Romney Marsh Partnership

Romney Marsh Partnership

Overview of Partnership

Established in 2012, the Romney Marsh Partnership (RMP) was formed to develop and lead the delivery of a Romney Marsh Socio-Economic Plan: an economic strategy targeted at mitigating the negative consequences of the decommissioning of the local nuclear power station operated by Magnox Ltd (Dungeness A), and in recognition of the area’s historic economic reliance on the nuclear sector. The announcement that the nuclear power station managed by EDF Energy Ltd and known as Dungeness B has stopped operating, and is entering the early stages of de-fuelling further highlights the importance of the RMP’s key objective.

Acknowledging these, and other ongoing challenges, the Partnership aims to secure a stronger economic future and improved quality of life for the Romney Marsh and the people who live, work and visit the locality. The Romney Marsh area overseen by the RMP is administered by three Local Authority Districts: Ashford, Folkestone & Hythe and Rother.

The Romney Marsh Partnership currently comprises representatives from three local District authorities of Folkestone & Hythe, Ashford and Rother, supported by input from representatives from Kent and East Sussex County Councils. Other key stakeholders include Magnox Ltd, EDF Energy Ltd, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Dungeness Site Stakeholders Group, The Marsh Academy, Romney Resource Centre, Rye Partnership, Visit Kent, EKC Group representatives from Ashford and Folkestone Colleges, Lydd (London Ashford) Airport , Bretts Group, Action with Communities in Rural Kent and the Kent Chamber of Commerce.

With no nuclear power stations now in operation in the area, the work of the Partnership has gained further importance given its role in the development of a sustainable economic strategy for the Romney Marsh. The RMP works to address current and future challenges whilst aiming to capitalise upon a range of opportunities for growth and improvement across the area so that the Romney Marsh continues to be a vibrant place to live, work and visit.

The Five Pillars

With regards to the future economic strategy for the Romney Marsh, the RMP has identified five work “Pillars” which will form the focus of future activities:

1. Maximise opportunities in the nuclear, tourism and high-value sectors.
2. Improve accessibility to enable better workforce and community mobility.
3. Encourage and support business development.
4. Realise the workforce potential through skills development.
5. Enhance infrastructure.

Click onto the sections below for further details on the Romney Marsh Partnership:

 

Statement from Patricia Rolfe - Chair of the Romney Marsh Partnership

Councillor Patricia Rolfe – New Romney Ward

‘The work of the Romney Marsh Partnership is vital to securing a better quality of life for everyone who lives in, works in, or visits this very special area. The creation of a strengthened, and sustainable local economy through the delivery, or applied support, of a range of key regeneration projects is the Partnership’s key objective and it will remain so for many years to come.’

 

 

The Romney Marsh Partnership Board

The Romney Marsh Partnership (RMP) is entering a new stage in its ongoing delivery of its Social-Economic strategy.

The RMP is an economic development partnership which brings together representatives from local government, business, training, education, and the third sector to identify needs and opportunities across a geographic area that spans the 3 Districts of Ashford, Folkestone & Hythe and Rother.  The group is chaired by Folkestone & Hythe District Councillor – Patricia Rolfe who represents New Romney Ward.   The RMP has proved itself as an effective working partnership that is delivering real change to ensure a better economic future for the Romney Marsh area.

It has been instrumental in advocating for, and enabling many transformative projects. For example, it was a key stakeholder in the development of the Romney Marsh Business Hub on the Mountfield Road Industrial Estate in New Romney.

Local Stakeholders are:

 

Nuclear SectorEDF Energy Ltd,  Magnox Ltd,  NDA (Nuclear Decommissioning Authority), SSG (Dungeness Site Stakeholders Group)

Local GovernmentAshford Borough Council, East Sussex Council, Folkestone & Hythe District Council, Kent County Council, Rother District Council

 

EducationEKC Group (Folkestone & Ashford Colleges), The Marsh Academy, Romney Resource Centre

Business –  Brett Aggregates, Kent Invicta Chamber of CommerceLydd (London Ashford) Airport,  Visit Kent,

Third SectorAction with Communities in Rural Kent, Kent Wildlife Trust, The Rye Partnership, Dungeness Site Stakeholder Group.

 

 

 

Sub Groups under the RMP Board Portfolio

Transport Group – set up to have a strategic focus on improving existing infrastructure, developing new road networks and links to neighbouring towns to access employment and education.

Skills Group – formed to focus on “Bridging Skills Gaps” and forging sustainable links with education providers and businesses locally.  To improve skills and engage with local residents to improve their ability to gain lasting employment in the future in light of feedback from local (existing and future) businesses.

Tourism Group – established  to develop strategies to help grow the local tourism sector through sustainable means by encouraging ideas for developing green projects and staycation potential.

