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January 5 2015.

Norman Baker is pushing for better access to services for rural communities to ensure the fabric of rural areas is protected as vibrant living communities.

Norman says: “People in rural areas are entitled to proper services, just like anyone else, but sometimes, as with broadband, they get left behind, which also affects local businesses badly. I want a fair deal for our rural areas.

“Our rural communities appear to be let down by some service providers which means they get a second rate service. For instance BT’s shambolic service for West Dean residents, many of whom who were left without a phone connection for up to six weeks last year.”

Norman is proposing a 5-point plan for rural areas:

• Support for community assets such as post offices and pubs should be strengthened. The government should put more business the way of post offices which should be protected by “community” status where necessary, as recently achieved in Ditchling. Planning laws should be strengthened to stop pubs being lost overnight and then converted to housing.

• Tory plans for Bus service cuts to the villages should be abondened.

• Rail services to country stations like Plumpton, Cooksbridge, Glynde and Berwick should be protected or indeed enhanced, especially at Cooksbridge.

• Fast-speed broadband should be rolled out to all villages by the end of 2015, with very poorly served areas like Rodmell given priority.

• A fair deal for farmers, with less nit picking bureaucracy, and a fairer deal for them from our supermarkets.