Have your say about the future of Rural Norfolk

Friday, 12 February 2021


12 February 2021

Have your say about the future of Rural   Norfolk

Norfolk County Council (NCC) and Collison and Associates Limited are working in partnership on a review of the Norfolk   Rural Strategy. The partnership is  inviting people who live and work in Norfolk to have their say and help shape the future of Norfolk.

Previous versions of the Norfolk Rural   Strategy have been used to secure funding, such as the £9m of LEADER funding   awarded to hundreds of community and small business projects across Norfolk   since 2016.  The previous strategy also initiated campaigns to improve   rural digital connectivity and the work to develop the Norfolk Natural Capital Assets Evidence Compendium,   which provides a detailed evidence base on our natural environment.

The aim of this survey is to ensure that rural Norfolk   continues to thrive, setting out a blueprint to deliver a positive change for   its rural communities. NCC believes that to create this positive change,   partnership with the community is important and feedback from residents vital   to its success.

Cllr   Graham Plant, Norfolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Growing the   Economy, said:

“We are really interested in what the community – our   residents, businesses, partnerships and academic institutions - think about   how we could deliver the vibrant, healthy rural communities of the   future.  Could the role of your market town change, how do we use our   world class environment to support our vital tourism sector and how can the   growth of clean energy fuel our homes and lives?

“With an ageing population, rural Norfolk is also in   the frontline of changes in healthcare needs and Cllr Plant says ‘we need to   understand how new technology can help meet  future service delivery and   business needs, through initiatives  such as the Go Digital programme we   launched in December 2020.”

Norfolk is a predominantly rural county with a rich   history and an unrivalled diversity of landscapes, communities, market towns,   villages and businesses.  With a proud history of innovation and ‘doing   different’ stretching back hundreds of years - from the Agricultural   Revolution, to the first environmental land management schemes trialled in   the Broads in the 1980s, and which are now the central feature of the new UK   agricultural policy.

There have been many changes to rural Market Towns.   Digitalisation, online retailing, a rapid growth in remote working and an   increasing desire to buy local products are combining to change the rural   economy in new and fundamental ways.  One positive of the current   pandemic is that many rural people are commuting less and accessing small   shops and facilities in their community more. If such changes are to become   permanent, the steering group’s aim is to identify what should be done to do   to support them.

Martin   Collison of Collison and Associates Limited said:

“The steering group’s ambition is that ‘as the UK   develops plans for the new UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which will average £1.5   billion per year, we must ensure we have the project ideas which will deliver   on rural priorities.  But we also need to ensure that mainstream funding   - such as large national budgets for education, health and transport -   recognises and supports the needs of our rural communities.”

If you would like to have your say on the future of rural Norfolk you can view the online survey which can be accessed at: https://norfolk.citizenspace.com/consultation/norfolk-rural-strategy-2021-2024-survey/

Here you can review the draft strategy and comment on the issues which are the most important to you, your community, business or organisation.  The steering group is also very keen to collect ideas for rural projects.


The proposed vision for the Norfolk   Rural Strategy is:

To   deliver inclusive, sustainable communities, a dynamic economy and healthy   natural environment, to meet the needs of all rural residents and visitors.

To respond to the changes we   are seeing in the rural economy and communities, the Strategy has one   overarching focus, three delivery themes and three enablers:

Overarching focus:

  1. Engagement,  Evidence & Project Pipeline - deliver a Vision for Rural Norfolk and Proactive Project Pipeline, supported by local leaders and partners to advocate for rural investment.

Three delivery themes:

  1. New Rural Economy & Market Towns - develop new rural economic opportunities and the role of Market Towns as service centres, repurposing commercial space and delivering innovation.

  2. World Class Environment and the Green Economy - embrace Clean Growth and the economic opportunities it provides, leading thinking in how rural areas can deliver a low  carbon economy.

  3. Community Resilience - ensure rural areas deliver community resilience for all age groups by focusing on preventing community, social and health challenges at source.

Three Enablers:

  1. Skills and Rural Innovation - address the rural skills divide and embrace i nnovation       supported by project funding and World class skills and innovation infrastructure.

  2. Digitalisation  and technology adoption - support rural areas to embrace online business and service delivery, supported by automation and new technology to deliver high value jobs.

  3. Modern Infrastructure - the delivery of new rural infrastructure supporting the transition to clean energy, sustainable transport, a digital economy and sustainable water management.

  • Cllr. Graham Plant is Norfolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Growing the Economy

  • Martin Collison runs Collison and Associates Limited,  a specialist rural and agricultural consultancy near King’s Lynn

 For further information please contact:
 Communications Team at Norfolk County Council
 Tel: 01603 228888

Have your say about the future of Rural Norfolk