In a speech yesterday, Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for the Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs re-stated the Government’s commitment to Truro & St Austell MP Matthew Taylor’s report on land use, planning and rural economies Living Working Countryside.
In the speech, Benn said that: “As the Taylor review sets out – small villages are often stigmatised as ‘unsustainable’ and denied development to meet local needs.”
The Taylor Report, was commissioned by the Prime Minister and published in July, Taylor argued that a narrow definition of sustainability is making our smaller rural communities – villages and hamlets – more not less sustainable. Sensitive development of local businesses and affordable homes earmarked for local people can breathe new life into our rural communities.
Taylor proposed reforms to prevent local people from being priced out, village schools closing for lack of pupils, and businesses like shops and pubs closing for lack of custom or local staff.
Benn reiterated his government’s commitment to responding Taylor’s report, saying that: “We all know that rural businesses can have a particular problem in recruiting and retaining staff. And we know that young people often leave to find better opportunities, and better housing…We want to give communities the means to overcome these problems, and we’ll shortly be publishing our response to the Taylor review setting out how we intend to do just that.”
Responding to the news, Taylor said: “I am obviously delighted to hear Hilary Benn reconfirm that the government intends to act soon on my proposals – ending the approach which writes off our smaller rural communities as unsustainable.”