Dover District Council celebrates 50 years!

Dover District Council celebrates 50 years! 2

DDC leader Cllr Kevin Mills, DDC Chairman Cllr Gordon Cowan, Chief Executive Nadeem Aziz and DDC's longest-serving employee Paul Jaconelli

DDC staff have taken part in a voluntary litter-pick to mark the council’s golden anniversary. 

Employees from across the council’s many departments cleared litter from around Whitfield in a day of action, which also tied in with the Great British Spring Clean campaign (15-31 March). 

DDC is one of a number of councils celebrating 50 years of public service since the separate municipal boroughs of Deal, Dover and Sandwich, and the rural districts of Eastry and Dover, formed to create what we now know as Dover District Council. 

DDC was named after its largest town and officially launched on April 1, 1974. 

And it’s been an eventful half century, with Royal visits, the discovery of a Bronze Age Boat and a visit from the Olympic Torch, to name just a few of the major events. 

The council has also continued to provide services for the growing population, which now stands at approximately 116,400, up from 101,000 in 1974. 

This includes: 

  • Collecting waste from every household in the district, amounting to 600,000 individual collections in a typical month 

  • Cleansing 800km of public highway and emptying more than 1,000 litter and dog waste bins 

  • Encouraging people to recycle, leading to an increase in our recycling rate from 7.67% in 2002/03 to 43.2% in 2022/23 

  • Distributing thousands of pounds in grant funding each year to help support grassroots and community groups 

  • Welcoming millions of tourists, with 61 million combined day and overnight trips in 2022, according to the most recent statistics by Visit Kent 

  • Maintaining more than 200 parks, open spaces, play areas, allotments, commons and woodlands, which attract millions of visitors every year 

  • Providing housing for approximately 4,400 tenants across the district with a range of housing 

  • Completing major projects including the new Dover District Leisure Centre, St James’ Retail and Leisure Park, and the restoration of Russell Gardens and the Grade II listed billiards room at Kearsney Abbey. 

And there’s more to come, including the £10.5m ‘reawakening’ of the Maison Dieu and the creation of the Dover Beacon, a creative centre and education campus on Bench Street. 

DDC has also continued to be a part of history, with visits from Royals, including the late Queen in 2005 when she paid a visit to the Bronze Age Boat at Dover Museum. 

The Queen Mother, who was Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, visited in 1979 to name a new Dover lifeboat, and residents turned out in force to welcome the then-Prince Charles in 2000 when he visited Aylesham Community Centre, Dover Museum, the Endeavour Centre at St Margaret’s Bay and Dover Market Square. 

Nadeem Aziz, who has been chief executive of DDC since 2002, said: “I am immensely proud of the things we’ve achieved over the years and the exciting projects we’re working on now. 

“But I’m perhaps prouder of the services we deliver on a day-to-day basis which really makes a difference to our residents. It’s often the unseen work of our staff which has the most impact. 

“We have a caring and committed workforce here at DDC who try their very best to help those living in our wonderful district and I have every confidence this will continue over the next 50 years for future generations of Dover district residents.” 

Leader Cllr Kevin Mills is the longest serving councillor at DDC, starting out in 1991. 

He said: “I’m honoured to have been a member of this council for more than 30 years and to have seen the changes, the achievements and the way we have handled the increasing challenges faced by local authorities. 

“Funding cuts and additional pressures such as the cost of living crisis and Covid means it’s not always easy and we don’t always get it right. However, we’re fortunate to have a dedicated workforce at DDC who work tirelessly to deliver services for our residents to ensure the district remains an exceptional place to live. 

“While I can safely say I won’t be here for the next 50 years, I am certain DDC will continue to serve its residents and see through the exciting projects which are currently in the pipeline.” 

DDC’s longest serving employee is Paul Jaconelli, who started out at DDC in 1976 aged 18. 

He said: “Every day is different working here and you never really know what’s going to come up. 

“It’s been exciting to be part of some of the big events, such as the Royal visits and Olympic Torch relay, helping to make sure the district is looking its best when the eyes of the world are on us. 

“For a young person wanting to start a career, there’s a variety of different areas you can work in. This variety is why I’ve stayed for so long – you never get bored!” 

Dover District Council celebrates 50 years!

Posted on 28 March 2024

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