Looking behind the scenery: 2050 Commission focuses on rural Hampshire

With only 15 per cent of Hampshire classified as urban, rural life in Hampshire is both a source of immense enjoyment and one of the county’s biggest challenges.

Feb 26 2019

Hants 2050 Lockerley Estate speakers

Hampshire 2050, an independent Commission of Inquiry set up by Hampshire County Council to explore how best to ensure Hampshire’s future prosperity, focused its most recent hearing (Friday February 22, 2019) on the future of living and working in the countryside.

Councillor Roy Perry, Leader of Hampshire County Council, said: “While Hampshire is, indeed, a place of stunning countryside and coastline, there is a rural reality that many may not see. The way we manage land and balance competing pressures such as food production, biodiversity or renewable energy have a significant impact on the natural environment and quality of life. What has been made clear to us today is that this beautiful countryside enjoyed by so many people, both residents, businesses and visitors alike, is not here by accident but is the result of generations of hard work and careful stewardship.”

Evidence was presented at the hearing on farming and forestry, the challenges of commoning in the New Forest and the future of rural services by Oliver Cooke of the Young New Forest Commoners, Craig Livingstone from the Lockerley Estate and Graham Biggs of the Rural Services Network.

Councillor Perry continued: “Connectivity, environmental impacts, affordability, an ageing population, and preserving traditional skills are just some of the issues set to impact on living and working in Hampshire’s countryside.  There’s a particular challenge around providing housing in rural communities to meet local needs. These issues must be carefully considered by a range of organisations and authorities if rural Hampshire is going to be attractive and vibrant place for the next generation.”

The Commission has been set up by Hampshire County Council to explore how best to ensure Hampshire’s future prosperity. It examines some of the main, inter-related themes that will have an impact on those living and working in Hampshire in the coming years.

The Hampshire 2050 Commission of Inquiry has heard evidence on Demographic and Societal Challenges, the future of the Hampshire Economy, Work, Skills and Lifestyle, Environment and Quality of Place, Mobility, Connectivity and Energy and Rural Hampshire.

A special hearing requested by the Commissioners on issues around deprivation, diversity and youth will take place on 15 March.

A full report on the findings of the Commission will be presented to the County Council in the summer of 2019 and a Vision of Hampshire 2050 established. Hampshire 2050 will link to national plans, such as the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan and its focus on housing and infrastructure to inform potential economic deals for Hampshire.

Further information at: Vision for Hampshire 2050