The announcement came from farming minister Jim Paice, who said the area was the latest of five regions to benefit from the Rural Growth Network (RGN). The RGN was set up to help rural areas overcome the barriers to economic growth, such as a shortage of business premises and poor broadband access.
Paice said: “Farms and rural businesses are too often held back by problems like insufficient local business premises and few training opportunities. The Rural Growth Network will take down these barriers to growth, allowing farmers and local entrepreneurs to turn their ambitions into reality. I’m looking forward to meeting some of them today to celebrate this great news for businesses in the north east.”
To date, a total of 61 new work premises are planned for Northumberland and Durham and Paice visited one example of the RGN’s future ‘enterprise hubs’ based in Middleton-in-Teesdale. The new hub will take up part of the Auction Mart, which will be transformed into six new premises to provide business support and training services.
Chair of the Tees Valley Food Farming and Rural Affairs Network Lorna Jackson expressed how delighted she was to have met Paice. She said: “It is of great importance to the Tees Valley that we are one of 17 networks across the country talking straight to Defra about barriers and opportunities that can shape the Tees Valley of the future.”
The Rural Growth Network is part of the £165m programme of measures the government is delivering to grow business and create new job prospects in rural areas.
Paice will finish his Rural Roadshow with a visit to Chatterley Farm in Wolsingham to see how farmer John Allen has progressed with business support from Defra