Rural economy to get funding boost

There are plans to manage woods to produce more wood for fuel

There are plans to manage woods to produce more wood for fuel

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There are plans to create more than 75 jobs in Northamptonshire’s rural economy in the next few years.

A newly proposed strategy and funding application aims to support 139 rural Northamptonshire businesses and create 79 jobs by 2020.

The North and West Northamptonshire Development Strategy 2014-2020 also envisages bringing 575 hectares of existing woodland back into commercial management to help produce an additional 26,674 tonnes of wood for fuel over five years.

The full strategy proposal has been made to the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and hopes to attract £2.1m to invest in about 70 individual projects.

The new funding would provide support for rural tourism, increasing overnight stays by 16,000 a year, increase farm productivity and diversification, support micro and small enterprises, provide rural services, increase forestry productivity and cultural and heritage activity.

The strategy application is available to download in full from the Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership (NEP) website at northamptonshireep.co.uk

Approval of the overall fund from Defra is expected in November with a view to grant funding becoming available to businesses from January 2015.

Bids for match-funding will be invited from businesses wishing to get qualifying projects (in line with the listed activities above) off the ground. Subject to approval, companies in the rural areas of Corby, Kettering, Wellingborough, East Northamptonshire and Daventry will all be entitled to benefit.

Provisional enquiries should be made now. Contact Thomas Meyer, Leader Programme Manager, NEP, on 01604 609552 or email thomas.meyer@northamptonshireep.co.uk