeneration of Dover, RegenCo's attitude to investment risk may well be different to a more traditional investment vehicle. Decisions to invest in projects, although supported by the need to create a cyclical fund to invest further, are likely to consider the outcomes of the specific projects in terms of social and economic impact, as well as the potential return. It would also take into considerations whether projects have been identified as a part of the wider development frameworks by Dover District Council and other local masterplans.

Geographic rationale – The recommendation is that RegenCo's investment strategy should be primarily focused on Dover itself rather than the wider district and that within Dover there should be a bias, at least initially, towards investments within the town centre and Waterfront as those will create maximum impact. Target projects – RegenCo aims to focus development initially on the Waterfront and other property assets currently owned by the Harbour Board. It will also seek to invest in other projects that can generate an acceptable return, as well as supporting the broader economic development goals. These will be further supplemented by smaller investments in business support, community engagement and other public realm improvements. Detail on target projects are further explained in Sample Projects.

Nature of Investment

The fund will have four main investment categories:

Capital Investment in RegenCo's own property assets to improve income and capital returns. Equity – providing actively-managed but longer term investment usually in property, land or development projects, primarily focusing on capital returns from the exit of the investment. Equity investments are expected to be made for commensurate return. It is also expected that investments will not generally be long term 'holding position' investments though DPPT/ RegenCo will always retain the freehold to key waterfront sites . Typical investment life would be no more than 5 years.Loans – these could comprise fixed term and/ or contingent repayment terms. RegenCo will assess each investment on merit and apply a credit scoring process to 'price' each loan against suitable market / commercial drivers. Grant – expected to be a relatively small component of the fund, grants or subsidy arrangements may be made for projects that meet the fund's criteria for community development and wherever possible serve to leverage returns from RegenCo's commercial investments. If so, project outputs will generally be tied to the grant award, which will be clawed-back if some/all of the outputs are not achieved. See further detail in, Strategy implementation - Business Support, Community Engagement and Public Realm Improvements.

RegenCo will be expected to seek directly or encourage relevant public sector bodies to seek external sources of funds (generally public sector) for which RegenCo and others can then provide match funding. Examples could include:

European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

The ERDF is focused on reducing economic disparities within and between member states by supporting economic regeneration and safeguarding jobs.

All ERDF funded projects must:-

be located in the eligible area;contribute to one or more of the programme objectives;identify and provide details of clear and attainable targets;demonstrate an additional and sustainable benefit to the socio-economic development of the area;have a sound funding package in place, identifying the recipient of the funds and the sources of match funding;not duplicate existing activity, but could extend such activity;not be a substitute for existing or planned domestic expenditure;respect State Aid rules; andfollow public procurement rules where applicable.

Since 2000, England has benefited from more than €5bn of ERDF funding, with a further €3.2bn being invested in projects for the current round of programmes (2007-13). These programmes are designed to meet current needs by targeting employment, small and medium-sized enterprises, innovation, high-tech business investment, among other key priorities identified by each region.Although £1.4bn of funding theoretically remains available to applicants ,the eligible geographic asreas for the 2007-13 programme are already finalised and with the end of the current programme period approaching, any major new project is more likely to need to come within the 2014 &ff round of programmes. The programmes for the 2014 period have not yet been agreed.

The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is aimed at economic regeneration projects promoted primarily by the public sector. This involves government departments,regional development agencies,local authorities,further and higher education establishments,other public bodies and voluntary sector organisations.The private sector can also promote high quality projects that meet ERDF objectives generally in partnership with a public sector body.

The operational programmes cover specific geographical areas and are aimed at supporting economic regeneration in areas in need. This is through projects in the areas of innovation, business support and sustaining communities. ERDF helps projects which offer substantial benefits that meet the needs of the region and its local areas that wouldn't take place without a grant. The rest of the funding, known as 'match funding', comes from other sources such as: local authorities, government schemes, other public bodies and the private sector.

Local authorities have traditionally received considerable financial support through the ERDF and in the future the approved local enterprise partnerships (LEP's)are expected to also receive funds. Currently, SEEDA as the regional development agency is the conduit for sifting and advising on potential projects and their eligibility for ERDF funding before submission to the Department of Communities and Local Government which manages the ERDF programme in the UK.With SEEDA closing, it is assumed that this responsibility will pass to the relevant LEP.The new "Kent , Greater Essex and East Sussex" LEP has just been implemented in April 2011.

Tax Increment Financing(TIF) Scheme

TIF allows a local authority to borrow money to fund improvements to local infrastructure. These improvements to local infrastructure are used to enable more development in an area, and increase the amount of business rates that the council gets. The amount the council borrowed under TIF is then paid back from the increased amount of income it makes from these higher rates.

The Government announced in Autumn 2010 that tax increment financing will be introduced in England. TIF has been a popular form of regeneration funding in the United States for decades, and the Scottish Executive has already approved Scotland's first scheme and is considering a number of others. In the UK context, TIF can offer a solution for regeneration projects which depend on the delivery of a piece of infrastructure for which funding cannot be found from other, public or private, sources.

