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Winsford: Rural Recovery

Volume 455: debated on Wednesday 10 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether areas of Winsford are eligible for grants for rural recovery; if he will make available the relevant guidelines on bids for rural recovery; what rural recovery grants have been made in Winsford; and how much has been spent on administration in Warrington in total and as a percentage of grants made. (110260)

Cheshire Rural Recovery (now renamed Cheshire Rural Enterprise) was formed in 2003 as a five-year, £10 million scheme to assist in delivering improvements to Cheshire’s rural economy. The scheme manages a number of projects such as the Rural Small Building Scheme, which aims to refurbish under-used rural buildings, and Saddle Up which supports the equestrian sector. The exact criteria for the different areas of support can vary depending on the grant. The guidelines for applicants are available on the Cheshire Rural Enterprise website at:

http://www.cwhrural.info/.

The scheme has now committed virtually all of its resources. To date, two projects have been supported in Winsford, mainly though their impact on the wider rural area:

(i) As part of the Rural Business Development programme managed through Business Link, TCR Irrigation were supported to purchase specialist equipment. A £15,300 grant was offered of a £51,000 total project cost.

(ii) Support has been provided to develop a new radio station to be based in Winsford but covering a large area of rural Cheshire. A £18,980 grant was offered of a £71,470 total project cost.

As a rule, the urban areas of Winsford are not eligible for rural recovery grant support as the town has not been classed as a market town. The surrounding rural hinterland of the town would be eligible.

The administration costs for Cheshire Rural Enterprise are not managed at borough council level but are administered for the scheme as a whole. The administration costs for the whole scheme are set at 6.5 per cent. of the total approved.