Case Study of Deprivation in a Rural Area - Cornwall

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Case Study of Rural in a Remote Area – Cornwall

1. The main reason for deprivation in rural areas is their remoteness. Geographers use a theory called core and periphery to explain this.

The UK’s core is where the most wealth is produced. It extends from London to Leeds and Manchester. This core:

  • Produces 75% of the UK’s goods and services
  • Has the highest wages and levels of investment
  • Has the densest transport infrastructure – most motorways, the busiest airports and the densest railway networks are there.

Cornwall is far from the economic core – at least 4 hours from the edge and about

  • Around 8 hours to London (by HGV)
  • Around 6 hours to London (by rail)
  • Around 5 hours to London (by car)

Rural areas within the core are better off than more remote areas. The UK’s most affluent rural county is Surrey; average wages were £500 per week in 2006. 35% of Surrey’s residents work in London in professional employment – their average wages were even higher in 2006 (£800 a week)

Remote rural areas are described as the periphery, and are poorly served by transport infrastructure. They are a long way from core markets, and job opportunities are fewer. There are some benefits – peripheral areas can be cheaper to live in – but they often suffer depopulation as young people leave to find jobs.

2. Deprivation caused by low wages

Deprivation means a lack of something. Deprivation can be measured using average wages, and, in rural area, they tend to be lower than in urban areas. Cornwall has the lowest weekly wages in Britain (£329.30 in 2005 – 25% below the UK average), and the gap between it and the rest of Britain is getting wider. Within Cornwall, the poorest borough is North Cornwall (the average weekly wage is £307.60 in 2005).

Decline in the rural economy

Why are rural areas in crisis? Mostly, it is because of the decline in traditional employment. In Cornwall, primary employment dominated until the 1970’s. This included farming, fishing, tin mining and quarrying china clay. Each sector declined for the reasons shown in the table. Rural areas are now producing less than they used to – so geographers talk of the post-production countryside, just like ‘post-industrial’ is used for towns and cities.

3. The Eden Project

Many benefits compared to problems.


  • Many visitors – 750,000 each year. 1.9 million In the first year and 6 million the past 4 years.
  • Visitors spending – Each visitor spends average of £150 in Cornwall. Tourist visiting the Eden Project in its first 3 years spent £600 million.
  • Accommodation – Since 2001, demands for holiday cottages have doubled. Owners of them normally get between 16-21 weeks’ booking per property per year. Many now get 36 weeks. Most H.C.’s are owned by locals and benefit them.
  • Employment – The E.P. employs 400 full-time staff. Including part-time and seasonal staff 600 equivalent full-time jobs were created. Eden claims that all staff are recruited locally. 75% of staff were previously unemployed, and 40% are over 50 years old. These do not include construction staff. Overall, Eden has reduced Cornwall’s unemployment by 6%.
  • The impact on local producers – E.P. sources all food and drink locally, where possible. This has boosted farmers and food-processing companies.
  • Impact on other attraction – E.P. has created spin-off interest for other attractions, e.g. the National Maritime Museum at Falmouth, Tate of the West at St Ives, etc.
  • Impact on the economy – In 2003, an average of 80%of Cornwall’s businesses said they felt that Eden had brought very positive impacts for them and the Cornish economy.
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The project was conceived by Tim Smit and designed by architect Nicholas Grimshaw and engineering firm Anthony Hunt and Associates (now part of Sinclair Knight Merz). Davis Langdon carried out the project management, Sir Robert McAlpine and Alfred McAlpine did the construction and MERO designed and built the biomes. Land Use Consultants led the master plan and landscape design. The project took 2½ years to construct and opened to the public on 17 March 2001.

Multiplier effect occurs – It increases the local economy: Visitors spend at Eden and create a bigger turnover, so more employment. Visitors also spend for ...

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