A major new programme for towns in rural areas, combining the best of urban and rural renaissance, will be announced today by Yorkshire Forward, the regional development agency, as part of a Government drive to improve rural life.
The £2.8m programme is to benefit up to 40 small towns across Yorkshire and Humber over the next ten years, Yorkshire Forward will announce at the Great Yorkshire Show.
The agency plans to appoint an international panel of experts to work on Market Town Renaissance The intention is to work with local communities to develop 25 year visions for their towns, with populations between 5,000 and 20,000, making them places where people "want to live, work, invest and visit."
Renaissance teams will support local people and local partners, including town and district councils, Chambers of Trade and community groups in developing a vision for each town.
The vision they develop will be backed up by an action plan which identifies the niche markets for the town, its role as a service centre, and its connections with surrounding rural areas, around which future investment can be planned.
Heather Hancock, Executive Director of Environment for Yorkshire Forward said: "One of Yorkshire Forward's guiding principles is to support the renaissance of all our towns and cities. We want market towns to flourish alongside bigger settlements, and in support of the network of villages that depend upon them.
"The first critical step is to agree the vision for the town, and that's what the Market Town Renaissance programme is all about: putting in place the skills and support to enable those communities to take a long hard look at themselves and their future, and plan to achieve their aspirations."