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Levels Of Deprivation Amongst Different Ward Of Canterbury Economics Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

This essay is going to compare the levels of deprivation amongst the different wards of the Canterbury district (Barton, Northgate, St Stephens, Westgate and Wincheap). I will make comparisons using statistical data from the Office of National Statistics [1] , in particular I will focus of factors such as educational attainment, physical environment and the housing stock (housing stock and number of people living in households).

Canterbury is a fairly small city in the south east of England. Canterbury has a population of 148,100 (mid-year 2008 estimate)1. Canterbury district has the largest population of any local area in Kent. In 2000, the district also experienced the second largest population growth (+9%) of any Kent district with the exception of Ashford. This is partially because of the exponential increase of students; this is due to the rapid expansion of the Canterbury Universities, the University of Kent, Canterbury Christ Church University, and the University College for the Creative Arts and most recently GAU (The Girne American University). With an estimated 45,000 students [2] attending Canterbury’s four universities and further education colleges each year, generating money and employment for the local economy. In addition tourism is a very significant component of the local economy and in 2000, according to statistics, supported an estimated 4692 jobs and generated approximately £132,000,000 in expenditure [3] .

Canterbury is in the City of Canterbury local government district. The city’s urban area consists of the six wards of Barton, Harbledown, Northgate, St Stephens, Westgate, and Wincheap. These wards are electoral wards which have fifteen of the fifty seats on the Canterbury City Council. Twelve of these seats are held by the Liberal Democrats and three by the Conservatives. This is very beneficial to the city as it means the different areas can be controlled individually, so residents can put forward ideas and ask questions to their wards. Politicians who will try and help will try and help their residents. This is also very useful as there are two political parties as they will have different views and aims. This is valuable as each of the wards is very different. Each has a different style of housing, including a large creation in the household size. Also the environmental quality varies greatly across the wards.

Within most cities there is considerable variation in the quality of life. This raises questions about equality of opportunity and social justice. In MEDCs, there are areas that are labelled as poor and these are areas of deprivation, poverty and exclusion. In MEDCs these are often inner-city areas or ghettos. The factors associated with deprivation are varied. Urban poverty and deprivation can be measured using a number of indices; these include physical measures; such as quality of housing, levels of pollution, incidence of crime etc, social indicators; including levels of health and access to services, and standard of education etc, economical indices; access to employment, and unemployment levels and political measures which include opportunities to vote and take part in community organisations. Major issues within inner cities in MEDCs are that properties have deteriorated and the majority of them are overcrowded households. Social segregation is another main problem along with racial discrimination, an example of this is in Brixton where people are socially excluded. To conclude the environmental issues also have a big issue on an areas deprivation. When the factories move to locations outside of the inner city, where land prices are cheaper, the factories will be left to decay, and the poor state of repair causes a depressing environment. Also in inner city often has a lack of open space, with pollution levels often being high due to traffic congestion.

After the industrial revolution people became increasingly wealthy. This led to social segregation, the wealthier people moved out of inner city suburbs. People left in the inner city were older residents, single parent families, students, and poorer families. In addition the ethnic minorities were left behind in the inner city suburbs- formation of ghettos. Centrifugal movement, in particular counter urbanisation increase the problem. The movement of businesses to out of inner city areas leads to increasing unemployment levels as there are less employment opportunities available in the inner city, this will all eventually lead to the city becoming a ‘dead heart’. In addition the removal of businesses causes a loss of money from the area so there is little money available to invest in improvements. Furthermore out-of-town shopping centres mean that less wealthy people from the inner city are deprived of better shops as they might be less mobile, or cannot afford to travel out of the city every time they wish to shop.

