The residential development process and its impact on agricultural land
Two interrelated topics, the mechanisms which underlie the residential development process, and the impact of urban development upon agricultural land and practice, provide the substance of this thesis. The adopted behavioural approach leads to emphasis upon the themes of motivation, interaction, power relationships, and conflict between and within selected participant groups: property developers, planners, councillors, landowners, estate agents, financial intermediaries and farmers. A micro-scale analysis of groups operating within the City of Durham District is used, in part, as illustrative material in a wider consideration of major issues associated with housing, planning, government intervention in the land market, changing agricultural practice and conservation. However, focussing attention upon the mechanisms and effects of small town expansion does, itself, reflect increasing concern with observed national trends towards counter-urbanisation. Consideration is given to means of improving the performance of the residential development process, in the private and public sectors, and of minimizing its adverse impact upon agriculturalists. These are examined in the light of obstacles to progress associated with the various difficulties: defining and implementing multiple objectives; coping with fragmented decision-making structures at local and national levels; overcoming the powerful pressures exerted by political lobbies and self-interest; and challenging the inherent conservatism exhibited by many of the key decision-making groups. Attention is drawn to major issues within countryside planning, including agricultural land protection, multiple land resource use, and environmental responsibility, but these are discussed in the context of social, economic and housing issues which inevitably exert competing demands upon resources.Progress towards improved land use and user management within the study area is identified, and comment is made on the need for, and practicality of, proposed national comprehensive land use plans for the 'rural-urban fringe' and for the countryside in general.