Business Parks - Sample Answer

Unit G2 – Human Geography – Rural Settlement



Figure 1.  Blythe Valley Business Park, Solihull.


Source: KDG Photos



a)     Use Figure 1 to explain why the green belt is often targetted for the development of business and office parks.


The Blythe Valley Business Park, Solihull, is in an area of which is aesthetically pleasing. Businesses target these areas as it gives the employees a pleasant environment in which to work in. Also, there is more space on the greenbelt because there are no other buildings around that take up space like in the inner city or Central Business District. On a greenfield site, businesses can expand and the shape of the site can be appropriate. It is also cheaper than building on a brownfield site, as there is no extra cost for decontamination of the area, especially if the brownfield site had been used for industry like a power station. Also on the edge of an urban settlement there is good accessibility to transportation, such as, near by motorways, for instance the Blythe Valley Business Park would use the M42. It means it is near an international airport meaning that it also has international trade. It also means that the business is near the urban settlement and has good access to the Central Business District of that settlement. This means that the business has a near by market. 


b)     Explain the issues caused by second home ownership in rural areas.


Second homes cause many issues. The economical issues are that local shops suffer. This is because less people are permanent residents therefore less people are there for all of the week so the local shop is used less. This means there’s a smaller profit for the local shops. The shops do, however, boom during the tourist season as more second home resident are there. Because there are less people living in the village the community suffers. Also because second home houses are bought by young people in the city they can afford higher priced houses than young people living in villages. This means that house prices rise in the village and local young people have to leave as they cannot compete. This is de-population. There is also more employment due to the demand of second homes. Social issues of second homes are that there are more houses due to the demand of second homes. This is bad environmentally as it destroys habitats, yet good economically as it means there’s more employment. Also due to the de-population, local schools close. This is because young families can’t afford to buy houses in villages due to rising house prices therefore they are moving away. Because there are fewer families there are fewer children meaning fewer schools. There are also likely to be fewer hospitals (near by), doctors surgeries and chemists as there are permanent residents. The environmental issues are that more houses are being created on farmland (as this is less needed due to the Common Agricultural Policy) therefore more habitats and food chains are being destroyed. Also people have to travel to there second homes and because they are second homes they are likely to do it regularly therefore carbon emissions are being released. Because there’s more carbon dioxide in the air, this has an affect on climate change. As habitats and plants have been destroyed creating the houses, there are fewer plants soaking up this extra carbon dioxide and turning into oxygen through photosynthesis which is really bad for the environment. Also when people have second homes they have to pay to heat and supply electricity to both homes. This is good for the economy as it means that more money is going into the economy, however, it is bad for the environment as it means that more carbon emissions are being released. Demographically, more people migrate for the weekend when they have a second home of which is bad socially due to de-population and environmentally due to the increase of carbon emission and good economically. These issues were happening in Great Tew, Oxfordshire and are currently occurring in villages like Hawes in the Yorkshire Dales. 


c)      Outline how changes to the rural economy have had social impacts in rural areas.


Due to the Common Agricultural Policy enforced by the EU, farmers in England have had a decrease in profits as the policy makes it less profitable to farm in the UK and more profitable to farm in places like Greece and Spain. This is because in the UK less money is subsidised. More farms have therefore joined together – a process known as amalgamation, meaning that there are fewer farmers and therefore fewer jobs. This happened in the village Great Tew, Oxfordshire. This means that instead of villages housing farmers, and those that work on farms they’re housing commuters, with many houses being converted to second homes increasing tourism in the villages. The population of the village therefore decreases so businesses and schools are used less and are no longer needed meaning more jobs are lost. Farms are also using other methods in which to make money, such as Diversity, meaning the farms change to other things like commercial farming, encouraging tourists to have second homes in the village. The Common Agricultural Policy (C.A.P.) also affected the rural town of Leominster, in Herefordshire as they relied mainly on agricultural employment as this was what they were trained for, however, during the 1960s to 1970s there was an agricultural decline that started due to the C.A.P. The population of Leominster is 10,000 people. Between 1971 and 1991 the number of industrial companies had nearly doubled, from 25 to 48, with 24 of these having been relocated from somewhere else. The majority of the population of Leominster, however, were not educated for the kind of work provided as they were educated for labour on a farm. Another factor of which is part of rural economy is post offices, however, many post offices are beginning to close down, for instance, between 1999 and 2006 3,700 post offices in the UK had been closed down. Post offices are closing down because people have a bad social mobility due to poorer bus services and the internet now provides many things originally provided by the local post office, such as TV licenses, pensions, driving lessons, etc. Also, in town products are cheaper and there are more products to choose from. The population of villages is also decreasing, therefore less people to go to the post office. Village Post offices, however, are important to the social impacts of a village because they’re a convenience store (a shop) meaning that members of the village don’t have to travel to far for every day products, especially for the older person. Also they provide employment and are the social centres (social hub) of the village, for instance people meet there, etc. Also, if people go to the post office on certain days of the week, and they stop going, then people know that something may have happened to them. Another reason is that if 2,500 post offices were closed down, there would be 30 to 40 million more road miles as people would have to travel further to get to their local post offices meaning there would be more carbon dioxide emissions. Also, due to the same reason, more roads would be built therefore there would be a destruction of habitats. If there were no post offices in villages, it would socially affect the population greatly.