Bishop of Ely gives maiden speech

THE Bishop of Ely, the Rt Revd Dr Anthony Russell, gave his maiden speech in the House of Lords on January 10. Drawing on his wide experience of rural affairs, he praised the document An Action Plan for Community Empowerment for its emphasis on locali

THE Bishop of Ely, the Rt Revd Dr Anthony Russell, gave his maiden speech in the House of Lords on January 10.

Drawing on his wide experience of rural affairs, he praised the document An Action Plan for Community Empowerment for "its emphasis on localism and the devolution of responsibility and power to local organisations".

He warned that "people are leaving the new settlements at a faster rate than was anticipated and they (the new settlements) are in danger of acquiring a reputation for being acres of housing without any meaningful sense of community".

"Whilst it is easy to build houses, it is very difficult to create community," he said.


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The Bishop is the Church of England's spokesman on farming and countryside matters and maintains a particular interest in the socio-economic aspects of rural and farming communities.

He is currently President of Cambridgeshire ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England) - the Rural Community Council for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. He was President of the Royal Agricultural Society for 2004/5, and was Chaplain (1973-82), and later Director (1983-88), of the Arthur Rank Centre, at Stoneleigh, the national rural resources unit for churches serving the rural community.

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