21/06/2021 - RSN SPARSE Rural

Notes of last SPARSE Rural Special Interest Group meeting on 21 June 2021 - held online via Zoom

- To download the agenda and papers associated for this meeting, click here
- To download these minutes for this meeting, click here
- You can view the attendance and apologies list, click here


1. Attendance & Apologies

Cllr Cecilia Motley (Chair, Rural Services Network and Shropshire Council) welcomed members with apologies that she would have to leave halfway through for another engagement. Mr Graham Biggs agreed to take over as Chair for the remainder of the meeting.

2. Notes from the previous SPARSE Rural meeting 25.01.21

The Minutes from the SPARSE Rural meeting on 25 January 2021 were approved

3. Notes from the previous RSN Executive meeting 17.05.21

The Minutes from the RSN Executive meeting on 17 May 2021 were noted

4. Assessing Costs associated with Remoteness

Cllr Motley welcomed Adrian Jenkins (Pixel Financial Management). Members received a presentation with an interim report which was seeking to identify additional rural costs of remoteness.

Please note that full notes and presentation outlining what was discussed in this item are available only to SPARSE members of the RSN. If you are a SPARSE member of RSN and would like to view the full notes, please email us at admin@sparse.gov.uk with the title of this meeting and date and a request for full notes and presentation, and we will forward you this information.

Mr Biggs recognised constraints around Government input given the current issues arising from the pandemic. He said that there are some very big policy issues to be handled through the spending review – social care, levelling up, reorganisation and devolution and because of these, there is always a danger that some other major issues will be dropped.

He went on to inform colleagues that work on comparisons is being undertaken by the RSN in respect of spending on discretionary services between rural and urban. Members continued discussion on ways used to incentivise small local companies to bid for smaller developments.

Mr Biggs said that he felt that identification of each councils own rural costs needs to come directly from them and offered to help with any issues in setting this up.

Colleagues were encouraged to submit any suggestions they might have to enable greater evidence. This would help in producing a briefing paper for MPs in the Fair Share Group as it was felt that the newer intake of MPs may not be aware of the issues. Although the group recognised the unlikeliness of anything moving forward until 2023-24, they agreed that briefing rural constituency MPs at an early opportunity will raise awareness and hopefully lead them to raise issues whenever the opportunity arises.

Mr Jenkins referred to the Bidding for the Levelling Up Fund – an example where colleagues had been told that there would be a second round but to date have not been told when this would be. Members agreed that issues such as these provide difficulty around planning.

Mr Biggs suggested a survey might be useful and agreed to look into taking this forward.

5. Any Other Business

Mr Biggs thanked Adrian Jenkins for his work and the informative presentation.

Colleagues were thanked for attending the meeting and were reminded to login separately for the Rural Economy Sub Group meeting in the afternoon.


Full Name


Cllr Giles Archibald

South Lakeland District Council

Cllr Steve Arnold

Ryedale District Council

Cllr Edward Baines

Rutland County Council

Graham Biggs MBE

Rural Services Network

Kerry Booth

Rural Services Network

Martin Collett

English Rural HA

Abi Culley

Warwickshire County Council

Fatima de Abreu

Local Government Association

Christopher Edmonds

West Devon Borough Council

Cllr John Evans

Uttlesford District Council

Cllr Richard Good

Richmondshire District Council

Lucy Hume

North Norfolk District Council

David Inman

Rural Services Network

Adrian Jenkins

Pixel Finance

Peter Lappin

Devon County Council

Clive Mason

Harborough District Council

Alice Mason

Wychavon District Council

Toby Matthews

Norfolk County Council

Cllr Cecilia Motley (Chair)

Rural Services Network / Shropshire Council

Cllr Yvonne Peacock

Richmondshire District Council

Cllr Roger Phillips

Herefordshire Council

Cllr Leigh Rawlins

South Oxfordshire District Council

Cllr Sue Sanderson

Cumbria County Council

Cllr Jeremy Savage

South Norfolk District Council

Cllr Richard Sherras

Ribble Valley Borough Council

Cllr Margaret Squires

Mid Devon District Council

Cllr Harry St John

West Oxfordshire District Council

Cllr Peter Stevens

West Suffolk Council

Dr Cllr Virginia Taylor

Eden District Council

Anthony Thomas

Lichfield District Council

Cllr Peter Thornton

Cumbria County Council

Nadine Trout

Rural Services Network

Andrew Wallace

West Northamptonshire Council


Full Name


Cllr Philip Atkins

Staffordshire County Council

Cllr Owen Bierley

West Lindsey District Council

Lisa Buckle

South Hams and West Devon Councils

Cllr Sarah Butikofer

North Norfolk District Council

Michelle Drewery

Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk

Cllr Alex Hall

Lincolnshire County Councillor

Helen Harris

Leicestershire County Council

Cllr Michael Harris

New Forest District Council

Nik Harwood

Young Somerset

Cllr Robert Heseltine

North Yorkshire County Council

Cllr Chris Kettle

Stratford District Council

Gary Powell

Teignbridge District Council

Cllr Helen Reeve

South Hams District Council

Cllr Sue Tucker

Scarborough Borough Council


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