Councillors emphasise role of city's rural communities

COUNCIL leaders in Sheffield have agreed a new strategy which aims to put rural communities "at the heart" of the authority's work.

During the last year Sheffield Council has consulted more than 2,300 people who live and work in rural areas, in order to produce the city's first rural strategy, dubbed "A Fair Deal For Rural Communities".

The strategy aims to "acknowledges the issues facing rural communities" and "ensure that rural communities have similar levels of opportunities as other Sheffield residents".

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Councillor Penny Baker, the council's cabinet member for housing, regeneration and planning, said: "Around 65,000 Sheffielders live in our more rural areas, and we are very proud of our wonderful green spaces and great communities in these parts of the city.

"It is vital that we give people and businesses in rural areas the support they need to thrive, and this strategy will help us do just that over time."

Priorities outlined in the plan include supporting rural businesses, promoting the rural areas of Sheffield to tourists, improving access to activities for children and increasing the supply of affordable housing.

Eddie Andrew, from the Our Cow Molly ice cream company, said: "We are one of the last dairy farms in Sheffield, and it's great to see the council making support for rural businesses a priority.

"Sheffield people are really proud of produce made in Sheffield. Bradfield Farmers Market has been a huge success and shows that there is definitely a demand out there for food and produce made in Sheffield."