Letter: A living, working countryside

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Sir: I welcome the recognition in your leading article 'Forgotten crisis in our countryside' (5 July) of the case for rural regeneration alongside its urban counterpart. You quote the Gay Hussars group's call for co-ordinated policies. In Shropshire, there is an effective partnership of local authorities working with other county partners and national agencies such as the Rural Development Commission to tackle the problems of rural unemployment, poverty, isolation and depression.

In Bishop's Castle, for instance, our programme has contributed not only to the development of land and premises for employment growth, but also the development of tourism, refurbishment of important local buildings, an alcohol-free bar and mobile centre for young people and wider use of the county council's small secondary school as a community college.

Shropshire has successfully bid for substantial European Union funds and assistance under Objective 5b (covering rural areas in the EU), which will give us the means to do a lot more.

I would like to reassure the Gay Hussars that some parts of England have got their acts together.

Yours faithfully,


Assistant Chief Planning Officer

Shropshire County Council