PROFESSOR Chris Proudman has been appointed chairman of the new Cheshire West and Chester Council rural regeneration board.

The professor of equine studies in Neston and former associate dean for business affairs at the University of Liverpool has a significant rural background and knowledge.

He said: “My personal commitment to the rural regeneration agenda arises from a lifetime of involvement in rural affairs and a deep affection and respect for rural communities.

“The rural landscape and its guardians are an under-valued and under-invested-in resource. I commend Cheshire West and Chester Council’s resolve to address this oversight and am proud to be a part of their rural regeneration programme.”

Brought up in a small village in Warwickshire and currently a resident in one of Cheshire’s small market towns, Prof Proudman has a good understanding of the concerns and problems of rural England.

His professional life has involved working with farmers, horse owners and rural event organisers in various parts of the UK, including Cumbria during the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in 2001.

Prof Proudman has worked for the University of Liverpool for 22 years at its School of Veterinary Science based at Leahurst near Neston.

Cllr Herbert Manley, executive member for prosperity, which includes regeneration, said: “Professor Proudman brings a wealth of experience in the rural sector, together with first-class organisational skills honed at a very high level.

“He’s under no illusions about the size of the task ahead but shares our determination to bring public and private sector together to secure a sustainable future for rural Cheshire West.”

A board of up to 12 people will now be appointed and the first meeting will take place in September.