Accessibility, deprivation and rural planning policies.

  • Deborah J. Law

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Since the Second World War a range of policies have been implemented by central and local government agencies, with a view to improving accessibility to facilities, housing and employment opportunities within rural areas. It has been suggested that a lack of reasonable access to a range of such facilities and opportunities constitutes a key aspect of deprivation or disadvantage for rural residents. Despite considerable interest, very few attempts have been made to assess the nature and incidence of this disadvantage or the reaction of different sections of the population of rural areas to it. Moreover, almost all previous assessments have relied on so-called 'objective' measures of accessibility and disadvantage and failed to consider the relationship between such measures and 'subjective' measures such as individual perceptions. It is this gap in knowledge that the research described in this thesis has addressed. Following a critical review of relevant literature the thesis describes the way in which data on 'objective' and 'subjective' indicators of accessibility and behavioural responses to accessibility problems was collected, in six case study areas in Shropshire. Analysis of this data indicates that planning and other government policies have failed to significantly improve rural resident's accessibility to their basic requirements, and may in some cases have exacerbated it, and that as a result certain sections of the rural population are relatively disadvantaged. Moreover, analysis shows that .certain aspects of individual subjective' assessments of such accessibility disadvantage are significantly associated with more easily-obtained 'objective' measures. By using discriminant analysis the research demonstrates that it is possible to predict the likely levels of satisfaction with access to facilities from a range of 'objective' measures. The research concludes by highlighting the potential practical applications of such indicators in policy formulation, policy appraisal and policy evaluation.
Date of Award1986
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorMichael J Tricker (Supervisor)


  • accessibility
  • deprivation and rural planning policies
  • planning
  • policy

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