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GCSE Geographical Enquiry – A Study of a Market Town: Chester-le-Street

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Introduction

GCSE Geographical Enquiry - A Study of a Market Town: Chester-le-Street Introduction Settlements vary in site, size, structure and function. This enquiry is based on Walter Christaller's central place theory, which is linked to population, threshold, range and sphere of influence. Threshold is the number of people that it takes to sustain a service, range is the distance someone is willing to travel to obtain a certain good and the sphere of influence is a circle around the central with the range as it's radius. Christaller's central place theory is that the population of a settlement affects the services and goods available. He also stated that people were willing to travel further to buy comparison goods than they would to buy convenience goods. Comparison goods are goods that cost a lot of money and are bought rarely, whereas convenience goods are bought regularly and cost little money. The hypotheses that I will test in my enquiry are as follows: Hypothesis 1 - Chester-le-Street offers a wide range of goods and services Hypothesis 2 - Chester-le-Street's sphere of influence is directly related to the goods and services that are available. Hypothesis 3 -Pelton offers a narrower range of goods and services than Chester-le-Street. Hypothesis 4 - Pelton 's sphere of influence is directly related to its goods and services, and will therefore be smaller than that of Chester-le-Street. I am investigating the shopping patterns of Chester-le-Street, by first making deductions based on Chester-le-Street itself, and field work conducted in it. The map above shows the situation of both Chester-le-Street and Pelton in relation to other settlements in the area in County Durham. Chester-le-Street is an ancient market town, situated between Newcastle and Sunderland. Although the function of this town was once to provide a trading place for farmers in the region, it now is home to many commuters who travel to work in neighbouring cities, as the town is situated approximately six miles from Durham City, nine miles from Sunderland, and eight miles from Newcastle. ...read more.

Middle

Chester-le-Street, according to the graph shown above, is not included in this category. This will make the sphere of influence smaller, as more people will go elsewhere to buy their goods, therefore showing that the sphere of influence of a town is directly related to the range of goods available. The sphere of influence in shown on the previous page, the average distance travelled being worked out at 3.1425 miles to shop in Chester-le-Street. This means that this is the range. This will be strongly affected by the proximity of the Metro Centre, Newcastle and Durham, as all have a wide range of shopping facilities and services. Evaluation The results of the questionnaire could have been improved by asking more than twenty people to complete it, and the results could have been taken on several different days, to give a wider variety of results. They could, perhaps, have been taken once on a market day and compared to those collected on a day that was not a market day. This would have shown more clearly how many people came to Chester-le-Street for the market. The pedestrian and traffic counts could have also been taken on several different days, one market and one not, and at more varying times of day. One could have been taken in the morning, one at lunchtime, and one in the evening or at night. However, the results that have been recorded are reliable and are sufficient to draw conclusions from. It could also have been improved by talking to local bus companies, to ask where most people that come to Chester-le-Street come from. For this reason we could have also looked at the buses themselves, to see where buses that came through Chester-le-Street were coming from and going to. I could have also improved my results by calculating how many people lived within the sphere of influence, and how big the area within it was. ...read more.

Conclusion

This therefore supports my hypothesis. Evaluation The results of the questionnaire could have been improved by asking more than twenty people to complete it, and the results could have been taken on several different days, to give a wider variety of results. They could, perhaps, have been taken at different times of the day as well. This could also be applied to the traffic and pedestrian counts. One could have been taken in the morning, one at lunchtime, and one in the evening or at night. However, the results that have been recorded are reliable and are sufficient to draw conclusions from. Also, it would have improved these results to take into account that the main road through Pelton is a through road to Chester-le-Street, an so could have been headed there. It could also have been improved by talking to local bus companies, to ask where most people that come to Pelton come from. For this reason we could have also looked at the buses themselves, to see where buses that came through Chester-le-Street were coming from and going to. I could have also improved my results by calculating how many people lived within the sphere of influence, and how big the area within it was. Final Conclusion In conclusion, I can say that my four hypotheses all support Christaller's theory's of range, threshold and sphere of influence. The contrast between the sizes of Chester-le-Street's sphere of influence and Pelton's, due to the differences in the goods and services, support the above three, therefore ultimately Christaller's Central Place theory. Final Evaluation Overall, this is an accurate and reliable picture of shopping patterns in Chester-le-Street and Pelton, although several improvements could have been made. Firstly, conducting more questionnaires would give a much more accurate picture of the sphere of influence, and would give a wider view of people's reasons for their shopping habits. Taking into account closed shops and services would also have made my final results more accurate. Talking to local businesses would also have given figures that would be much more accurate than my own. Sally Gall ...read more.

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