WHO WE ARE
Chairman: Alex Birtles
Local solicitor, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Upper Eden Community Interest Company, as well as of the Steering Group that oversaw the creation and implementation of the country’s first Neighbourhood Development Plan in 2013. He is a member – and former Chair – of the Town Council and one of the architects of its 2014 Town Plan, the purpose of which was to ensure that the Local Planning Authority’s own Local Plan incorporates a truly grassroots approach to planning policy in respect of this particular community.
Retired from full-time farming in 2013, following a 25-year career as a hill sheep breeder on the commons of Winton and Kaber. During that period, variously served as Cumbria county chairman of the NFU; as a member of the NUMRP; as a steering committee member of both Objective 5b and Leader 2 (EU funded rural regeneration projects); as a MLC Sheep Strategy Group member as well as salaried positions (1) Project Officer – The Bowland Initiative, and (2) Manager & Company Secretary of Hawes Auction Mart. Also held directorships with Upper Wensleydale Community & Tourism Development Co. Ltd., and The Dales Quality Meat Company. Since 2007 has also worked as an Assessor of Agricultural Apprentices at Newton Rigg College, Penrith.
For the past 25 years has specialised in economic regeneration, the arts and creative industries, managing mass participation events, and has experience in business start-ups including research, modelling, planning, funding and delivery.
Director of Whetstone Group, longstanding householders on Kaber Fell and South Stainmore. Specialises in helping entrepreneurs to devise and set up new enterprises, including the commercial sides of leisure and the cultural, creative and digital industries.