Rory Stewart MP is signposting constituency businesses to a package of
measures to assist rural entrepreneurs in the county, following
Cumbria Rural Growth Network’s recent launch of a free planning
advisory service. The new service forms just part of a comprehensive
range of new business support initiatives targeted at boosting
economic performance in the county.

Rory Stewart said: “I’d love to make all businesses in the
constituency aware of this free service, available to farms and
retailers and everything in between, which will be delivered by Rural
Futures (North West) Ltd.. It is so important for businesses wishing
to grow, or wishing to gain a foothold in the local economy, to
benefit from sound planning advice, yet this can so often be very
costly. This new service will help ensure that planning need not be an
obstacle to business development, and also ensure that businesses are
kept abreast of changes in the planning system.”

John Welbank, the managing director of Rural Futures (North West)
explained that “Planning can still be a major obstacle for business
development in rural areas so early advice can be the key to success.
The new, free service will be able to assist businesses develop high
quality planning submissions that understand the planning constraints
within the county. The planning system is changing rapidly so it is
vital that businesses are aware of what will and won’t be supported.
In certain situations full planning consent may not even be required.
Recent government announcements on permitted development rights will
make a significant difference to new business development projects,
especially those associated with redundant farm buildings. Even within
the National Park it may now be possible to change the use of
buildings without the need for a full planning submission. These
changes are very new and it is vital that applicants get the right
advice from the outset. It is clear that the government is serious
about opening up economic opportunities in rural areas. The new
service is here to assist this process.”

The programme is funded through both European (ERDF) and UK sources,
and forms just one part of a group of business support measures that
fall under the Cumbria Business Growth Hub and Rural Growth Network.
Businesses can contact Rural Futures directly on 01524 736845 or
through the Growth Hub web portal at

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