Growth Programme: grants for the rural economy

We all want to see Anston thrive as a community, however the future prosperity of Anston has to be balanced against the arguments for more homes and businesses without further losses of our greenbelt.
The Growth Programme provides funding to help projects in England which create jobs and help rural economy growth. These grants are funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).
The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) manages the grants, working with Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).
Grants are available for:
• business development
• food processing
• small-scale tourism infrastructure
• tourism cooperation
Available grants in each area and who can apply for them are listed in the table below. Different grants will be available at different times.
Grants: Who can apply
Business development
Micro and small business, including social enterprises. Farmers wanting to diversify into non-agricultural activities
Food processing
Micro, small and medium-sized food-processing businesses processing Annex 1 products (examples include meat, milk, grain and root vegetables)

Small scale tourism infrastructure
Rural businesses and rural communities, farmers and land owners
Tourism cooperation
Businesses in a rural area. Charities, public bodies, community groups and destination organisations operating in a rural area
Guidance on available Growth Programme grants – who is eligible, how much funding to apply for and what the grants will and will not cover.
Which grants are available in different areas of England will depend on the priorities set by the Local Enterprise Partnerships.
1. Business development grants: Growth Programme
o 23 March 2015
o Detailed guide
2. Food processing grants: Growth Programme
o 23 March 2015
o Detailed guide
3. Small-scale tourism infrastructure grants: Growth programme
o 27 July 2015
o Detailed guide
4. Tourism cooperation grants: Growth Programme
o 27 July 2015
o Detailed guide

The Growth Programme is set to benefit rural communities by unlocking the huge potential for growth in the countryside.                                                                     Opportunities could include helping businesses to expand or helping people to set up new businesses, developing new food processing facilities or promoting tourism.

£24 Million is available as a package over the next 6 years to unlock the economic potential of rural areas. Individual grants are worth upwards of £35,000 depending on the individual project.                                                                                                 The Growth Programme is a competitive and targeted scheme and applications will be scored against a range of criteria, including local priorities. Applicants who address these priorities are more likely to receive funding.

RMBC has already decided to build on large swathes of our greenbelt (Despite all the objections) so can the Growth Programme help local businesses to grow and thrive without more land being lost?

A local planning authority should regard the construction of new buildings as inappropriate in Green Belt. Exceptions to this are:

  • buildings for agriculture and forestry;
  • provision of appropriate facilities for outdoor sport, outdoor recreation and for cemeteries, as long as it preserves the openness of the Green Belt and does not conflict with the purposes of including land within it;
  • the extension or alteration of a building provided that it does not result in disproportionate additions over and above the size of the original building;
  • the replacement of a building, provided the new building is in the same use and not materially larger than the one it replaces;
  • limited infilling in villages, and limited affordable housing for local community needs under policies set out in the Local Plan; or
  • limited infilling or the partial or complete redevelopment of previously developed sites (brownfield land), whether redundant or in continuing use (excluding temporary buildings), which would not have a greater impact on the openness of the Green Belt and the purpose of including land within it than the existing development.



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One Response to Growth Programme: grants for the rural economy

  1. Mick Colman says:

    Another well constructed and informative article as I have come to expect as the “norm” on this website. However an article that causes me concern and trepidation. Why is everyone so infatuated with the term “Growth”. It is heard every where, “Britain’s growth is lower than expected” shock horror, “Tesco’s profits have dropped from £5 billion to £4 8 billion” shock horror, Isn’t £4.8 billion enough profit? Now, grants are available to help small rural villages to “grow”. It would be more acceptable if the Government said that grants are available for new businesses or expanding businesses providing that it would create more employment for the residents of the area where the grant was given. We all know that this would not be the case and all that would happen would be a larger amount of traffic heading towards Anston in the mornings and a larger exodus heading away from Anston in the evenings. Britain has hundreds of wonderful rural villages yet the powers that be seem hell bent on destroying them. It is difficult to find a village nowadays that hasn’t at least one trading estate or industrial park attached to it. No further industrial building should be allowed in Anston until all existing empty buildings are occupied. Even if they were then no new buildings whatsoever should be allowed on green belt land. Anston is big enough, we don’t need to grow.


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