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Assess the impact of out-of-town centre retailing areas on the regions in which they occur

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Introduction

Assess the impact of out-of-town centre retailing areas on the regions in which they occur. (40 marks) Out-of-town retailing is a key development in the retail sector which can have both positive and negative impacts. Although it alters other retail areas within the same region irrevocably, out-of-town retailing also has many positive impacts, especially in terms of allowing more people access to a wider range of services. All major impacts must be examined in order to assess whether out-of-town centre retailing is beneficial to local regions or detrimental. Out-of-town centre retailing areas developed mainly in the 1990s on the periphery of large urban areas, often near major motorways. These centres followed on from the non-food retail parks which were built out-of-town during the 1980s due to spatial needs (for warehouses etc) and the desire for easy access. The change from town centre retailing to out-of-town centre retailing was driven by a number of factors. Increased mobility due to increases in ownership and use of the private car enabled people to reach out-of-town areas easily but also placed pressure on limited city centre parking. This need for affordable, spacious parking meant that out-of-town retail centres were the ideal solution: land was easily available and parking ...read more.

Middle

This fall in profits has already occurred in York city centre: the amount of money spent by consumers in the city centre in 2004 was just over �406 million, yet by 2008 this had fallen to under �394 million. Even being a large and established retail area does not guarantee total economic immunity: Meadowhall has been blamed for shop closures in Sheffield and Rotherham, partly due to the extensive range of shops that it provides. Out-of-town centre retail areas also tend to limit the opportunities available to independent retailers as they support mainly chain stores. In Meadowhall the majority of retailers are chain stores, with only a very small area of the centre (known as The Lanes) available for use by independent retailers. This favouritism means that the profits from the centre are not absorbed back into the community; out-of-town retail centres do not appear, therefore, to actually benefit the local economy as much as may first be apparent. The positive impacts of out-of-town retail centres are not limited to economic successes. Some out-of-town retail centres have a positive impact on the surrounding environment. This is particularly true of centres which are built on brownfield sites, such as the MetroCentre. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is unlike traditional town centre retailing, where it is not uncommon to have to walk reasonably long distances between shops. Furthermore, in out-of-town centre retail areas there are often significant numbers of fast food outlets: Meadowhall has its own food court and thirty shops that sell food, including Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Fancie, a cake shop. Although this may be merely a symptom of a new lifestyle, driven by demand, and not a cause, it can certainly be argued that out-of-town centre retail areas contribute to increased levels of obesity in the general population. It is apparent that out-of-town centre retail areas can have huge effects on the local region, both positive and negative. The two seem to be reasonably balanced, however it appears to be sensible to conclude that out-of-town centre retail areas have a mostly positive impact upon the local area. This is because many of the negative effects, such as marginalisation of certain socio-economic groups and the loss of revenue in town and city centres, can be managed or can spur positive development. For example, marginalised socio-economic groups can be drawn into out-of-town centre retail areas using events designed to cater to their particular demographic, while the extra pressure placed upon city centres can actually act as a catalyst for regeneration and further economic growth. ...read more.

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A very well-written essay based on evidence from examples and data. References should be included.
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Marked by teacher Molly Reynolds 20/08/2013

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