An overview of the current issues in rural planning
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An overview of the current issues in rural planning. Graham Russell Executive Director. A rural context. 9.8million people live in rural England. 700,000 households live below the poverty line. Between 2001-2008 additional 506,000 aged over 60. 93,000 second homes.

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An overview of the current issues in rural planning

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An overview of the current issues in rural planning

An overview of the current issues in rural planning

  • Graham Russell

  • Executive Director


A rural context

A rural context...

  • 9.8million people live in rural England.

  • 700,000 households live below the poverty line.

  • Between 2001-2008 additional 506,000 aged over 60.

  • 93,000 second homes.

  • Between 2006 to 2031 – 350,000 new households every five years.

  • Since 2002 on average 11,000 added to LA waiting lists each year.

  • 500,000 rural businesses (VAT registered)

  • State of the Countryside launched on 6th July.


The rural experience fixed plan or can do

The Rural Experience...Fixed Plan or Can Do.

  • Example of Cutcombe livestock market – Exmoor National Park agreed to 13 open market houses as an exception to its planning policies to help pay for the new market. Approved scheme incorporates the new cattle market, business units, and 25 homes with 12 affordable for local people.

  • But overall, exception sites are inconsistently applied.

  • Role for planners as people who can make things happen and use the tools which planning provides in smart ways.


The rural experience the action of localism

The Rural Experience...The action of Localism

  • Great store being put in the capacity of local communities to take a lead in what is needed in their communities.

  • Example of Bratton Fleming in Devon. No development boundary – use of planning for real – more flexible and opportunistic approach – has retained a younger population/expanded the school/kept the shop/some industrial units.

  • Future role of Parish Plans, local housing trusts, community based renewable energy schemes, community schools, social enterprises...

  • Planners as local champions and positive enablers.


The rural experience achieving sustainability

The Rural Experience...Achieving Sustainability

  • Example of South Molton – town of 5000 which wants to grow and there is no obvious restriction.

  • Example of many villages which are in a sustainability trap, i.e. Limited services means no further development.

  • Wider place approach needed and wider assessment – value of the Sustainable Communities Toolkit. See www.ruraltoolkit.org.uk

  • Role for planners as skilled in shaping sustainable places.


The rural experience the need for innovation

The Rural Experience...The need for innovation

  • 40% of rural businesses are based at home – how is good practice developed on e.g. Live work units.

  • Considerable shortfall in supply of affordable housing – planners as source of new approaches which engage the community, improve scheme feasibility, and achieve high design standards.

  • Rural services are under considerable threat – how can planners support innovation in community owned services, support the work of social enterprises, support market town high streets.

  • Planners as innovators and able to take innovation to scale.


The rural experience so what for planners

The Rural Experience...So what for planners?

  • The application of planning competencies to make things happen.

  • To provide an enabling context in terms of local plans.

  • To add value to already challenging issues.

  • To innovate and take good practice to scale.

  • To have a positive sense of what sustainability looks like in a rural place.

  • To be skilled at linking town and country.


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