The Romney Marsh is steeped in natural, cultural and built heritage features which all provide potential for developing nature and other themed trails, cycle and walking routes, improved water sports and sympathetically enhanced coastal resorts. The RMP is constantly reviewing ideas for the area, for example, through the support for existing and new events that engage both residents and visitors to the area.  The group aims to optimise opportunities to work with businesses to ensure the area remains a great place to live, work, visit and stay.

Projects Being Supported by the RMP

Romney Marsh Business Hub –.A new, purpose built Business Centre at Mountfield Road, New Romney. It is due to open January 2022. This Business Hub will provide space for businesses, with support provided by a dedicated on-site business advisor.

Coast Drive ‘Coastal Destination Enhancements’ – The RMP is supporting the development of this transformative project which will create a major new beachside visitor destination for the Romney Marsh at Littlestone.  The project will deliver 108 new beach chalets alongside a new visitor hub to provide a space for water sports and environmental/historical education and for water sports safety and training.  It will house fully accessible WCs including a “Changing Places” high specification facility for disabled adults, showers, and catering, with space for at least one new business. The installation of new board walks and an enhanced car park area will ensure the area is fully inclusive.

Enhancing Infrastructure – Lobbying for junction improvements at New Romney, notably the development of a roundabout at the Hammonds Corner/A259 junction and a linked Spine road from A259 into the Mountfield Road Industrial Estate, as well as improvements to the junctionat Rye A259/ Rye Harbour.

Continuous Decommissioning – working with NDA/Magnox to secure continuous decommissioning for Dungeness and release land for new economic uses.

Better Transport Links – working with local stakeholders to improve links to Ashford, Folkestone and Rye through improved public transport services and a potential community bus project – ‘Green Line Project’.

Bridging the Skills Gaps – working with education providers to support and develop skills for local people on either the Romney Marsh or access to wider skills and courses in Folkestone and Ashford. Engaging young people with business community through careers and apprenticeship initiatives.

SARMS (Sustainable Access & Recreation Management Strategy) – The SARMS action plan was produced for Folkestone & Hythe District Council (FHDC) and Rother District Council (RDC) to manage visitor impacts on sensitive sites in the Dungeness/Rye Bay area.

Broadband – working to ensure improved internet speed, upgrades of local fibre and broadband networks for to deliver a 21st Century Service for all local residents and businesses on the Romney Marsh.

Supply Chain links with Magnox/NDA/EDF – promoting awareness of opportunities for local SME’s to link into the supply chain for contracts with locally based ‘national’ businesses.

Click here for details on how to do business with Magnox Ltd

Press and Publicity

New Romney Centre means business

Folkestone & Hythe District Council news release 7th December 2021

Neil Smith, business manager for economic development at the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Councillor Patricia Rolfe of Folkestone & Hythe District Council and Councillor David Wimble of Folkestone & Hythe District Council cut the ribbon at the Launch of the New Romney Business Centre on the 7th of December on Mountfield Road, New Romney, Kent, United Kingdom.

The £2 million New Romney Business Hub has been officially opened. The centre, in Mountfield Road, will bring a range of new business and job opportunities to the Romney Marsh.

Folkestone & Hythe District Council and East Kent Spatial Development Company (EKSDC) equally contributed to the development by each funding £735,000. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s (NDA) socio-economic programme met £500,000 of the cost and provided a further £205,238 for an adviser to be based at the centre for the next four years to support local businesses.

The hub’s 14 rooms have been designed to provide flexible workspace for small businesses to grow, including new companies and those who might be operating online from home. The first businesses are due to move in early next year.

Cllr David Wimble, F&HDC Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said the project was an excellent example of collaborative working, adding: “It is so exciting to see the hub become a reality. The workspace is fantastic and will be much sought after by businesses in the area and beyond.”

Cllr Patricia Rolfe, Chair of the Romney Marsh Partnership and the New Romney Coastal Community Team, said: “This is a significant step in our ongoing efforts to develop and improve the Marsh economy for this – and future – generations and is further evidence of the benefit of collaborative and strategic partnership engagement.”

Debbie Spalding, Chief Executive of EKSDC, said: “We are delighted to be involved in the delivery of this joint venture project which opens up employment opportunities to the Romney Marsh by providing high-quality office space to local businesses.”

Neil Smith, Economic Development Manager for the NDA, said: “We look forward to this hub becoming a focus for new business activity and economic growth in the area. We and Magnox are very happy to have been involved in its creation along with our partners.”

A new grant scheme utilising funds recovered from the Marsh Million of up to £248,641 has been designed by F&HDC to support businesses taking up space in the hub. Grants of up to £10,000 (or more in exceptional circumstances) are available for the fit-out of a bespoke design tailored to business needs, new furniture, office accessories and ICT equipment. Click here for further details and how to apply.

