Shropshire Councillor to lead network of rural improvements across England

A Shropshire Councillor has been re-elected as the chairman of the national Rural Services Network.

Councillor Cecilia Motley
Councillor Cecilia Motley

Cecilia Motley, who represents Corvedale on the county authority, has held the position of RSN chairman since 2014, and has represented Shropshire Council on the body since 2007.

She has a wide range of experience in local government, having been a councillor since 2003, a past leader of South Shropshire District Council, and a Shropshire Councillor since 2009.

Councillor Motley is also a former cabinet member and is currently chairman of the council’s communities overview committee.

The representative for Shropshire Council on the County Councils Network, Councillor Motley is also a vice-chairman of the Shropshire Hills AONB Strategy and Partnership Boards and is a past member of Arts Council Midlands Board, representing rural authorities.

The Corvedale division is one of the most rural in the Shropshire Council area.

Councillor Motley was re-elected as chairman at the RSN’s AGM.

She said: “I am pleased to be able to represent rural areas and continue the all-important campaign for a fair deal for our rural communities.

"We appreciate that all areas of the country are struggling, but rural areas have suffered consistently from years of underfunding and investment and need different policy solutions to enable them to thrive.”

Graham Biggs, chief executive of the RSN, said: “The country is at a critical point in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The lockdown restrictions throughout the key spring and summer months have had a big impact on those rural areas relying on visitors.

"In addition, the rural economy has a high number of SMEs and sole traders, many of whom do not have big reserves of money to support them through down periods for the business.

“The RSN represents local authorities across the length of England and Councillor Motley represents a very rural division so is well attuned to the difficulties facing those in rural areas.”

In the year ahead the RSN, with Councillor Motley at the helm, is leading the charge to improve rural services with its campaign Revitalising Rural, which sets out a number of policy asks in key areas to enable rural areas to improve locations of historic underfunding and to realise their full potential.

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