Nomination for South East Regional Rural Forum
I wish to be nominated as a member of the new South East Regional Rural Forum. This is
because I believe it will play a key role in developing a coherent approach to rural
policy in this region. I have a keen interest in and passion for rural issues, the
countryside and country living. I am aware of regionalisation and the regional agenda.
I stand with the support of CPRE South East as a member of SEFS, the environment network
in the region.
2. Personal background
My work is in the marketing and promotion of local and regional, British food and drink,
diversification and added value within the rural business sector. This includes tenancies,
share farming and tourism. ! founded The Cotswold Food Group, based in Oxford in 1999.
Beyond this, I am concerned about the countryside, agriculture, the rural economy,
sustainability and rural proofing. I come from a farming background with hands-on experience
of rural life. I am incisive and tenacious, with enthusiasm, vision and drive. I also have
good communications and interpersonal skills, and can claim a deep understanding of the
countryside and its people. As a natural leader, my main goal is to secure a sustainable
future for the rural economy.
3. Regional policy
Regional policy has become prominent with the work of SEEDA, especially through the
Regional Economic Strategy. Having studied the websites, this seemed to involve a
wide public consultation. GOSE started regionalisation in 1994, and it continues to be
pro-active, with the Regional Housing Statement and Social Inclusion Statement.
The third partner, the Regional Assembly, runs the Healthy Region Forum and prepared the
Sustainable Development Framework.
RPG9 provides an initial spatial strategy for the South East. The Assembly, having taken
over the work of SERPLAN, must now integrate the RES with RPG.
4. Key issues
Voluntary organisations have a key role to play in regional policy. Regeneration is needed
in rural areas as much as in the towns. It is also a social as well as a physical issue.
There is a wide range of voluntary groups, and these need to be brought together to
strive for 'sustainable development', entailing economic, social and environmental
progress. The Rural Forum will be in a unique position to work with partners looking at
issues affecting rural life and integrating wider concerns.
5. What do I want to achieve?
I hope to make a broad contribution to the new Regional Rural Forum, addressing many
issues. I intend to consult and report back promptly. I shall have much to learn, but for
me, the countryside has a bright future. It needs direction and leadership, based on the
Rural White Paper and a broad achievable vision to build sustainable communities. Issues
ranging from social housing to transport and the NHS, to wildlife and landscape must
inform the basis of an inclusive approach.
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