Opposite the hub, work is well underway on the construction of a new business park on the remaining five hectares of council-owned land on the estate and is due for completion in February next year.

F&HDC was awarded a £3.5 million Getting Building Fund award from central government in summer 2020 to service the site through a new access road and utilities. This will provide new places for local and new businesses to the area to develop their own units, bringing some 500 jobs over the next 10 years. The project has been supported by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, Kent County Council and the Kent and Medway Economic Partnership.

Businesses interested in the space offered at the New Romney Business Hub can email debbie.spalding@eksdc.co.uk for more information.

The Launch of the New Romney Business Centre on the 7th of December on Mountfield Road, New Romney, Kent, United Kingdom.

 

Meeting the specialist behind the Romney Marsh Partnership

Article from Romney Marsh Community Ad Magazine Winter 2021

On the 7th September, Folkestone & Hythe District Council announced that the Romney Marsh Partnership (RMP) is entering a new stage in its ongoing development with the appointment of Senior Specialist Linda Marsh.

This partnership role has been jointly funded for the next three years to maintain the momentum of the important work of the RMP to bring forward new economic regeneration projects in the area.

CommunityAd were able to catch up with Linda and discuss the RMP including short- and long-term goals, her position as Senior Specialist and ask just how important the regeneration of Romney Marsh is?

Can you inform readers about the RMP and the goals you have for it short and long term?

The Romney Marsh Partnership (RMP) was established in 2012 in response to the closure of the Magnox nuclear power station (Dungeness A). The Partnership had a clear focus to create a Delivery Plan: an economic strategy targeted at mitigating the negative consequences of decommissioning. The RMP aims to secure a stronger economic future for the Romney Marsh area and the people who live and work there. The Romney Marsh area covered by the RMP is mostly rural and administered by three local authority districts: Folkestone & Hythe, Ashford and Rother. My short term aims are to build relationships with the board members, ensure project ideas are sustainable for the long-term community benefit and work with the various sub-groups that report to the main Partnership Board.

There are currently 3 sub-groups working on projects linked to Tourism, Developing Skills and Transport. All of the work undertaken aims to build a strong economic future for the area.

My long-term goals are to see project ideas through from their early stages of development right through to fruition. For example, at present, I am working on the Littlestone Coastal Destination Project and the Green Line Community Bus project. A transformational project such as the Littlestone Coastal Destination Project will bring a new lease of life to the area, and bring much needed revenue to the local businesses, whilst helping to release tourism pressure on other environmentally sensitive sites such as Dungeness. The RMP was a key stakeholder and advocate in the multi-million-pound development of the new Romney Marsh Business Hub that is about to open its door to new businesses in January 2022

What does your specialist role include and how have you enjoyed it so far?

My role is to work closely with the board to drive these project ideas forward, build on relationships within in the area and seek funding opportunities to bring long-term sustainable, economic regeneration to the community. The role is exciting and challenging, no day is the same as before.

The contract is for three years, so lots to do in that time. I enjoy the role immensely, my background is business and education, so I feel I have a sound understanding of many challenges the area is facing.

How important in the regeneration of Romney Marsh?

The regeneration of the area is vital, The Partnership, chaired by Folkestone & Hythe District Councillor – Patricia Rolfe, has a strong presence within the area. With recent announcements on the future of the Nuclear Site at Dungeness B, the work of the RMP is of even greater importance. The Romney Marsh is unique, with its interesting and atmospheric landscape, as well as being a place people are proud to be associated with. There is an active and enterprising population here who are eager to get involved in improving the area.

The Romney Marsh Partnership aims to address future challenges and capitalise upon the opportunities so that Romney Marsh becomes an even better place to live, work and visit.

What are the current RMP updates if there are any?

With regards to the future economic strategy for the Romney Marsh, the RMP has identified five “Pillars” which will form the focus of future activities:

1. Maximise opportunities in the nuclear, tourism and high-value sectors.
2. Improve accessibility to enable better workforce and community mobility.
3. Encourage and support business development.
4. Realise the workforce potential through skills development.
5. Enhance infrastructure

The RMP’s approach has also been to focus on a smaller number of more transformational projects, such as the ones I referred to above, which would have greater impact locally

Cllr Rolfe leads the Partnership, she is a driver of positive change for the area, working collaboratively with Partnership stakeholders, she has some exciting plans which will transform and improve the area for the long-term, economic benefit of the Romney Marsh community. It is my role to work with her and our Partnership’s members to deliver these changes. Below is a web link that will have all the latest news and information on the Partnership for any readers’ interest.

 

 

 

Contact Us

For further information regarding the work of the Romney Marsh Partnership please email the RMP’s Senior Specialist Co-ordinator at Folkestone & Hythe District Council       linda.marsh@folkestone-hythe.gov.uk

 

 

 

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