Lancashire County Council leading the Rural Delivery Pathfinder for the North West builds on the Authority's recognition as a Beacon Council for Rural Regeneration 2003 -2004.
Supporting the Rural Economy
Historically Lancashire is known for its industrial heritage, its association with the cotton and textile industry and its traditional mill towns. The reality is very different. Lancashire is a diverse, largely rural County with over a third of its residents living within rural areas and over 80% of its land area lying outside the main urban centres, the cities of Preston and Lancaster and the East Lancashire conurbation.
The Poorsland Buildings, Slaidburn - community workspace and offices
Lancashire County Council has a record of establishing, leading and evolving policy and action partnerships to formulate and implement rural regeneration strategies and action programmes. These strategies have evolved in nature from an emphasis on countryside management through to the recent development of an integrated rural regeneration strategy which encompasses all aspects of the Council's service delivery. This approach has provided a framework for directing and co-ordinating the work of both the County Council, the Lancashire Unitary and District Councils and a wide range of other public, private and voluntary sector agencies and personnel working to support all aspects of the county's rural economy.
Experience in the development and implementation of integrated rural regeneration strategies and initiatives
Over recent years the Council has developed its rural regeneration remit. This has seen the evolution of integrated rural regeneration strategies and action plans from more traditional countryside management programmes. This change in emphasis has been driven by the council as lead partner on the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Joint Advisory Committee (JAC).
Backridge Farm, Waddington, Nr Clitheroe - Rural workshops
In 1993 the Council, on behalf of the JAC published a report setting out both issues and policy options for consultation as a way forward in formulating the Bowland Management Plan.
The breadth of the consultation work undertaken in compiling the issues report reflected the interconnectedness of issues within the AONB. The Management Plan therefore began to respond to a range of influencing factors which impact on the landscape quality of the AONB. This wider remit has been reflected in the Terms of Reference for the JAC whereby the JAC supports and encourages an active partnership between all of the agencies involved, and coordinates management over the whole of the AONB. The aim is to:
The evolution of local integrated strategy development within the Forest of Bowland has culminated with the adoption of the Forest of Bowland AONB Action Plan 2000‑2010. The Action Plan has been developed in consultation with key partners and has set the platform for the delivery of a local integrated strategy. Delivery of the Action Plan is through nominated lead partners addressing priority projects within the Action Plan.
The Council has further developed this integrated approach at a project level exemplified by the role of the Authority in the development of the Bowland Initiative. This Initiative which was established in January 1999, as one of two national pilots was tasked with testing the integrated delivery of economic and environmental objectives within the Forest of Bowland, principally based around farming communities. The key pilot objectives were to create the following:
The Bowland Initiative is now rebranded as Lancashire Rural Futures and has achieved:
|Total grants sourced||£3,980,660|
|Total private investment||£6,490,198|
|Land brought under positive environmental management||16,114 ha|
|New woodland created||181ha|
The success of the Bowland Initiative has been recognised at both local and national level. The Initiative is cited in the Rural White Paper as an exemplary case study for integrated sustainable rural development and the Initiative has received an RTPI National Award for Planning Achievement with an Award for Planning for Business.
In 1999, the Council commissioned a research study into the local rural economy. This study provided a comprehensive analysis of Lancashire's rural economy. It comprised a desk-top study, a telephone survey of 300 rural businesses and face-to-face interviews with 1,000 rural households.
The main issues identified were:
Brook House Farm, Whalley - Livery yard, tack/feed shop.
This study informed the development of the Council's vision for its rural areas. It included a recognition that addressing these issues holistically would require a coordinated inter-departmental and multi-agency approach. This vision was developed by both a bottom up and a strategic approach. The Council and its partners have adapted the rural dimensions of a number of national, regional and sub-regional plans to reflect the needs and aspirations of rural Lancashire.
The overall vision articulated in the Lancashire Rural Recovery Action Plan aims for Lancashire to establish:
A dynamic rural economy which is financially, socially and environmentally sustainable.
The Lancashire Rural Recovery Action Plan identifies 3 key drivers for rural economic recovery:
The Lancashire Rural Recovery Action Plan constitutes a comprehensive and inclusive vehicle for the delivery of a shared vision for the prosperity of Lancashire's rural economy. It will ensure that the work of all agencies in the County is co-ordinated and directed to the achievement of agreed and identified common goals and targets.
Beacon Newsletter Issue Three
Beacon Newsletter Issue Two
Beacon Newsletter Issue One
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