Barton ward is Canterbury’s largest ward, in terms of land, in the local Canterbury area. Barton ward is situated in the south of Canterbury. This ward/area is particularly sought after by many including families and pensioners. The Barton Ward is home to 8,051 residents (2008 estimate)1, with 28% being within the 25-49 age band and 26% within the pensioner quartile. Within this ward are many different religious residents belonging to a variety of religious groups. The majority of the residents are Christian 78.4%, however there are 1.3% Muslim, 0.9% Hindu and 0.4% Buddhist, the rest of the residents either blond to another religion, the rest of the residents either belong to another religion, not religious or their religion was not recorded when collecting the data in the 2001 census. By having a variety of religions then it gives the residents a greater cultural awareness. In addition, 77% of the 8,051 residents had achieved 5 or more A* to C grade passes, including English and Maths, at GCSE or equivalent between 2008 and 2009.Picture1.png

As previously mentioned the south of Canterbury and the Barton ward is a particularly sought after area. Local Canterbury estate agents describe the area as ‘South Canterbury is the most prestigious and sought after areas within easy reach of the city and local amenities’ – Godwin Curtis and ‘one of Canterbury’s premier residential locations’ – Regal Estates. The Barton ward had 677 dwellings in March 2008. The average value of property sales, using median averages, in 2008 are a lot higher than the average of the whole of Canterbury. With all dwellings at £228,000; flats at £172,500; terraced houses £202,500; semi-detached houses £250,000 and detached houses at £375,000. All of the property values are significantly higher than the median average of England at only £174,500. Another important factor when assessing an areas deprivation is the areas physical environment including land use. In January 2005, the Barton ward had a very high percentage of green space, 88.9% and an additional 5.3% of domestic gardens. So the Barton ward has a very large figure of green space, 94.2%. By having this high figure, residents can have a high quality of life as the environmental quality of the area is also very high. Large green spaces are essential as they provide an area for residents to relax, and be away from their busy working lives. So to conclude the Barton ward has a very low deprivation level; the latest Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) for this area was rank 25,186 out of 32,482 in England, where 1 was the most deprived and 32,482 the least. This is calculated by using the following factors (some evaluated above), income; employment; education, skills; health; housing and services; the living environment; and crime.

St Stephens ward is the second largest ward in Canterbury, in terms of population. St Stephens ward is situated in the north of Canterbury, it covers areas such as Hales Place and St Stephens and other nearby areas. The St Stephens ward has 9,036 residents (2008 estimate)1, with a significant 47% being students as it is very close to the University of Kent, where 16,000 study. To support this only 11% of people aged 50 and over live in this area. This figure is very small in comparison to the Barton ward. Similarly to the Barton Ward, St Stephens also has a wide range of different religious cultures. Again the majority of residents are Christian 68%, also 1.5% is Muslim, and 0.7% is Hindu. However 28.8% have either no religion, the religion was not stated or more likely the religion was not recorded when statistical surveys took place. Quite importantly 60% of the residents of the ward achieved 5 or more A* to C grade passes, including English and Maths, at GCSE or equivalent between 2008 and 2009. This figure is higher than the percentages achieve in the Canterbury district and England average. This could be due to the University of Kent being within the top 40 universities in the UK so the entry requirements will be fairly high.

Many families and pensioners avoid living in the north of Canterbury because of the large student population. So this makes the property values hard to value as many of the houses in the ward have been converted into student suitable housing, where they were originally 3-4 bedroom family houses now they are 6-7 bedroom student houses. Also the condition of student houses is stereotypically described as untidy and not well kept, true in most cases. Therefore these will all affect the property values however the median average of all dwellings in 2008 was £220,000. Following this are flats at £155,000; terraced houses at £193,500; semi-detached houses £225,000 and finally detached houses at £308,000.However many houses in this ward are rented to students. The average rent price for a terraced house in this area is £615 – £837. This is fairly low in comparison with other areas in the rest of England.

St Stephens ward has a huge 38.1% of green space, a lot of this coming from the University fields, which the University of Kent are pleased about what as they believe students work better and achieve better grades in a nicer and more calming environment. The latest Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) for this area was rank 25,289 out of 32,482 in England, where 1 was the most deprived and 32,482 the least.

