not seem an unreasonable demand particularly as both the employment and housing

Not seem an unreasonable demand particularly as both

This preview shows page 43 - 45 out of 62 pages.

not seem an unreasonable demand, particularly as both the employment and housing markets are overheated in many other parts of the country. There was a strong sense in some of the groups that each local area should have a minimum level of essential services, although it was not clear what this should be. In many instances, it seemed to constitute the very thing considered most lacking in the area. For example, in one village a shop and a pub were seen as essential, in another a local health centre or a secondary school. A lack of facilities and activities for young people ran as a common theme across several of the groups and was seen to be a significant factor in the rise in youth disaffection in many areas. It was pointed out to us on several occasions that, if activities are not
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36 Transport, the environment and social exclusion provided locally, the additional cost of transport to travel to places outside the local area effectively puts them out of the price range of low-income groups, particularly young people. Clearly, from the perspective of both the environmental and transport lobby, a desire to carry out the majority of activities within your own local area is to be applauded and encouraged. From a social perspective, however, there may be a need to problematise these low- mobility aspirations. Those promoting the social inclusion of people living in low-income areas find that an unwillingness to travel outside of the local area may be exacerbating their social isolation and encouraging the pursuit of limited horizons. We agree with this view to a certain extent, as in some cases we observed that a person’s unwillingness to travel was clearly linked to a more general fear of the unknown and often manifested itself in parochial attitudes. This fear was often accompanied by a lack of knowledge about the transport system or the availability of facilities in other areas and sometimes led to reduced social and economic horizons, and lower aspirations. In this respect, simply improving local services per se will be insufficient to ensure the greater inclusion of such people and may also prove an expensive and difficult way to deliver a solution to the problems they are experiencing. We would therefore argue that, while the promotion of local activities should be encouraged and supported to a certain extent, it is unreasonable to expect that every local neighbourhood could support a full range of local services and amenities. A more realistic approach is to: provide facilities for a collection of neighbouring areas within local centres or hub and ensure adequate and affordable public transport links to them from surrounding areas; or develop a network of services in different locations and link these by a comprehensive public transport network; and/or provide mobile or peripatetic services to provide for the needs of a number of outlying communities.
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