Dover Fastrack is a new bus rapid transit system that will connect Whitfield, Dover town centre and Dover Priory Station, to provide a reliable, high-quality, and frequent bus service. The buses will have priority over other traffic on the route.
The Dover Fastrack will use existing roads, new roads, and dedicated busways. It will link:
- the proposed housing developments of Whitfield Urban Expansion and Connaught Barracks
- White Cliffs Business Park
- the new leisure centre
- Dover Castle.
Fastrack will be Kent’s first zero emission bus service with a fleet of new electric buses.
Planning permission was granted in March 2021. The project is being delivered by Kent County Council (KCC) working in partnership with Dover District Council.
Before the service starts to operate in late summer 2023 there will be new and improved infrastructure including:
- Section 1 - a new bus, cycle and pedestrian only bridge to cross the A2 and link to Honeywood Parkway (Tesco Roundabout) and phase 1 of the Whitfield Urban Expansion development north of the A2.
- Section 2 - a new link road through White Cliffs Business Park between Honeywood Parkway (B&Q Roundabout) and Dover Road.
- Section 3 - localised widening and improvements to Dover Road from the Duke of York Royal Military School to the A258 Castle Hill Road junction.
- New pedestrian and cycle facilities along the lengths of section 1 and section 2.
- Bus gates enforced by Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras positioned:
- either side of the new bridge in section 1
- at the eastern end of section 2 at the junction with Dover Road
- where the route connects to Archers Court Road at the northern end of the new housing development.
The Dover Fastrack project will be funded by:
- £22.9 million grant from Homes England (awarded to Dover District Council through the Housing Infrastructure Fund designed to help stimulate new housing growth in Whitfield and at the former Connaught Barracks site)
- £1.42 million from Dover District Council
- £9.5 million from the Department for Transports’ Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme (secured by KCC, the funding is for electric buses and the required charging infrastructure for the existing Fastrack Kent Thameside services and the proposed Dover Fastrack service).
Dover District Council’s Local Development Core Strategy, which was adopted in 2010, identified new housing developments at Whitfield Urban Expansion (5,750 new homes) and Connaught Barracks (500 new homes). A bus rapid transit system is a key aspect of the transport needs for the development and to mitigate traffic impacts. It will use the primary roads in the development, link to a new bridge over the A2, to the town centre and Dover Priory Station.
The Environment & Transport Cabinet Committee gave approval for the scheme to proceed on 8th August 2019 (decision number 19/00053). A further report was presented to the committee and endorsed in July 2021.
The forecast timescales for this scheme are:
- award of contractor – January 2022
- commencement on site – February 2022
- completion – late summer 2023.
A key element of the scheme is a new bridge over the A2 for Fastrack vehicles. The planning permission includes:
- ramps at the approach to the bridge
- sections of new road through the White Cliffs Business Park and Whitfield Urban Expansion.
Land has already been obtained for the new bridge and associated ramps, and for the new road through White Cliffs Business Park. A compulsory purchase order (CPO) is required to secure:
- the remaining land needed for phase 1 of the Whitfield Urban Expansion
- some small parcels of land and unregistered land at the junction connection with Dover Road at Guston.
A CPO means we can deliver the programme and use the grant funding before the end availability date of December 2023.
We can use a CPO, a legal mechanism, to acquire land without the consent of the owner for strategic infrastructure improvements which are in the public interest. They can help to bring about improvements to social, economic and environmental wellbeing.