A ward very similar in many ways to St Stephens ward is the Westgate ward. Westgate ward is very near the city centre and stretches from the bottom of the city centre, Westgate Towers up to the St Stephens ward. The Westgate ward is home to 15,847 residents (2008 residents)1, with the majority of the residents being aged between 16 and 24, this cohort is 34% of the residents. This is closely followed by an also very high percentage of people aged

between 0 and 15. From this you can tell that the Westgate ward has a very high birth rate in comparison with the other Canterbury wards. Notably there is a small population of aged people 50-64 however there is a rise in the number of people living in the ward that are aged 65 and over. This could be because of a few reasons, in particular they may few that they need to be close to services such as shops and medical services such as hospitals as they may not drive and they may prefer to be close to neighbours rather than secluded in a rural area in case there is a problem. Likewise there is another wide range of religious communities. There is a fairly moderate 1.2% of Muslim and this figure is closely followed by Buddhists at 0.8%. The Northgate ward has no record of educational attainment, so therefore no conclusion can be made from the education statistics of this ward. However the average value of property sales, in 2008 was low in comparison with the rest of Canterbury. The average of all dwellings £179,998 in this ward but the average price of all dwellings in Canterbury is £195,000. Flats are valued at £165,000; terraced houses at £197,500; semi-detached houses at £185,000; and detached houses at £265,000. As well as property prices being low, there is also a very high percentage of non-domestic buildings within this ward, a huge 21.8% this is almost double the percentage of domestic buildings at 12.8%. The physical environment of the Westgate ward is fairly different to the rest of the wards as there is minimal green space. The latest Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) for this area was rank 25,190 out of 32,482 in England, where 1 was the most deprived and 32,482 the least.

The Wincheap ward covers the west of Canterbury area. Along with the St Stephens ward, there is a fairly high population of 8,779 people (2008 estimate)1, with a moderate percentage of them being within the 16-24 age cohort, 46%, the second highest figure in the Canterbury area. The reason for this could be the property values being fairly low, all being below the median average for Canterbury. Of the 622 dwellings in this ward, the average value of property sales, in 2008, flats average was £177,500; terraced houses, £183,000; semi-detached houses £173,000. However the Office of National Statistics has no record of an average price for detached houses, this could be because of two reasons; either, the Wincheap ward does not have any detached houses, there were either none built or they have been converted into flats so they are categorised as flats not as detached houses. Or when the Office of National Statistics collected data they did not collect data for detached houses. This is a problem when comparing between the wards of Canterbury, as there is data missing.

To continue the Wincheap ward has the highest percentage of religious groups in Canterbury, with a high 0.8% of Buddhist and Muslim. These figures are almost double the value of Canterbury. Also there is a low percentage of Christians, 64.3%, this is 10% lower than the Canterbury average. By having these high levels of religious communities within an area there is no large separation between the different religions, reducing the deprivation levels to some as they still have access to the large range of services and facilities available. The Wincheap ward also has no record of educational attainment, so therefore no conclusion can be made from the education statistics of this ward. Furthermore the land use in the Wincheap ward has a high percentage of non-domestic buildings. This is possibly due to the Wincheap industrial estate, which has invited several large businesses such as Morrisons, Argos, and Staples; there are also several warehouse type buildings in the estate. The physical environment also has a large percentage of roads in comparison with the other wards of Canterbury. Wincheap ward has 15% of road and the rest of the Canterbury wards have approximately 10%. Finally there is also a fairly low percentage of green space and domestic gardens in comparison with the other wards. This could mean that the residents of the Wincheap ward may not feel as relaxed and may feel that they are deprived of large green space, where they can unwind. The latest Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) for this area was rank 21,699 out of 32,482 in England, where 1 was the most deprived and 32,482 the least.

