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Norfolk County Council chiefs to set out rural growth vision

A new rural business strategy for Norfolk is due to be launched at a meeting in Swaffham today.

Talks are due to take place at the Green Britain Centre at the unveiling of Strong Roots: New Growth, the county’s rural economic strategy for the period up to 2020.

County council chiefs want to develop an action plan, working alongside rural business leaders, to generate economic growth in country areas.

Council leader Cliff Jordan said: “Caring for our countryside and the people who live and work there is one of Norfolk County Council’s key priorities.

“This revised strategy will help us respond to the significant opportunities and challenges of the next few years in order to strengthen our rural economy.

“In particular, the funding landscape for farming, the environment and rural development is changing and the strategy underlines the need to make the case for continued investment in rural areas.

“Effective delivery of the strategy requires close cooperation and action from all partners with a stake in our rural economy.”

The strategy sets out five priority areas: lobbying for external investment in the rural economy, increased use of technology, improving the county’s environment, promoting competitiveness in the agri-tech sector and enabling growth by enabling improvements to be made to rural infrastructure.

Strategy group chairman Clarke Willis said: “If we are to deliver new environmental programmes, embrace the potential of technology, improve agri-food competitiveness or find new ways to deliver modern infrastructure, we will all have to learn new skills.

“Upskilling our existing workforce and making rural areas attractive to highly skilled young people is therefore essential if these areas are to fulfil their potential.

“The success of the strategy depends on action by businesses and local communities, with the public sector playing a supportive and enabling role.

“We look forward to working with others to drive all five priority areas forward for the benefit of rural Norfolk.”

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