Coalition formed to press rural reforms

Six national organisations have teamed up to campaign for reforms meeting rural areas' social, economic and environmental needs.

The Rural Coalition comprises Action with Communities in Rural England, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, the Country Land and Business Association, the Local Government Association, the RTPI and the Town and Country Planning Association.

It will press for action on issues set out in Truro and St Austell Liberal Democrat MP Matthew Taylor's report on rural communities and affordable housing.

RTPI acting director of policy and partnership Matt Thomson commented: "It is about finding a way to meet the needs of rural communities while negotiating a way through an element of nimbyism. Some local authorities react to the people who shout the loudest."

Taylor, who is coalition chairman, recommended "masterplanning from the ground up and community participation" and incentives for owners to release land for affordable housing (Planning, 25 July 2008, p2).

The coalition's prospectus outlines the need for villages and rural towns to be sustainable and contribute to the economy and climate change targets.

"Local planning, community involvement, affordable housing, business opportunities, schools, shops, pubs and leisure facilities need to be seen not as separate issues but as interdependent parts of the whole," it insists.

See Analysis, page 8.

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