Last Friday I met with my constituency neighbour, the MP for Hasting and Rye, Amber Rudd, and the Environment Agency, to discuss the Folkestone to Cliff End flood defence strategy. Over the last ten years over £130million has been invested in the coastal defences to protect the Romney Marsh area and the communities that live there. This has included the completion of the new Dymchurch sea wall, the Broomhill Sands defence scheme, and the placement of rock groynes with the shingle beach recharge, between St Mary’s Bay and Littlestone. The purpose for these works is to ensure that the coastal flood defences are suitable to protect homes and business for the next 100 years. The next important phase in these ongoing works will be to upgrade the sea defences along the southern edge of the Ministry of Defence ranges at Lydd. The Romney Marsh coast has to be defended at all points because of the low-lying land, with some of it sitting below sea level. Without this, a major storm would have the potential to cause flooding by breaking through at the weakest point. I was very interested to hear the Environment Agency’s plans for the new work at Lydd Ranges, and their proposals certainly have my full support.
Earlier that day I was delighted to meet with some of the year 12 and year 7 students at the Marsh Academy in New Romney to see the work they have been doing to support the ‘send my friend to school’ campaign. The focus of the campaign this year has been to make sure that schools are safe spaces for children. I was given a series of posters that the students had designed to support the campaign and I look forward to sharing their work with the Prime Minister.
Last week I was also invited by Nicholas Harrison to visit an archaeological survey and excavation close to the church of St. Mary and St Eanswythe in Folkestone. This is part of a project called, Soldier On!, an inclusive community archaeology charity, which together with the Canterbury Archaeology Trust and Christchurch Canterbury University were running the dig. The area around the church is one of the most important heritage sites in the town. It has been a site of religious worship and the home to a community for at least the last 1000 years. Their initial work was completed at the weekend, but they are looking to raise funds for further archaeological studies of this site, including looking for traces of the long-lost Benedictine Priory which once stood next to the church.
On Monday this week I welcomed a group of sixth form students from the Harvey Grammar School for a tour of the House of Commons. It is always a pleasure to have the chance to show groups from local schools around Palace of Westminster and do please let me know if you would like to arrange something for your school.