Torridge joins call for rural strategy ahead of Brexit

Riverbank House in Bideford.

Riverbank House in Bideford. - Credit: Archant

Torridge District Council has joined a national call for the Government to produce an urgent strategy for rural areas in preparation for Brexit.

The call is the result of concern that challenges to the sustainability of rural communities and service delivery in rural areas have been inadequately addressed by those in power for too long.

Council leader Jane Whittaker urged other councils to join in and said: “The call for action is a timely reminder that rural communities have been neglected and underfunded for many years.

“Digital infrastructure remains weak and the cost of providing services or doing business in a rural environment has not been properly or fully addressed.

“Our predicted departure from the EU and the potential loss of subsidies are likely to have an impact on significant sectors of our local economy, such as farming, without any reassurances that there are plans in place to mitigate this.”

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Rural Services Network chief executive, Graham Biggs said: “Rural Communities are frequently overlooked in a policy environment dominated by urban thinking and policy concerns.

“This often means communities either miss out on the benefits or experience unintended consequences from policies which are poorly thought-through from a rural perspective.

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“It is time for this ‘rural mainstreaming’ to stop. People living in ours towns and villages simply cannot afford to wait any longer for politicians to take their concerns seriously and act on them.”

The full Rural Services Network report can be accessed here.

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