TIF is in its embryonic phase in the UK so it is not yet clear how popular and successful it will be.It is interesting to note that one of the first TIF-funded schemes in the UK was a waterfront development project. In September 2010 ,the City of Edinburgh Council gave backing to use tax increment financing (TIF) to support investment worth £84m on the Scottish capital's waterfront.The Scottish Government Finance Secretary John Swinney was quoted as saying that the government-backed plan to use TIF funding to support the development of a cruise liner terminal, lock gates and a link road in Edinburgh could lead to private investment in the area worth £660m and create up to 4,900 jobs.

The other key issue is flexibility. There is a broad range of schemes which TIF could unlock, and different schemes will almost certainly need different solutions – as regards the allocation of risk (between central government, local government and the private sector), the source of upfront funding (from the Public Works Loan Board, the debt markets or a developer's existing resources), and other aspects. It is vital that the way TIF is implemented does not limit what is possible in a way that prevents the use of TIF for schemes where it would make sense – and the sooner the government sets out its developing thinking in some detail, the better.

Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises (JEREMIE)

Appraisal of Investment

The Chief Executive of RegenCo will be responsible for undertaking appropriate levels of due diligence/ underwriting of each investment opportunity prior to presenting a recommendation to RegenCo's board. The exact requirements of each project investment will vary, but key principles should be present in each appraisal by the Chief Executive:

Financial modelling of the project 'base case', plus variant options and sensitivities to illustrate the impact of risks and market variations on the performance of the project.Market analysis for the context of the project.Economic impact assessment to show the potential impacts on the community.Draft term sheet/ investment agreement that includes a clear identification of the project terms and the nature of any security being taken.Summaries of other investors.Key points of contact with the project, key individuals delivering the project, track record and credibility of the project promoters.Adequate and appropriate internal controls, accounting and reporting procedures for the project.Risk assessment.

Performance of Investments

It will be important for DPPT to set specific investment return targets (e.g. around risk adjusted returns, payback periods, etc.) and potentially other objective non-financial regeneration benefits to the community (e.g. increase in aggregate business rates for Dover town, number of jobs created, etc.).

It is also recommended that guidelines be set for dates by which the fund should be invested e.g. £10m within 12 months, £25m within 18 months and £40m within 24 months but always subject to the target return criteria being met and in the recognition that it may be impracticable to be overly prescriptive on timing.

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Dover Town Referendum (Parish Poll) Result

The Question: "Do you oppose the private sale of the Port of Dover as proposed by the Dover Harbour Board and support its transfer to the community of Dover instead?"

The Answer:       

Yes = 5244

No = 113

 Spoiled papers = 22

Turnout  25%

 97.5% in favour of Communitisation, a People's Port.

Separate Polls have been conducted by The Dover Society and the UNITE union.

Results for onboard polls are unknown as yet, but the Dover Society Poll and UNITE Poll results are below:

Dover Society Poll:  

Yes = 264

No = 11

Abstain = 3

Replies from 62.6% of members

94.96% in favour of Communitisation, a People's Port.


UNITE asked two questions in the poll that they conducted and the results are expressed as a percentage of those members who responded.

Are You Against Privatisation of the Port of Dover as Proposed by the Dover Harbour Board?

93% of respondents said that, yes they were against the privatisation.

Are You in Favour of the Transfer of the Port of Dover to Community Ownership?

88% of respondents said that, yes they were in favour of Communitisation.

View comments

Why weren't communities surrounding Dover allowed to vote?
- John

John, This was a Parish poll called by the residents of Dover Town. Under the existing Local Government Act, only councils with parish powers can call such a poll, this means that it is not possible to call a district wide poll. The procedure to call such a poll is that residents must collect sufficient signatures on a petition to call a parish meeting with a specific purpose in mind and present the petition to their parish clerk. The parish council must then convene a parish meeting to discuss the issue and to pass a motion. The motion is passed at the Parish meeting by attracting votes in favour of the motion by 10 parish residents or one third of those present, whichever is smaller. Dover Town has so far been the only council with parish powers in the district which has undergone this process and so is the only one that has had a poll and only residents of the parish which has called such a poll may vote in it. Should residents in other parishes wish to conduct a parish poll in their own parishes, then they will need to go through the same process as Dover Town did.
- Neil Wiggins

Post a comment

We have established a community trust - the Dover People's Port Trust Limited ("People's Port Trust"). Anyone can donate to help our cause and everyone will be welcome to invest in our project. Anyone living in the Dover District will be able to become a member and have a stake in the future of our community. The photo is the community bid being delivered to the Prime Minister at No 10 Downing Street. A summary of what we hope to achieve can be found here.

We believe the gateway to the nation should not be sold off overseas. We want to see investment that is needed to make the best of the port for everyone living in Dover and for the UK as a whole. Our vision is to create a new partnership between the town, port and ferry companies - a partnership that will make Dover a really amazing place for travel, to visit and enjoy.

Bid launch video

Please donate now!

We need your help. We are raising a fighting fund to help our bid. Please click below to contribute or donate. Or send a cheque made out to "The Dover People's Port Trust Limited" at the address below.

We really value your help and support. Please help us to make the difference.

Get in touch!

Do phone, write or email. Please call 01204 211570 or write to:

Dover People's Port Trust Limited
c/o Dover Chamber of Commerce, Chasing Mackerel Business Centre
Stonewood Road
Kent CT12 2FG

Twitter: @DoverPP

Facebook: Dover People's Port

Click contacts here for more details.

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