Councillors back calls for new ‘rural strategy’

West Lindsey Offices EMN-181216-095751001
West Lindsey Offices EMN-181216-095751001

West Lindsey District Councillors are backing a national campaign to develop a rural strategy to support the needs of rural communities.

The councillors say needs of communities in rural areas are different from those in urban areas and they need to be taken into account through policies and allocation of funding.

WLDC deputy leader Coun Owen Bierley said he was backing the Rural Services Network’s call for an urgent comprehensive strategy for rural areas.

He said: “West Lindsey is one of the largest districts in England and one of the most rural in the county of Lincolnshire.

“The needs of our communities are key in the work that we do, and we need support to enable us to offer suitable and sustainable services and practices across our district.

“It is time that rural districts are given proper consideration and funding to meet those needs and offer the right level of service. Allocation of funds must be done in a fairer way.”

Councillors say figures show that despite 17 per cent of England’s population living in rural areas, they receive less grant per head than urban areas, despite the fact that it costs more to provide the services.

The Rural Services Network is asking the Government for the new strategy, which ensures existing mainstream policies work for these towns and villages, improves infrastructure and transport links, and raises the opportunities and challenges facing rural areas up the political agenda.

Rural Services Network chief executive, Graham Biggs said: “If rural communities are to be sustainable, the Government must seize this opportunity to work with communities to produce a long-term, funded rural strategy which recognises the contribution rural areas make and have the potential to make to the wellbeing and prosperity of the nation as a whole.”