‘Living, Thriving & Working in Rural Hertfordshire’

Hertfordshire’s Rural Conference 2016

19th October

Church Farm Ardeley
Nr Stevenage
Herts SG2 7AH


Conference gives voice to rural communities in Herts


Many issues and challenges facing people who live and work in rural parts of Hertfordshire were explored at a landmark conference. 

‘Living, thriving and working in Rural Herts’ was held last week by CDA Herts and Hertfordshire County Council to address the specific concerns of rural communities and businesses in the county. The conference also launched a new Rural Issues Network for Hertfordshire to give a greater collective voice to people living and working in rural areas. It was held at Church Farm Ardeley where food, farming and free range experiences are provided by Farm Director Tim Waygood and his team.

Robert Gordon, Leader of Hertfordshire County Council, launched the conference. He said: “Perhaps due to our proximity to London, some people tend to think of Hertfordshire as an ‘urban’ county. And whilst we clearly do not have the same levels of remote rurality you find elsewhere, it is nonetheless worth reminding ourselves that by area almost 68 per cent of Hertfordshire is classified as ‘rural’.

“Our green and pleasant land is a key part of what makes our county such a highly desirable place to live. We want Hertfordshire to remain a county where people have the opportunity to live healthy, fulfilling lives in thriving, prosperous communities. We want to create opportunities for everyone to maximise their potential – regardless of whether they live in an urban or rural setting.”

CDA Herts chief executive Kate Belinis said: “As the Rural Community Council for Hertfordshire, we were delighted to be invited to co-host and organise the Rural Conference and extremely pleased at the diversity of people attending and organisations represented. We were also thrilled to be able to launch the new Rural Issues Network which met with much enthusiasm from those present.”

The conference explored how people in rural communities can have a greater influence over local decisions and how economic growth can be balanced with the need to protect Hertfordshire’s natural environment and diverse habitats.

The keynote speech was delivered by The Rt Revd Dr Alan Smith, Lord Bishop of St Albans and President of the Rural Coalition, who highlighted the need for affordable housing, access to services, and the importance of connectivity through broadband and transport links for rural communities in Hertfordshire. Other speakers included CLA Regional director for East of England Ben Underwood, Lesley Davies Chief Executive Officer Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust, Kari Hall Programme Manager Eastern Plateau Rural Development Programme, Harry Bott DL and Hertfordshire Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner David Gibson.

Delegates also attended Workshops throughout the day led by the Plunkett Foundation which discussed community shops and pubs, the Rural Services Network considering the future of rural service delivery, Visit Herts covering leisure and tourism, Tewin Community Transport group which is addressing isolation, Rural care working with people with special needs and for the hardy there was a tour of Church Farm.

Access to the day’s content is available through the menu links.  There is also a section on the new Herts Rural Issues Network and an opportunity to join.

To see the full Conference Programme please click here

Following are the presentation slides and leaflet available for download :

To download presentation slides of Alan Collard – The Plunkett Foundation please click here

To download presentation slides of Ben Underwood – CLA please click here

To download presentation slides of David Gibson, Deputy Herts Police & Crime Commissioner please click here

To download presentation slides of Kari Hall-Eastern Plateau Rural Development Fund please click here

To download presentation slides of Lesley Davies-Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust please click here

To download presentation slides of Merralyn Sandison – Tewin Transport Group please click here

To download presentation slides of Sean Owen – Visit Herts please click here

To download presentation slides of Ann De Bock & Jude Allen – Care Farming please click here

To download Rural Services Network’s information leaflet please click here

To read Keynote Speech by The Rt Revd Dr Alan Smith, Lord Bishop of St Albans please click here

Please contact Tim Hayward-Smith for further information tim.hayward-smith@cdaherts.org.uk