Witney News - Ideas needed for new rural projects

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Ideas needed for new rural projects

Individuals, groups and organisations in rural West Oxfordshire are being asked to come up with ideas on how a share of new money potentially available from EU and Government sources could help improve their local environment and economy from 2008 onwards.

West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC) in partnership with Cotswold District Council and Cherwell District Council will put in a bid by January for a grant worth as much as £3 million to be spent between 2008 and 2013.

Drawn from the Government's Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) the money could be used to help finance projects primarily focusing on climate change and the environment, rural tourism and on farming and forestry in particular.

"We are confident that our bid will be successful and that money from this new source will enable us to carry on the good work started by the West Oxfordshire Network Leader + programme that ends in the next few months," said Cllr Verena Hunt, Cabinet Member for Economic Development.

"But to maximise our chances we are encouraging local residents and groups to come up with plenty of ideas for rural projects that could qualify for financial backing from the EU."

There will be a "drop-in" session at the village hall in Tackley, near Kidlington from 2-4pm on Wednesday 31st October when people can put forward ideas and find out more about the local action group which will decide how the money is spent if the overall bid is approved.

Varying sizes of grants could cover areas like farm diversification, rural tourism, skills development, local food production, improving access to local services and more.

The total grant funds available would be for allocation across rural areas of north Oxfordshire in the Cotswolds part of Gloucestershire and in West Oxfordshire.

Posted : 11/10/2007 12:27:07

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