People, businesses, groups and organisations are all being urged to help finalise “how to get more from Staffordshire’s rural economy in the next decade.” After preliminary work with a wide range of bodies, Staffordshire County Council has published its draft Rural Economic Strategy for final comment.
People, businesses, groups and organisations are all being urged to help finalise “how to get more from Staffordshire’s rural economy in the next decade.”
After preliminary work with a wide range of bodies, Staffordshire County Council has published its draft Rural Economic Strategy for final comment.
The focus of the strategy, which has been developed in-house by county council staff, with some additional expertise provided from outside at a cost of £20,000, includes – improving rural infrastructure, encouraging innovation and sustainable growth, and developing market towns including Cheadle, Leek and Uttoxeter.
Councillor Philip White, deputy leader of Staffordshire County Council and Cabinet member for Economy and Skills, said: “There is already an economic strategy for the whole county, which includes a focus on urban areas, so this part is specifically about how we deliver benefits to rural communities.
“The continuing economic growth of Staffordshire rests in part on making sure that there is a collective plan for these towns and villages and that the diverse range of businesses within them are able to make the most of funding and investment opportunities as they come along.
“Having consulted with businesses, groups and organisations, as well as local councils, we think this plan is in good shape, but it’s not set in stone and we still want people to contribute to the final version.”
The county council has stated that the five key areas of the strategy are:
Supporting the regeneration of Cheadle, Leek, Rugeley, Stone and Uttoxeter as places in which to live and invest.
Recover and grow the visitor economy by supporting tourism businesses and high-quality accommodation.
Support sustainable intensification in agriculture, including diversification, carbon reduction and succession planning for the next generation.
Stimulate enterprise and innovation.
Improve rural digital connectivity and access to opportunities through improved digital and energy infrastructure, along with low-carbon transport.
With approximately 80 per cent of Staffordshire classed as rural, that area is responsible for more than half the county’s economic output.
Councillor White added: “Staffordshire’s rural economy has a good balance of traditional land industries such as farming and forestry, as well as sectors such as manufacturing, construction, services, food production and tourism.
“This strength is underpinned by excellent mainstream and specialist universities and colleges and there is a skilled, well-educated workforce ready to go.
“The challenge is to agree a clear way forward so that we can follow a common plan in the coming years to remove the obstacles preventing further progress.”
Following Staffordshire County Council releasing a press release about their draft Rural Economic Strategy, the Times & Echo contacted the council for further information, in particular the cost of formulating the strategy.
A spokesman said: “The strategy was largely developed in-house by county council staff, with some additional expertise provided from outside at a cost of £20,000 – met by funding from the county council’s economic development budget, which is intended for this sort of work.”
People can have their say on the rural strategy by going online to: https://preview-staffscc.cloud.contensis.com/Business/Economic-and-Rural-Economic-Strategies/Rural-Economic-Strategy.aspx.
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