<ul><li>Counter-urbanisation is one of a number of processes contributing to social and demographic change in rural settlements, sometimes referred to as the rural turnaround. The main changes include: </li></ul><ul><li>The out-migration of young village-born adults seeking education and employment opportunities elsewhere. </li></ul><ul><li>The decline of the elderly village-born population, due to death. </li></ul><ul><li>The in-migration of young to middle-aged married couples or families with young children. </li></ul><ul><li>The in-migration of younger, more affluent people, which results in increased house prices. </li></ul>Counter-urbanisation (2)
These changes do not take place uniformly within all rural settlements. There are considerable variations between and within parishes. The ones with the most change are key settlements that have a range of basic services and good access to commuter routes. Such settlements are called suburbanised settlements. Land-use patterns of suburbanised villages Like suburban areas in towns and cities, suburbanised villages have experienced much change in recent years. The influx of new population has been reflected in changes to the land-use structure of the area. These changes include new detached and semi-detached houses and bungalows, both on individual plots and on estates of varying sizes, and the conversion of old farm buildings
Cambridge St Ives Case Study: The effects of counter-urbanisation: St Ives, Cambridgeshire
Location St Ives is a small town in Cambridgeshire. 100km north of London. It lies on the A1123, 8km east of Huntingdon and 25km north west of Cambridge, just off the A14 trunk road. The town is close to both the A1 trunk road and the main east coast railway line. Regular trains to London make the area very accessible.
Background St Ives is a picturesque river-side town, on the Great Ouse. It has a narrow six arched bridge with a central chapel that was built in the 15 th century. The town has connections with Oliver Cromwell and has a statue in his memory in the market square. There are many fine Georgian and Victorian houses in the Broadway and Bridge Street. Other buildings include the Corn Exchange and All Saints Church. The building styles contribute a great deal to the character of the place and add to the attraction of living there.
The surrounding rural area is mainly farmland. In recent years there have been many housing developments on the periphery of the town. A substantial number of exclusive apartments have also been built within the heart of the town, particularly on the south bank of the Great Ouse
Changing Population and prosperity Population structure of the town is changing. One section of the community is ageing, but another is becoming more youthful. A large proportion of the working population is now employed outside the town. There has been an influx of people from in and around London, who prefer commuting daily rather than living in London Housing in the area is affordable and sustained boom in demand for property has been the result. People in St Ives have higher incomes and standards of living than those in many other parts of the UK. Recently retired people are moving to the area. Their impact is noticeable in the increased demand for bungalows and small river-side apartment blocks.
Commuting to London increased during the 1990’s. the main line was electrified and journey times were reduced. The station at Huntingdon is about 50 mins from Kings Cross. It is estimated that 25% of St Ives’ working population now commutes to London each day. These people prefer to live in a rural/small town environment and travelling to London each day. An annual standard class season ticket costs over £3,300 is 2004, but housing in London is significantly more expensive. Prosperity in the town has been increasing for some elderly people who own their own properties and for families who have moved out of London, but for others there is a different picture. There is an increasing gap between those who can afford the rising cost of housing nad commuting and those on low wages, such as farm workers, or on part time wages or YTS. The cost of housing is beyond the means of those on lower pay. There is a demand for low cost housing for young local families but few builders are prepared to provide it.
Services in the town The shops and services in the town have changed as the make-up of the population has altered. There are still supermarkets, butchers, bakers amd greengrocers, but there are also high-status services such as restaurants, antique dealers, designer clothes shops and knick-knack shops. A number of estate agents have offices in the town, as do branches of banks and building societies. The secondary school roll is increasing. As in other rural areas, the bus service to St Ives is infrequent, although it is better than many others because the town lies on a more-or-less direct route between Cambridge and Huntingdon. Bus transport is available during priority times.
Pressure to increase the housing stock is becoming greater, fuelled by demand from commuters. There is some resistance to building more homes from the local residents, many of these are relatively new to the area and do not want their newly chosen environment changed. It is likely that additional house construction will take place because demand is great. However, developers will be encouraged to ensure new developments blend in with the current urban landscape. There will need to be an acceptable density of buildings, use of appropriate materials, provision of open space, preservation of vistas and tasteful provision of street furniture (road signs, seating, lamp posts). Any further development must make a positive contribution to the overall character of the area.