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Government to develop 10-point plan for the rural economy

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The government recently published its productivity plan (available in full here). While the plan focuses primarily on cities as “the driving force of the economy,” it does acknowledge the importance of ensuring that all areas of the economy contribute to, and benefit from, productivity growth.

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss, will therefore be launching a new 10-point plan for rural productivity which will set out the Government’s ambitions to:  

· enable communities to allocate land for Starter Homes developments, including through neighbourhood plans

· as part of the new bidding round, encourage towns and districts within rural areas to work with LEPs on producing bids to become an Enterprise Zone, so that rural areas can also benefit from the new programme

· review the current threshold for agricultural buildings to convert to residential, to further support delivery of new homes in rural areas

· extend permitted development rights to taller mobile masts, in order to support improved mobile connectivity in rural areas; the call for evidence on these proposals is available here and closes on 21 August. 

· complete the superfast broadband programme on time and on budget, ensuring 95% of the UK has access to superfast by 2017. 

These plans chime well with Norfolk's own Rural Development Strategy. Community Action Norfolk works closely with partners including Norfolk County Council and New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership to develop and implement the strategy. More information about rural development in Norfolk is available on the County Council website here.