Reporting the State of Rural Services

Brian has been working on a State of Rural Services 2016 report on behalf of Rural England CIC. This will present recent evidence about the provision of nine services in rural areas, including local buses, retail services, access to cash, further education and mental health services. It will also flag some gaps in the evidence base. It is likely that the report will be published in November 2016.

An Economic Plan for a Coastal Community

Brian Wilson project managed the development of an Economic Plan for the Bridport and West Bay Coastal Community Team in West Dorset. An analysis of economic data, consultation with businesses and community interests, plus a review of local strategies and opportunities was used to derive a set of plan priorities. These are to be addressed by a number of projects and other initiatives, some of which have now commenced. The Economic Plan from this DCLG funded project was published in early 2016.

Monitoring outcomes from rural community support

Brian Wilson worked with David Atkinson to produce mid-year and end-year monitoring reports for ACRE, reporting on the ACRE Network’s use of its grant funding investment from Defra. This identified the activities and outcomes from the investment in areas such as community transport, village halls, bulk oil buying schemes and digital inclusion initiatives, as well as strategic engagement with local authorities and partnerships to influence wider rural delivery.

Rural policy briefing notes

Brian Wilson has produced a set of policy briefing notes for the Rural Services Network – a membership organisation of local authorities and other service delivery organisations. Briefing notes are published on the RSN website and include public transport, broadband, affordable housing, planning, rural economy, fuel poverty, health care services, devolution and village services.

North Nottinghamshire’s successful LEADER bid

Brian Wilson worked with David Atkinson and Ivan Annibal to help North Nottinghamshire’s Local Action Group with their successful bid for LEADER funding. Their Local Development Strategy now has over £1.8 million to support small business, farming, forestry, tourism, heritage and rural service projects. Our consultancy help included analysing the evidence base, running a stakeholder survey, reviewing other relevant strategy documents, facilitating workshops and drafting the submission document.

Assisting neighbourhood planning groups

Brian Wilson has supported a number of town and parish councils with Neighbourhood Plan (NP) work.  The Alton NP passed its examination and referendum earlier in 2016. Sherborne St John in Hampshire has submitted its NP. Brian also assisted Rotherwick Parish Council in Hampshire, St Erth Parish Council in Cornwall and Bridport Area NP Steering Group in Dorset during 2015/16. This follows earlier work in Kent, Sussex, Warwickshire and Cornwall, when he was contracted by CPRE and NALC as a facilitator on the DCLG-funded ‘Supporting Communities and Neighbourhoods in Planning’ programme.