On 7th September 2021, 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 Romney Marsh Partnership 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 is 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.
- Maximise opportunities in the nuclear, tourism and high-value sectors.
- Improve accessibility to enable better workforce and community mobility.
- Encourage and support business development.
- Realise the workforce potential through skills development.
- 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.