Calls for more rural investment

Despite its iconic coastline, the region fails to feature in the top 50 rural places to live in Britain.
Despite its iconic coastline, the region fails to feature in the top 50 rural places to live in Britain.

A call has gone out for increased investment in rural areas after the region failed to make the top 50 in a new list of the best rural places to live in Britain.

The annual Halifax Rural Areas Quality of Life Survey, which includes factors such as health, employment, the environment, weather and crime rate, names Rutland as the best rural place to live in Britain.

Creating jobs, often with low environmental impat, means more local spending, safeguarded servicesand sustainable communities with people of all ages

Douglas Chalmers

Parts of Yorkshire and Scotland feature in the top 50, but the North East and North West fail to gain a listing.

CLA North director of policy and public affairs Douglas Chalmers said: “It seems astounding that the whole of the North East cannot even make it into the top 50 best rural places to live.

“On scenery alone, with national parks, the iconic coastline, hills, lakes, rolling farmland and beautiful villages, you would think the North East would figure prominently in any popularity survey.”

But with prosperity also featuring as a key judging criteria in the survey, Mr Chalmers said the results reinforce the crucial need for investment in rural areas.

He added: “People need services fit for modern life. On top of bus services, schools and shops, effective broadband is now almost essential for being joined in to society. For social reasons, shopping, paying taxes or running a business, a reliable and affordable broadband service is now seen as vital.

“As long as we continue to invest in making existing connections even faster, rather than ensuring everyone has the opportunity, we will have an urban-rural digital divide.

“This one step will keep or attract younger people and their families in rural areas, helping to unleash the huge economic potential there.

“Creating jobs, often with low environmental impact, means more local spending, safeguarded services and sustainable communities with people of all ages.”