‘Cut red tape to help rural firms’

Cllr Pearl Lewis
Cllr Pearl Lewis

A watchdog has launched a probe into planning red tape in a bid to help rural businesses in the Vale.

Bureaucracy in the planning system is regularly raised as a factor that limits the expansion of rural companies.

Conservative councillor Pearl Lewis, who is spearheading the review into the district council’s policies, said: “Planning is important for business in the rural areas, if you want to expand and extend your property.”

“Thinking about the priorities of the rural areas is important when we review all of those policies to ensure that we’re not holding back rural businesses.”

Around 80% of Bucks is considered to be rural with businesses here generating up to £4.72bn for the local economy.

Ms Lewis acknowledged that the wishes of businesses had to be balanced with protecting the environment.

“Clearly there’s a delicate balance between protecting rural areas but also not hindering rural businesses.”

Ms Lewis, who chairs the economic scrutiny committee, said rural businesses now require the same consideration as industry in urban areas.

As previously reported, the committee is also looking into apprenticeships.