You may have picked up reference to a report published in August by The Rural Coalition entitled The Rural Challenge.

The report states that it is "about a future for rural England in which every rural community can thrive". Notably, among its 38 recommendations there are a considerable number of issues and considerations for local authorities. The Local Government Group was one of the participants in The Rural Coalition and have clearly advanced thinking on behalf of the local government community. "Community-led" planning is seen to be key to delivering the actions that the report identifies must come from local government and agencies working with the voluntary and community sectors. Espousing our new Government's much favoured localism, the report delivers a clear message that "the solutions will need to come from the bottom up as well, if not more than, from the top down".

If you are short on time, we would highly recommend you read the summary of key propositions set out on the first five pages of the report. The report makes topical comments on the recently announced Community Right to Build, addresses its aspirations for the new Local Enterprise Partnerships and advances propositions for reform of the legislation relating to town and village greens and a number of other legislative proposals, through the forthcoming Decentralisation and Localism Bill. There's also lots said about how rural communities, if properly empowered by changes to the delivery of local services and community-led plans, have the capacity to benefit in a significant way from the Government's Big Society agenda.