Monday, 14 September 2015 14:51

Cheshire tops 'rural business' table

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Cheshire tops 'rural business' table

CHESHIRE has topped a new league table as the best county in England for running a rural business.

Devised by the Country, Land and Business Association, the Rural Business County League Table scores each county on some of the main criteria which can support or challenge rural firms.

Cheshire is followed by Cumbria and Oxfordshire in equal second place. Gloucestershire came in fourth, followed by Surrey in fifth place.

The full league table can be downloaded here. The methodology can be seen here.

Criteria include the extent of broadband and mobile coverage; adoption of local plans by planning authorities; opportunities for development of rural skills; and entrepreneurial dynamism.

The table also reveals new survey results commissioned by the CLA on local preference for using rural businesses.

CLA president Henry Robinson said rural businesses are starting up, making investments and creating jobs across the country.

"Operating in a rural area brings opportunities but also challenges and there is much that can be done to help them to succeed.

"In this table we shine a light on some of the main factors that can help a business succeed.

"The areas that top our list have rated most consistently across a range of factors."

Top of the list was connectivity, said Mr Robinson.

"Almost any type of business can operate from a rural area if they have good quality mobile and internet connection.

"Unfortunately getting the coverage that a business needs remains a postcode lottery and too many businesses are losing out.

"We need government, councils and network providers to focus on delivery especially in our most remote areas."

A growing business often also needed space or to update existing buildings and facilities, Mr Robinson said.

"This can be frustrated by poorly managed planning systems.

"Our table rates the performance of planning authorities on whether they have Local Plans in place and whether they are permitting or refusing applications to convert and change buildings.

"It is high time that rural businesses in all parts of the country are valued and encouraged to grow.”

The CLA Rural Business County League Table is designed to give a snapshot picture of the environment for rural businesses in each county in England.

It is not intended to provide a comprehensive analysis, but to present an indication of the challenges faced by rural business.

The datasets selected give an overall picture of the environment that can be influenced.

These relate to most types of rural business and for which there is reliable data available at a local authority or county level to enable comparison.

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