Agriculture

Lack of rural planning strategy concerning

Central Association of Agricultural Valuers conference hears land-based economy is underrepresented in planning issues
Lack of rural planning strategy concerning

Rural areas of the UK need a planning strategy which allows the land-based economy to thrive.
 
At the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers conference in Windermere , one of the main themes was a lack of planning strategy for the UK countryside and how it was dismantling rural cultures.
 
Farmer John Dunning, who developed the M6 Westmorland service station on a farmland site, said the land-based economy was under-represented in the UK.
 
"I believe we are running a system which is seriously distorted where the economic influence on decision making is not present," he said.
 
Speaking about national parks and other areas of interest to tourism, Dunning said: "We should be looking at a review of our designated areas and how we conduct matters."
 
Agricultural planning expert Dr Malcolm Bell discussed how much of the Government’s focus on planning guidance was based around London and the South East.
 
He said: "Because of this concentration of where development will go there is no rural strategy."
 
He questioned how those in rural areas would have the confidence to invest when they did not have a firm idea about planning.
 
The Lake District is currently in a bid to become a World Heritage Site. Dunning said the area’s culture was being taken away by the decline of agriculture.
 
"It is being replaced by an economy of the local authority where trees are planted."
 
The Lake District’s bid to become a world heritage site could also have further influence on the national park’s agriculture.
 
Steve Ratcliffe, director of sustainable development for Lake District National Park Authority, said: "The bid means the area will appeal to the tourism of countries such as China and India.
 
"It also has a marketing benefit and could be used as a marketing tool for [brands such as] Herdwick. If somewhere becomes a world heritage site it becomes a requirement for Government to look after that site."

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