A Rural/Market Town grouping of the RSN

Why do we need a rural market town grouping?

The RSN believes that Rural Communities are frequently overlooked in a policy environment dominated by urban thinking and policy concerns. This often means communities either miss out on the benefits or experience unintended consequences from policies which are poorly thought-through from a rural perspective.   This means that government policy currently neglects the many hundreds of important rural towns across England.

We believe these towns play a vital role not only in the lives of their inhabitants but also in both the local and national economy.  That is why we want them to receive more focus.

Rural areas and their intricate network of rural communities should be able to realise their potential within the national economy and need to be appropriately recognised and supported in government thinking and actions.

What is the Rural Market Town Group?

To underline the importance of these English towns, the role they play and their potential going forward, The Rural Services Network have developed a new initiative to develop a Rural/Market Town Grouping within the Rural Services Network. This new Grouping will work to add to our Call on Government for a Rural Strategy.

We have begun this initiative by approaching one town or the largest village in each of the 200+ rural areas across England which has been identified by Defra for their distinctive characteristic. This process will be expanded in time to ensure that all those that wish to be involved are fully engaged.

Whilst we appreciate and celebrate the diversity of our rural areas, we seek to create a universal voice to represent all different types of rural areas across England ensuring that no form of rural area is excluded.

Up to until now 112 Towns and Parishes have already agreed to commence the group and we look forward to hearing from the remainder of the 200 councils approached. We are currently on target for the 120 members we seek.

→ View current members by clicking here

If other Rural Towns who we are yet to contact want to learn more about this matter, please contact us at admin@sparse.gov.uk

Services provided to the group will include:

  • Engagement in Rural Strategy campaign to ensure feedback from Market Town Group is included within consultation 
  • Development of some good practice and learning material related to the key policy areas and delivery challenges or opportunities for rural/market towns
  • Receiving the Rural Bulletin, a weekly newsletter provided by the Rural Services Network highlighting rural news, issues affecting rural communities, and highlighting the work of the Rural Services Network
  • Provision of a dedicated newsletter highlighting relevant latest policy developments, showcasing interesting member practice and flagging relevant initiatives or funding opportunities
  • Periodic online surveys of the members of rural/market towns, to gather comparative information about topics of particular interest to this grouping
  • Access to the RSN Seminar Programme
  • An annual Rural Town networking meeting held online
Rural/Market Towns Documents:
Rural/Market Towns Members (112):
Ackworth Parish Council Alcester Town Council Alnwick Town Council Alvechurch Parish Council Ampthill Town Council
Arundel Town Council Ashby de la Zouch Town Council Atherstone Town Council Balsall Parish Council Belper Town Council
Biddenden Parish Council Biddulph Town Council Bingham Town Council Bourne Town Council Bovey Tracey Town Council
Brampton Parish Council Buckingham Town Council Burnham on Sea and Highbridge Town Council Burscough Parish Council Caistor Town Council
Carnforth Town Council Chalfont St Giles Parish Council Chard Town Council Church Stretton Town Council Cirencester Town Council
Clare Town Council Cleator Moor Town Council Clevedon Town Council Clitheroe Town Council Clun Town Council with Chapel Lawn
Corsham Town Council Cranbrook and Sissinghurst Parish Council Cranleigh Parish Council Crediton Town Council Dalton with Newton Town Council
Downham Market Town Council Earl Shilton Town Council Earby Town Council East Grinstead Town Council East Horsley Parish Council
Faversham Town Council Finedon Town Council Frodsham Town Council Great Torrington Town Council Guisborough Town Council
Hadleigh Town Council Hartley Witney Parish Council Harworth and Bircotes Town Council Hexham Town Council Holsworthy Town Council
Kendal Town Council Keswick Town Council Knaresborough Town Council Knutsford Town Council Launceston Town Council
Ledbury Town Council Leominster Town Council Longridge Town Council Lutterworth Town Council Lymm Parish Council
Mablethorpe and Sutton Town Council Market Rasen Town Council Marlborough Town Council Midsomer Norton Town Council Minster Parish Council
New Alresford Town Council Normandy Parish Council Oakham Town Council Olney Town Council Otley Town Council
Oxted Parish Council Penrith Town Council Penzance Town Council Petersfield Town Council
Ripon City Council
Rothwell Town Council Rye Town Council Saffron Walden Town Council Sandy Town Council Saxmundham Town Council
Seaton Town Council Shaftesbury Town Council Sherborne Town Council Shildon Town Council Skipton Town Council
Sleaford Town Council Sodbury Town Council Soham Town Council St Austell Town Council St Ives Town Council
Stowmarket Town Council Stroud Town Council Swanley Town Council Swineshead Parish Council Tavistock Town Council
Tenbury Town Council Tenterden Town Council Thetford Town Council Thornbury Town Council Uckfield Town Council
Uppingham Town Council Uttoxeter Town Council Verwood Town Council Wallingford Town Council Wendover Parish Council
Wells City Council West Chiltington Parish Council Wetherby Town Council Wheathampstead Parish Council Whitby Town Council
Wisbech Town Council Wotton-under-Edge Town Council


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