Written by the MP for Folkestone and Hythe, Kent

Last Friday I visited Lydd Airport to meet David Hainsworth, the Managing Director, and members of his operations team. The airport has been a part of Romney Marsh’s life for over sixty years and continues to be an important part of the local economy.

I was pleased to learn that the airport is well positioned to benefit from increased interest from private planes to use its facilities. Lydd also benefits from being the permanent HM Coastguard Air Rescue Headquarters for our section of the coast.

I also thanked David and his team for their support in using the airport as a Covid-19 vaccination center for Romney Marsh residents during the pandemic.

Later that day I also hosted a meeting, with Folkestone and Hythe District Council Chief David Monk, with a range of local businesses from the healthcare, hospitality, real estate industries. and the construction and creative economy to discuss the opportunities and challenges they currently face.

While for many local businesses recruiting staff is one of the biggest challenges they face, most agreed that our region continues to enjoy strong interest from companies looking to invest.

Many residents wrote to me over the summer about the suspension of garden waste collection services provided by Veolia on behalf of the town hall.

This is mainly due to a shortage of drivers for collection vehicles, which is now resolved.

As a result, service will resume from September 27 and customers will be compensated for the disruption by a discount on their invoices for next year.

I know this has been a real inconvenience for many people at a time of year when they are usually working in their gardens. Lessons must be learned by Veolia as prime contractor, so that we do not see a repeat of this suspension of services in the future.

I have also met with business owners on Cheriton High Street who are concerned about a proposal from Kent County Council to install cycle lanes on this road. This issue was also raised by our local county councilors Dylan Jeffrey and Rory Love.

The proposal as it stands would result in the loss of a large number of on-street parking spaces which are important to High Street business customers.

I think cycle lanes are important to encourage cycling in our cities and keep people safe, but this program does not seem suitable for Cheriton High Street.

I will also ask the County Council to reconsider its plans and look for other ways to support cycling in our region.

I am also happy to see that more funds for small and medium businesses in the Folkestone Community Works area have been made available.

An additional £ 100,000 is now available under the Business Grants for SMEs program offering grants to local businesses – which are to be matched pound for pound – to help support their development and growth.

Grants of between £ 1,000 and £ 7,500 are available and you can find more information on how to apply here or at [email protected]

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