Dover makeover – trouble Kyiv + Korczowa

A closer look at the recently announced redevelopment for Dover’s docks and seafront. After a period of calm, trouble starts again in Kyiv, and on the Polish border. See any easy drive guide to the Autobahn, the latest on the TIR dispute with Russia, a solution to the hilarious A13/N13 junction in Luxembourg and another go at speed cameras in Cyprus.

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A MUCH NEEDED MAKEOVER FOR DOVER.

Proposed docks redevelopment to kickstart wider regeneration.

Artist's impression looking from the redeveloped Western Docks, Dover.

An artist’s impression looking from the redeveloped Western Docks, Dover.

Never mind the impression it gives to foreign visitors, what about the dispiriting effect the place has on Brits returning home from the holiday hotspots of Europe?

The joke that Dover sustained almost £25 worth of damage in the recent storms is a bit close to home.

The real tragedy is that away from the A20 – flanked by the brutalist County Hotel, with its fading ‘Rooms from £40’ banner, and a massive block of flats which obliterates the sea view – Dover actually has a lot going for it.

Turn left towards the high street and there’s a row of quaint Victorian shops. Along from that block of flats on the seafront is a magnificent and beautifully restored terrace of Georgian villas.

That’s not to mention the castle overlooking the town, the house prices, White Cliffs and the rolling North Downs (happily one thing visitors can never fail to see).

Just up the road is St Margaret’s Bay where Henry Royce, and Noel Coward, did a lot of their pondering.

There’s also a powerful community spirit as evidenced by the 12,000 local people who put their own money behind the still-alive People’s Port proposal.

Meanwhile, Dover Harbour Board (DHB) is doing rather well. The number of trucks was up 13% last year, and passengers up 7%, to 2.2m and 12.75m respectively. That’s almost back to pre-recession levels.DHB now hopes to leverage this upswing with an ambitious plan to redevelop both the Western and Eastern Docks on either side of the town.

The ferry business will stay in the east while all cargo operations will be shifted to the west. The work includes relocating the marina and, behind, new cafes, bars and restaurants to make the most of the new views.

Interestingly, the whole project has been conceived to go with a proposed ‘alternative transport corridor’ to the Midlands and the North (and a new Thames Crossing).

Big challenges remain. Notably absent from this latest announcement was how much it would cost, where the money was coming from and how long it would take to build. Meanwhile, relations between DHB and the People’s Port are not great.

At least now there’s something concrete for them to argue about, and the prospect of 140 jobs secured and potentially another 600 created. Whether anybody can do anything about the A20 though is another matter.

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Ukraine. What a difference a day makes. On Monday it looked like a solution was in sight but yesterday was the bloodiest day yet. A march to parliament to persuade law makers to revert back to the 2004 ‘Orange Revolution’ Constitution was met with the most sustained crackdown so far. At the time of writing, twenty five protestors and police had been killed, quadruple the entire death toll to date. The most incredible thing is how protestors have been able to stand their ground facing battalions of Berkut riot police and marauding, armed Titushki (paid thugs). Determined definitely, and well organised, but also sustained by support from the rest of the country. Last night there was a reported 200km traffic jam on the road into Kyiv from Odessa. Photo @Dbnmjr

Ukraine. What a difference a day makes. On Monday it looked like a solution was in sight but yesterday was the bloodiest day yet. A march to parliament to persuade law makers to revert back to the 2004 ‘Orange Revolution’ Constitution was met with the most sustained crackdown so far. At the time of writing, twenty five protestors and police had been killed, quadruple the entire death toll to date. The most incredible thing is how, throughout, protestors have stood their ground, faced with battalions of Berkut riot police and marauding, armed Titushki (paid thugs). Determined definitely, and well organised, but also perhaps sustained by support from the rest of the country. Last night there was a reported 200km traffic jam on the road into Kyiv from Odessa as supporters flooded in, though they were met with sand bank road blocks on all the major roads. Photo @Dbnmjr

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GERMANY. See this useful introduction to autobahn driving from Deutsche Welle. BORDER. Maidan freedom activists have reportedly blocked the border between Ukraine and Poland at Korczowa/Krakovets, on the main road between Rzeszow and Lviv. Meanwhile, the border between Ukraine and Belarus is operating normally says a statement from the Belarus State Border Guard. LUXEMBOURG. An end is in sight for the 13 year saga over the connection between the A13 and N13 at Hellange in the south. Work should start in the spring and take two years. There’s currently a gloriously heath robinson arrangement involving a tight kink in the carriageway. The govt has finally forced through a compulsory purchase order for the land. INTERNATIONAL HAULAGE. The IRU says it could withdraw TIR guarantee coverage in the Russian Federation and for Russian TIR Carnet Holders. It has sent a letter to Vladimir Putin directly. The dispute stems from last July when the FCS Federal Customs Service said it was pulling out of the cross border TIR scheme. IRU says costs have multiplied 83 fold since. CYPRUS. Speed cameras are set to make a comeback after the previous system was beset with ‘quality issues’ and dropped. Fatal crashes fell 13.7% last year.

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