Residents of Dover have given a massive thumbs-down to Dover Harbour Board’s privatisation plans. In a referendum organised by the Dover People’s Port Trust, 5,244 voted for a port owned by the people of Dover, with just 113 against the idea. Organised by Dover District Council, with a 25 per cent turn-out among the 21,000 people eligible to vote, the result, although non-binding on the government, was a negative reaction to DHB’s privatisation plans.
Local Member of Parliament Charlie Elphicke commented: ‘I hope this will give strength to the campaign to ensure the port of Dover is owned by the people of Dover.’ He said there is a strong case to the Secretary of State for Transport that residents’ voices should be listened to.A decision is still awaited following last year’s request from Dover Harbour Board, which has run the port as a trust since 1606, for permission to privatise. A port spokesperson said: ‘We will reflect on the result of this Dover town poll, but remain absolutely convinced that our voluntary scheme represents the best and only option.’