Monthly Archives: July 2011

National Planning Policy Framework

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On Monday the Government released a consultation draft of its National Planning
Policy Framework (NPPF).

The stated aim of Government in creating the NPPF is to replace “over a thousand
pages of national policy with around fifty, written simply and clearly”.

The draft NPPF includes a presumption in favour of sustainable development in order
to ensure that the planning system is more positive about new development,
particularly where it delivers economic growth.

Rural Solutions at CLA Game Fair

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The atmosphere at the CLA Game Fair this year was excellent, enhanced by the stunning setting of Blenheim Palace. It was great to see such a broad range of rural businesses, from chefs and food producers to traditional skilled crafts and IT providers, being championed, showcased and promoted. The public voted with their feet and the place was packed to the rafters! The event is well timed to capture the public’s interest in all things ‘rural’ and the political drive to promote the rural economy through planning should be supported in the interests of helping those that live and work in our countryside to compete. More than ever the countryside has a place at the economic table and recognition of this is not simply earned, but whole heartedly deserved.

Sales soar with temperatures at The CLA Game Fair

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Sales and temperatures soared, world records were broken and Blenheim was buzzing as a near record crowd of 148,500 people flocked into The CLA Game Fair at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, over the course of the weekend.

The figure is the second highest attendance at The CLA Game Fair in its 53-year history – beaten only by the 50th anniversary CLA Game Fair also held at Blenheim in 2008.

A key factor was the new traffic management system which saw problem-free access to car parks on the 700-acre show site for all three days.

CLA President William Worsley said: “The large number of visitors to The CLA Game Fair is testament to its wide appeal across all sectors of society and its position as the countryside’s biggest and best event. All four Defra ministers visited during the weekend showing the importance the Government places on The CLA Game Fair as a shop window for British rural life.”

Vincent Hedley Lewis, chairman of The CLA Game Fair Management Board, said: “The CLA Game Fair is appealing to a wider audience every year. Perhaps its strength is that it continues to remain fresh with new events and new ideas coming forward all the time. It truly is a world class event which offers visitors an insight into everything that is great about the British countryside.”


Planning policy must encourage a prosperous and ‘broader’ rural economy, says CLA

By | government-legislation, planning, rural-affairs | No Comments

The CLA has said the draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) published by the Government today (25 July) is “better than expected” for rural areas. However, it said the framework still needs to support the need for a prosperous and “broader” rural economy, with housing development across all rural settlements to enable people to both work and live in the countryside.

The Association commended the Government for reducing thousands of pages of policy to just 58 pages of simple, plain English. It said it was pleased to see more support for a prosperous rural economy but that the NPPF must encourage a “broader” economy if rural areas are to meet their full potential for economic growth.

CLA President William Worsley said: “We welcome the rebalancing in this draft NPPF to introduce the presumption in favour of sustainable development. The economic pillar of sustainable development appears to be back at the table along with the social and environmental pillars.

“However, we do not want to see national planning policies for local designation of green space undo all the Government’s good work for the rural economy.  We hope the future NPPF will make improvements to the natural environment for the good of the rural economy.”

The CLA President said he was concerned about the housing and heritage chapters in the draft NPPF.

He said: “The policy for rural housing perpetuates the grudging attitude towards much-needed affordable rural housing and the need to locate it close to local services. This type of policy statement will be the kiss of death for most rural housing planning applications.

“National planning policy must accept that almost every settlement in England is in need of some housing, however small in numbers, to make communities live and thrive. Only then will rural services become more economically viable.”

The CLA recently published Averting Crisis in Heritage: A CLA Report on Reforming a Crumbling System. Mr Worsley said the historic environment chapter of the NPPF is not good for heritage.

He said: “The NPPF contains no understanding of the need to use heritage buildings and make them viable. It is obvious that old buildings need to be sympathetically updated and changed if they are to remain valued and relevant in the future.”

Princes Trust unveils £200k in rural grants

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PRINCE Charles has unveiled six new grants worth almost £200,000 for projects that benefit rural communities.

The Prince of Wales announced grants totalling £189,942 from the Prince’s Countryside Fund on Wednesday (13 July).

The money will go to six projects that support the Fund’s objectives of ensuring a sustainable future for farmers and rural communities.

Money will support a diverse range of projects, from empowering young people in isolated areas to providing business support to rural women.

The grants support both national and local organisations. They timed to coincide with Britain’s inaugural National Countryside Week.

The six recipients are:
Women in Rural Enterprise (WiRE)
A national organisation supporting rural women who own or want to start a business and provides support and start up advice. The grant will help develop 12 new network groups in key rural areas.

Seize the Moment
A social enterprise set up to empower young people in isolated areas of rural Devon. Money will be used to set up a local food business establishing a cafe and market garden to train over 100 youngsters in catering.

Hampshire Fare
A county food group established to promote the benefits of buying local produce. The grant will help support the group’s efforts to preserve the symbol of the county, the Hampshire Hog, which is under threat.

Farming and Countryside Education (FACE)
A nationwide charity that educates children and young people about food, farming and the countryside. The grant will fund nine regional coordinators targeting young people in economically deprived areas.

Clervaux Trust (Yorkshire)
The trust works with young people to develop their skills and experience in farming and rural crafts. The money will provide accredited training to 60 young people over three years.

White Quarry Farm
An arable and grassland farm that has hosted school visits for over 14 years. A grant of £1,600 will go towards equipping a new class room with tables, chairs, microscopes and cooking equipment.

Fund trustee Mark Price, who is also managing director of Waitrose, said the fund was delighted to support the work done by rural organisations.
“We hope to inspire the general public to recognise the importance of the countryside to the nation’s well being and the wider British economy.”

The Prince’s Countryside Fund is a group of brands and business brought together to secure a better future for rural people.
It also works to raise awareness in Britain of the contribution made by the countryside to people’s lives.

To find out more, visit

Rural Solutions – New and Improved Website

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Rural Solutions have an updated website which will be launched this week.

The new site features a Blog which we will be using to keep you up to date on the latest news and developments in the rural world.  You can also comment and add your news to the Rural Solutions Blog page.

We also have new dedicated pages for the Consultancy, Planning and Construction areas of the Company, along with links to Rural Networks our sister company which promotes and links to our social media on Facebook and Twitter.

There are many ways for you to keep up to date with us so please sign up today and join our growing group of followers.