Special taskforce survey seeks your evidence to help tackle rural issues

Residents, businesses and organisations are being urged to help a new West Suffolk Council taskforce identify opportunities and issues in rural areas.

The taskforce wants to talk to a broad range of individuals and organisations across West Suffolk in a variety of ways, including a simple online survey live now at www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/rural

West Suffolk Council was set up to be large enough to champion the area while working closely with communities, such as those in rural areas, to tackle local issues.

Council Leader John Griffiths made the commitment in his first speech to the new authority in May to set up a rural task force.

Mike Chester, who chairs the group, said: “Our task is to make sure that rural considerations are taken into account in future council processes and decision making. We are contacting people who live and run businesses and organisations to ask them their opinions on what they see as the opportunities and issues. This will be crucial in developing options both to directly address some of the issues and also to rural-proof future decisions.”

A survey has been set up to allow everyone to give their views, available online at www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/rural or hard copy at council offices, or on request from policy@westsuffolk.gov.uk or by calling 01284 757633 . The survey is open until September 30 but evidence will continue to be fed in throughout the review process.

The taskforce is also holding special meetings across the area, details to be published shortly, and inviting key people to attend taskforce meetings.

The review will encompass all of West Suffolk’s areas, in order to understand the issues and opportunities that all rural or all urban areas have in common, as well as those facing specific localities.

As well as engaging direct with local communities and businesses, the Rural Taskforce will identify key issues, assets and challenges by using a range of existing local and national evidence and research produced by other bodies, for example, the Rural Services Network and the House of Lords Select Committee on the rural economy.

It is expected that cabinet will hear interim recommendations from the taskforce.

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