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Challenges for the rural West Midlands: What is a sustainable rural community?

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Christine Doel, SQW Consulting. From the Advantage West Midlands Supplement at ruralnet|2007

Christine Doel, SQW Consulting. From the Advantage West Midlands Supplement at ruralnet|2007

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Challenges for the rural West Midlands:  What is a sustainable rural community? Challenges for the rural West Midlands: What is a sustainable rural community? Presentation Transcript

  • Challenges for the rural West Midlands: What is a sustainable rural community? Christine Doel October 2007
  • What is a “sustainable community”? “Sustainable communities are places where people want to live and work, now and in the future. They meet the diverse needs of existing and future residents, are sensitive to their environment, and contribute to a high quality of life. They are safe and inclusive, well planned, built and run, and offer equality of opportunity and good services for all” Securing the Future: Delivering UK Sustainable Development Strategy, 2005
  • “Sustainable communities”: An urban paradigm?  Concept of sustainable communities has been applied in particular contexts:  substantial new development and/or new settlements, particularly in Growth Areas and Growth Points  in the context of wider agendas relating to urban renaissance… “sustainable living is urban living”  But where does this leave rural areas, settlements and communities?  Is there such a thing as a “sustainable rural community”? View slide
  • Sustainable rural communities: compound challenges Services Services Mobility? ? Homes Jobs Homes Jobs • Quality of life for the individual? • Quality of life for the individual? • Sustainability of rural communities? • Sustainability of rural communities? View slide
  • Policy responses Two key themes from Defra:  productivity  access to services Studies completed for AWM:  analysis of data – mainly at district level – on the performance of rural areas, focusing especially on the productivity drivers  detailed analysis of Census data – particularly travel to work patterns amongst different occupational groups – for 16 market towns from across the region  development – with partners – of a rural accessibility to services framework
  • Key indicators of economic performance Proportion of VAT WAP with Workplace Resident Earnings LAD registrations LAD Level 4+ earnings, Earnings, gap, classification per 10,000 qualifications, 2006 (£) 2006 (£) 2006 (£) WAP, 2005 2005 Rural-80 average 25.6% 65.2 27,243 30,902 -3,659 Oswestry 17.5% 52.9 21,684 21,397 287 Rural-80 South Shropshire 21.9% 62.8 18,444 23,104 -4,660 Bridgnorth 35.2% 53.7 17,435 24,270 -6,835 Rural-50 average 25.5% 56.0 25,534 26,590 -1,056 Herefordshire 26.2% 61.4 20,428 20,000 428 Rural-50 Malvern Hills 35.8% 66.8 21,427 25,763 -4,336 North Warwickshire 21.1% 45.1 23,392 21,728 1,664 W Mids - All Rural 56.8 26.0% 26,212 28,405 -2,193 West Midlands 45.7 23.0% 26,197 26,270 England 26.20% 30,097 30,171 51.0 Sources: LFS/APS, VAT Registrations/Deregistrations, ASHE NB. Earnings data for Bridgnorth is 2005
  • Implications arising from – and limitations of – district-level data  Variation within the LAD classifications often greater than between  South Shropshire & Oswestry both Rural-80 LADs, but so is Stratford- on-Avon  Herefordshire & North Warwickshire both Rural- 50  Aggregated data by LAD classification should be used with caution  Implications in terms of Defra’s targets
  • Insights from real places – market towns 14 Mean distance travelled to work in the Coleshill 12 Free-standing towns Alcester serving rural hinterlands 10 Southam Uttoxeter Leominster settlement (km) Ludlow 8 Newport Ross-o-W Oswestry 6 Stourport-o-S Whitchurch Kington Cheadle Church Bewdley Evesham Stretton 4 Towns with moderate Towns with high dependence dependency on larger 2 on nearby urban centres nearby settlements 0 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 Self-containment (%)
  • Spatial dimensions  Emerging market towns typology has a distinctive geography…  Are towns in the west of the region more sustainable than those further east?
  • Additional perspectives: modes of travel for different settlement types across the West Midlands Working Public Car or Foot or Rural-urban from trans. m/bike bicycle home typology Less 9.8% 2.7% 64.9% 22.6% sparse Urban Sparse 7.6% 12.0% 67.7% 12.4% Less 10.0% 4.4% 74.7% 10.6% sparse Town & Fringe Sparse 11.7% 3.3% 59.2% 25.4% Less 15.2% 2.9% 73.5% 8.0% sparse Village Sparse 21.5% 2.3% 67.5% 8.0% Less Hamlet 22.6% 2.3% 68.7% 5.8% sparse & Isolated Sparse 30.8% 1.5% 60.5% 6.2% Dwelling
  • A paradigm for a sustainable rural community?  Perhaps…  But what does self containment and a high incidence of home-working really mean?  Scenario A: Quality of life aspirations satisfied locally and a lifestyle choice to work from home, probably using ICT connectivity? PLUS economically active people around during the day, solving the “dormitory settlement syndrome” and generating social capital to build communities, etc. Or  Scenario B: Few options, low quality jobs locally and poor access to those further afield, working from home as a survival strategy, isolation, exclusion and probable disadvantage?
  • When and why access to services matters Access to services per se does not always matter… Services …metrics of accessibility are unhelpful ? …although it may matter greatly, both for Homes Jobs individuals and communities
  • Framework for rural accessibility to services Aim: Improving access for those most in need to services and opportunities which will make the greatest difference to their lives People: Which groups of Services: people are at particular risk of What kinds of services exclusion in rural / opportunities make parts of the West the greatest difference Midlands? to people’s lives? Places: In what kinds of places are issues arising? What is the spatial backdrop?
  • What is a “sustainable rural community”? “Sustainable communities are places where people want to live and work, now and in the Services future. They meet the diverse needs of existing and future residents, are sensitive to their environment, and contribute to a Community high quality of life. They are safe and and inclusive, well planned, built mobility? and run, and offer equality of Homes Jobs opportunity and good services for all” Securing the Future: Delivering UK Sustainable Development Strategy, 2005
  • Contact Christine Doel Director SQW Consulting t. 01223 209400 e. cmdoel@sqw.co.uk w. www.sqw.co.uk