Seaside town taken over by ‘German cruise ships and Romanian lorry drivers’

Migrant small boats cross The Channel on record breaking day

Despite being sandwiched between two shipping terminals and not having a grain of sand in sight, in the blistering August heat Dover beach was packed. 

The crowd was somewhat unconventional, German tourists whose giant cruise ships had docked for the night licked ice creams, whilst Romanian truck drivers on a layover shared a cigarette. In between, locals sunbathed on the stones and swam in the green water. 

As lists of seaside holiday destinations go, this Kent town is rarely troubling the likes of St Ives or Southwold for top spot. That’s not a slight, the white cliffs aside, this has always been a strategic rather than a scenic place.

Its two main tourist attractions Dover Castle and the Western Heights, are evidence of that rich heritage, both established as defences against invaders from nearby France.

However, the mid-2000s the 1,000-year association with the military was consigned to the past with troops moved to other parts of the country. 

READ MORE Watch small boats crossing the channel in record numbers

Local councillor Pat Heath was one of those who warned the 2006 relocation of the Parachute Regiment to Wales was “not the best idea” after such a long period of them “protecting the gateway to Europe”.

Concerns about the need for military defences have so far proved unfounded, but according to locals, the impact of the army being moved away on the town’s character is still keenly felt.

The departure of the paratroopers was compounded they say with a huge reduction in the number of Gukhas-soldiers from Nepal who fight for the British army-in the local area,

“You’d never recognise it to what used to be,” said Jamie Lawrence, 93. “All the Gukhas and paratroopers used to mix up with each other in the pubs around here, it was brilliant. Not now.”

Lawrence who spent decades living on the South Coast, blames the departure of the army units for creating a vacuum that caused a rampant growth of unemployment.

“There’s hardly any work around here,” he added, wearily. 

Like many seaside towns, Dover has an older-than-average population, which has contributed to a remarkably high number of economically inactive people.

Around a third of Dover’s population are not in employment or looking to work. This figure includes retirees, homemakers, students, the permanently sick or unable to work. A number significantly above both national regional averages.

Another long-time resident, Paul Gordon Phillips, said the lack of work had contributed to a serious issue with homelessness in Dover.

“You come down in the morning early and people are sleeping on the benches in the town and shelters on the seafront,” he told

“About four or five years ago it was really bad about 10-15 people were sleeping in the shelters. I used to bring them hot dogs and hamburgers because they’d started charging for the soup kitchens.”

Gordon Phillips says the number of people he saw on the streets reduced around Covid-19 but has been creeping up recently.

The local authority has been attempting to tackle homelessness which historically has been amongst the highest in Kent identifying the drivers behind it in a report published in 2020.

Amongst the reasons cited were average earnings not keeping pace with property prices over the last 10 years and a lack of availability of social housing.

Don’t miss…
The pretty UK seaside town ‘being ruined’ by spiralling fly-tipping scandal[REVEAL]
The beautiful seaside village where locals and rich second homers are ‘at war'[ANALYSIS]
Seaside town ‘being ruined by teenage yobs’ leaving locals terrified[INSIGHT]

Terminal decline

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

The ferry terminal in Dover is inescapable. As the starting point for many a continental family holiday or jumping-off point for a booze cruise to France, it is a place that will conjure happy memories for many Brits.

Recently, however, the many vehicles passing through Dover have been making anything but a positive impression. Slow customs processes have caused gridlock on the town’s roads. 

For elderly residents like Lawrence, who is also nearly blind, having the town filled with lorries crawling bumper to bumper cause makes it almost unlivable.

“That road over there,” he said gesturing to the main thoroughfare where the lorries come through, “there’s no way I’d cross it. You take your life in your hands when you cross that road. The foreign lorry drivers, they look at the traffic lights and see Christmas lights, they aren’t stopping.” 

As well as a lot of traffic living beside the main entry point to the UK for European lorry drivers has provided the 93-year-old with some bizarre experiences.

On one occasion he was approached by two men climbing out the back of a lorry, the pair apparently having smuggled themselves in from the continent.

“One bloke come up to me and said ‘Excuse me what part of Canada is this?’ I said ‘you what? This is England’ he goes ‘the lorry driver told us this was Canada,’” he added with a laugh.

Immigration is, of course, another of the town’s contemporary features, housing both a major migrant processing centre and being on a stretch of coast where small boat landings take place.

But both Lawrence and Gordon Phillips are agreed, Rishi Sunak’s insistence his government will ‘stop the small boats’ looks pretty feeble compared to the many historical examples that Dover has of dominating the seas.

“If they could stop the Germans and Napoleon, then they could stop them, it suits them to keep them coming,” Lawrence added.

Got a TIP for a STORY? Email [email protected]

Source: Read Full Article