The Marsh Million – boosting rural business

Could you be eligible to apply for an interest-free loan from what is known as the ‘Marsh Million’? Many businesses in the Romney Marsh area, including several in the borough of Ashford, definitely are and they are being urged to access this new funding opportunity.

The Marsh Million is a three-year, economic growth fund for the Romney Marsh, which aims to boost business in this rural area. It is backed by Magnox Ltd, which has put £500,000 into the fund. Magnox operates the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority-owned Dungeness A power station.

Further funding that tops the fund up to the one million mark comes from Kent County Council (£400,000), Ashford Borough Council (£50,000) and Shepway District Council (also contributing £50,000).

Local companies, entrepreneurs and sole-traders will be able to apply for unsecured loans of up to £10,000 aimed at promoting local business growth, supporting new enterprises and boosting access to training.

Geographically, much of the Romney Marsh lies in the borough of Ashford. In fact, businesses of up to 50 employees in the following parishes are eligible to apply for the interest-free loans:

Aldington                     Appledore                               Bilsington

Bonnington                  Kenardington                          Orlestone

Ruckinge                     Stone-cum-Ebony                    Warehorne



Cllr Clair Bell, Ashford Borough Council’s portfolio holder for tourism and the rural economy, said: “I am delighted to be part of this exciting project that will create jobs and stimulate employment in the Marsh area. Helping the area develop new job and business development opportunities following the decommissioning of Dungeness A is vital.

“It is important that businesses are aware this money is available for interest-free loans and that they qualify. By working in partnership with Kent and Shepway councils this project will harness the considerable potential that exists in the Marsh, making maximum use of skilled people and demonstrating the collective will to increase economic prosperity in the rural part of the borough.

Details on how to apply for the loans are available at

Media release 0193/13 21/08/2013 For further information, please contact our Press Office on 01233 330543 or email