Romney Marsh Public Meeting & Folkestone College

Earlier this month I organised and hosted a public meeting at the Assembly Rooms in New Romney with Southern Water and the Environment Agency, to discuss the work they are both doing to improve bathing water quality in Hythe Bay. There were also a number of concerns to be addressed about failures with the sewage system in some residential areas on Romney Marsh, as a consequence of the heavy winter rainfalls getting into the drainage system. We can all agree that there needs to be an improved performance to tackle all of these issues, and in March the government also provided an additional £180million which can be invested now to bring forward necessary improvements to our wastewater infrastructure.

The meeting in New Romney received detailed reports from both the Environment Agency and Southern Water setting out the work they are doing to deliver the changes we need. In particular it was explained how the decline in the quality of the bathing water at St Mary’s Bay and Littlestone is due to contamination getting into the land drainage system on Romney Marsh rather than sewage discharge at sea from Southern Water. Both organisations are treating it as a priority to find the cause of this contamination, which could be from faulty connections and or the use of animal waste in agriculture, so that we can resolve this problem. It has been going on for too long now but once the source is found it can be fixed. Southern Water also committed at the meeting to closer working and information sharing with local groups, including those who swim regularly in the sea all year round. I will also update readers of this column with news as I receive it, and if you would like a copy of the presentations from the meeting please email me at and I will send them to you.

On Monday 22 April I joined Graham Razey, the Chief Executive of the East Kent Colleges group, for the official opening of the new buildings on the Folkestone College campus. This marks the amazing transformation that the college has undergone over the past decade. In 2014, the college was rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted and its future looked uncertain. Thanks to the leadership of Graham and his team, it is now rated ‘outstanding’. The College has received substantial and necessary financial investment from the Department for Education over last ten years, and this has also supported its development. The success of Folkestone College is also benefiting the development of important local industries like construction, tourism and hospitality and the creative industries. Today, the East Kent Colleges group of six colleges provides over one thousand trained young people a year to the construction sector, for example, making it the leading provider for these skills in England.

On Saturday 20 April, I was also delighted to join the Folkestone Lions Club for their annual charter night dinner, to celebrate the more than £11,000 they have raised and distributed to local organisations in the past year. Congratulations to the outgoing Lions President Jacquie Ravenscroft and everyone involved with the club for all they have achieved.

Published 22 April 2024

Copyright 2021 Damian Collins. All rights reserved

Promoted by Stephen James for and on behalf of Damian Collins, both of Folkestone & Hythe Conservative Association both at 4 West Cliff Gardens, Folkestone, Kent CT20 1SP


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