22 August 2012
£1m of investment for new rural business
Today (22nd August 2012), Jim Paice, Minister of State for Agriculture and Food, launched funding for the North East’s Rural Growth Network. This initiative aims to support the growth of existing rural business and help others to start rural businesses. A partnership of public and private sector bodies will work together to:
Operate a direct grant scheme;
Develop a more flexible planning system, and
Provide business and networking support to encourage businesses within sparsely-populated areas to benefit from the wider rural network.
In the North Tyne area of Northumberland National Park, nearly £1 million of support will be provided to help create new business premises from existing, under-used buildings. Once created these new business premises will be networked to improved business support. Improved broadband is being planned as part of this initiative.
Currently, the North Tyne is a pilot for a national project aiming to improve planning decisions in local areas. The National Park Authority, as a planning body, is committed to testing the current planning system and changing it if necessary to enable the development of new live / work units. The investments are planned to be made on the estates of Hesleyside, Charlton and Highgreen over the next three years.
Chairman of the National Park Authority and councillor for the North Tyne area, John Riddle commented: “Our National Park Authority and partners are signed up to making the National Park a better place in which to live and work. Creating new places for people to live and work from existing, under-used rural buildings will provide new jobs, create a more sustainable way of living and protect locally- and nationally-important historic buildings.”
Guy Opperman MP praised the scheme: “We are fortunate that one of the five national pilots aiming to improve the rural economy will cover rural Northumberland. My constituency will benefit from up to 10 new business units in one of the most rural areas of England. This approach demonstrates the coalition government’s commitment to work with and through local public bodies and putting local business people at the heart of driving forward improvements to the rural economy.”
Sir William Morrison-Bell of Highgreen in Tarset commented: “This is good news for property owners in Northumberland National Park where many rural buildings have outlived their original purpose and need to be adapted to suit modern day needs, as we started doing at Highgreen just over 10 years ago. Providing funds to part finance the creation of new live /work units with plans to provide superfast broadband will create a step change in the way our rural buildings are used. This will make for a much more vibrant area in which young people and young families can both live and work.”