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Plans for rural taskforce unveiled

PUBLISHED: 19:30 18 June 2019

Rural areas such as Rede, near Bury St Edmunds, which the proposed West Suffolk Council taskforce is being set up to help Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

Rural areas such as Rede, near Bury St Edmunds, which the proposed West Suffolk Council taskforce is being set up to help Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

West Suffolk Council has announced plans for a taskforce to look at opportunities and issues in rural areas.

West Suffolk Council leader John Griffiths Picture: MARIAM GHAEMIWest Suffolk Council leader John Griffiths Picture: MARIAM GHAEMI

Council leader John Griffiths made the pledge for such a unit in his first speech to the new authority in May.

Now, the council's ruling cabinet will study recommendations to formally set up the taskforce when it meets on Tuesday June 25.

Under the proposals, the Rural Taskforce will use a range of local and national evidence and identify key issues, assets and challenges in a review of all of West Suffolk's rural areas.

It will draw on existing evidence and research produced by other bodies, such as the Rural Services Network and the House of Lords Select Committee on the rural economy, to understand the issues and opportunities that all rural or all urban areas have in common, as well as those facing specific localities.

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The taskforce will then develop ways of tackling some of the issues identified and also to ensure rural considerations are taken into account in future council processes and decision making.

"One of my first announcements was the proposal to see a rural taskforce set up for the new West Suffolk Council," Mr Griffiths said.

"Our aim as a council is to deliver excellent services, support and invest throughout West Suffolk, to encourage and manage ambitious growth to ensure our future prosperity, and to both preserve and improve our environment and quality of life."

Mr Griffiths said the new Council was committed to ensuring this vision is achieved across all of West Suffolk's areas, be they rural or urban.

"Anybody who lives in a rural area knows the challenges faced by their communities," he said.

"If backed by the cabinet, the new taskforce will look at a range of evidence, issues and challenges and make suggestions on what we, and our partners, can do even better and how, and if, we can support residents and businesses in our rural areas even more."

It is expected the cabinet will hear interim recommendations from the taskforce in September 2019 with a final report due in November 2019.

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