A Dover mum says a scheme to help new businesses get started before setting up shop in the high street is "what the town needs". Rachel Devlin, from Blenheim Drive, bumped into me and Dover District Council leader Keith Morris in town on Thursday (July 26th).
She asked what the former Co-op store in Stembrook, recently acquired by DDC, was going to be used for. We explained that the council is working with Dover Big Local to turn the site into "starter spaces" for new small local start ups – before they set up shop in the town. Rachel said: "I think it sounds amazing. It's what the town needs."
We also talked about how the number of homeless people in Dover had significantly reduced this year. Walking through Pencester Gardens, we chatted to a local police officer on patrol as part of Operation Urban. This is a joint crackdown by Kent Police and DDC on street drinking and antisocial behaviour in the town centre. So far three people have been arrested – and two charged. Kent Police has issued Community Protection Warnings to five people. Two have been served a formal Community Protection Notice. One person also received a Fixed Penalty Notice for breaching the Public Spaces Protection Order.
Keith and I then popped in to see Dover Town Team chairman John Angell in his jewellery shop for a chat about the plans for the former Co-op and boosting the high street. It's fantastic to see that Dovorians are excited about the plans to help new businesses set up in town. Cllr Morris has shown real energy and drive to build on the success of St James and boost Dover town centre. What's more, the council and police have listened to the community's concerns and cracked down on street drinking and anti-social behaviour. Things are improving – yet we must keep fighting to support our high street.
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