Finally the last ward left in the local Canterbury district is the Northgate ward. Northgate ward is the smallest ward in the Canterbury area. The ward is home to 8,779 people (2008 estimate)1. The Northgate is also home to the largest number of 16-25 year olds, a huge 48% of the total wards population. On the other hand, this ward also has a very low percentage of people aged 50 and over. In the Northgate ward is a fairly high population of the Muslim community, 1.7% this is very high in comparison with the average of Canterbury, which is only 0.6%. In addition to the Muslim community there are also other religious residents who belong to the Buddhist religion 0.5%. So overall in the Northgate ward there is a fairly low Christian population and a moderately high Muslim population. Similarly to the Westgate ward, the Northgate ward average value of property sales in 2008 was below the Canterbury average and just above the median average for England. The follow are the values of all the properties in the Northgate ward. Flats are valued at £177,500; terraced houses at £183,000; and finally £173,000. Finally the physical environment of the Northgate ward is fairly common, as it is similar to the majority of the rest of the Canterbury wards. There is a moderate percentage of green space 35.8% but a small percentage of domestic gardens at only 7.8%. The latest Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) for this area was rank 11,167 out of 32,482 in England, where 1 was the most deprived and 32,482 the least. So therefore the Northgate ward is the most deprived in the whole of the local Canterbury district.

After evaluating all of the Canterbury wards, I can conclude that even though Canterbury is a fairly small city, it has a very high percentage, 83.2% of green space as a land use. From this you can see Canterbury has a lot of open spaces where residents can take a break, relax and forget about their busy work life. This is also seen in the percentage of domestic gardens, 6.1%, this is 2% above the value for the whole of England. In addition Canterbury has a large, wide variety of different services available from the new shopping complex, Whitefriars, the high street, recreational services such as a cinema, bowling alley, and ice rink. To continue there are also several outstanding secondary schools, two of them grammar, Barton Court and Simon Langton Boys and Girls. Likewise crime levels in Canterbury are very low in comparison to the rest of England. All of these factors have a major impact on Canterbury deprivation. Overall Canterbury has a very moderate level of deprivation ranked 190 out of 354, where 1 is the most deprived. This is judged on a national level.

Canterbury has seen successful redevelopment schemes. There have been major transport improvements e.g. Park and Ride scheme, which has improved accessibility to city centres. It has also helped to reduce levels of pollution and so quality of life has been improved. Another fairly recent project in Canterbury was the Whitefriars development. This involved creating a large modern styled shopping area, designed similar to large shopping complexes such as Bluewater and Lakeside. This attracted many large companies and designer brands to Canterbury. So along with the improved access, Canterbury gains many visitors/tourists, many of them visiting the Whitefriars complex.

However there are many other schemes which have been unsuccessful. The high-rise flats were a disaster and many gentrification schemes had limited success. The traditional culture of central areas has been threatened by the demolishing of historic buildings. There has also been a failure to tackle the underlying economic problems of high unemployment. This means that poverty and its associated social, economic & environmental problems still remain in these areas. In general there has been a lack of long term planning with too many different schemes.

However there are a few schemes which have caused some controversy. A main issue is related to the rapid expansion of the various universities situated around the city, and the exponential increase in the number of students in the city. With this figure being so high, more accommodation and housing needs to be provided. This has meant ‘student cities’ have been built, leading to the majority of north Canterbury (in particular St Stephens Ward, but also Westgate Ward), being overcrowded with students. With the large student population many families feel pressured to move house because of the problems that are typically associated with students, i.e. noise and car parking. With many people moving to other areas, property developers have ‘hit the jackpot’. They are converting what were originally typical 3-4 bedroom family houses into a 6-7 bedroom student houses. Canterbury City Council and the Government have realised this situation so have recently introduced a HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation) scheme, where planning permission needs to be granted to enable the house to be converted so it is suitable for multiple occupation. This scheme has caused many complaints and arguments as families living in the area will have a struggle to sell their house as no one will buy it other than developers and developers will only buy it if it has been granted a HMO, and this is down to the council’s decision. So if they do not grant the policy then it will prevent the family from moving or make it very difficult. This has caused a lot issues with residents, an article in a Canterbury local paper [4] wrote ‘residents are fearful proposed changes to legislation governing applications for houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) could tip the balance between student lets and family homes. Concerns have also been expressed over the anti-social behaviour of a minority of students’. I personally believe that schemes like this need to be reconsidered and possibly amended.


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