a. ) The Retail Revolution that has been occurring in waves since the 1970's was such a shift in the way in which our services are provided that consequences for surrounding areas were inevitable. With the first wave of decentralisation of the inner city areas supermarket food industries left to edge-of-city sites causing much strain on the need for corner shops which in comparison to the mega-stores were of low variety and unattractive to shoppers.
This coupled with the fact that the residents of rural areas were increasingly becoming more mobile meant that there was an overall decline in general store and corner shops in many rural areas that neighboured large cities. With a decline in services available close by there are always going to be people who lose out. For instance older residents that perhaps have lived in these villages for a long time may not be car owners. Consequently these people will decide to move to a place that has the services they require close by and there will be a decline in population.
Any area in a cycle of declining population and loss of services often continues to do so until the process of dilapidation is out of control. We saw this process in Caistor, a rural settlement outside of Grimsby, where the introduction of a Morison's Super store 7 miles away had caused great decline. Also a Tescos 10 miles away from Caistor provided a bus service to and from the village meaning the rate of decline is intense. Evidence we found showed that for a town of population of 3,500 the village still had adequate services.
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However, the roots of the village were of a prestigious schooling reputation, which had fuelled much growth in the area at one time. Now the supermarkets have a firm hold in the neighbouring area the growth has subsided to what we see today. Many stores closed down, being converted back into residences in many cases. Only some specialist functions survived. Mainly those that rely on the village image to sell their product, for example Sandham's Wine cellars. Large losses in services and shops have clearly occurred though and from the looks of the village it will have difficulty in attracting outside investment.
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This is a common problem in rural areas today, the problem has spiralled into disrepair and only a large cash injection to make the area seem more attractive will solve the problem. In more suburban areas including rural areas that have become suburbanised due to urban sprawl another consequence of decentralisation is apparent. Along the edge of Leeds places like Moortown and Headingly we noticed that District centres were catering for their local communities. In Moortown there was a clear Jewish presence in the area and in Headingly a student orientated district centre.
Both examples of how the change in retail provision is affecting change. People can afford to be more demanding and to go farther afield to find what they want so retailers are responding by getting closer to the communities they cater for. b. ) Inner city areas in light of the mass decentralisation have understandably tended to decline with the closure of smaller shops drawing the public away from the city centre and many traditional high street areas have become very run down places. This has caused somewhat of a response from city planners who finally admit that decentralisation is a bad thing and doesn't simply relieve congestion.
The American response to the decline of their inner city areas was to convert the CBD to specialist shopping areas that offer something the out of town malls and plazas do not. Many schemes including the adaptation of high rise foundations to custom shopping centres have been paid for in order to rescue America's city centres from desertion. In Britain however, city centres have declined still, but not nearly as much as America due to planning controls put in place and less suburbanisation.
Still the major movements of decentralisation have created a pull factor away from the city centre and high street units. There were five main changes to the high street: 1. ) Large companies having standard image, large stores were broken into smaller units and a core and frame of the CBD itself was emerging, where it was clear that in the frame area refurbishment of shop fronts and insides was no longer economically viable 2. ) Functions became more varied with an increasing number of personal consumer services, financial, household, medical, leisure, and government services. . )
The perception of the high street as the focus for the community has become less strong 4. ) Land rental price increases and there was increasing competition for non-retail investors to maximise profits through office blocks etc 5. ) The highs street's position in the urban structure is under threat as retailing diversifies in character and location Another affect that the changes have brought about, are the planning responses in Britain. We saw how America specialised its CBD in order to make it more attractive again.
British city councils have taken action to combat the decentralisation and many schemes have been tried, some worked, others failed, in any case the answer usually requires a large monetary input. In Leeds for example full pedestrianisation of large blocks has made for more pleasant shopping environment attracting shoppers making the land more desirable for retailers again. Attractive indoor centres are an extension of this with places like the Trinity centre, which have clearly had large investment and the heritage based Granary Wharf and Corn Exchange that link a tourist attraction in to bring in the shoppers.
Mass shop front refurbishment like that of the Victorian quarter, which has also been roofed over, attract prestigious shops into the area and breathe life into the city centre again. The costs involved for these type of schemes are no doubt enormous and one can only expect to see retail prices rising as a result. But Leeds is just one example of where the schemes have worked, many other British cities to this day are suffering the affects of decentralisation brought about by the Retail Revolution.
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