Land ownership and rural development in theory and practice : case studies from the north Pennines in the 19th and 20th centuries
This research sets out to examine the influence of landownership on rural development in Britain. It is proposed that an analysis of the historical development of any region under specific landownership forms will enable a better understanding of its contemporary rural development problems and land use conflicts. It is hoped that the research findings will be of both academic interest and practical value. A conceptual framework of the ways in which landownership can influence rural development is constructed from an analysis of continuity and change in landownership and rural society over the 19th and 20th centuries at the national level. The framework is then tested in relation to case studies of landownership and rural development in the North Pennines. This is an upland region of Britain with a highly traditional pattern of landownership, dominated by landed estates and common lands. The development of three landed estates, under different landownership forms, over the 19th and 20th centuries are studied in detail, whilst a broader range of landownership forms are considered for the contemporary period. Finally, the relative importance of landowners and policy-makers in the current rural development of the region are evaluated. It is concluded that change in landownership at the national scale has not been as great as is commonly assumed. Landowners are still an important group in society, both at the national and local levels, and can exert a considerable influence on rural development, although today, at the local level, this is contingent upon the specific economic, social and geographic characteristics of the area. In the North Pennines, an understanding of the landownership structure is of fundamental importance for an understanding of the region's historical development and contemporary land use issues. A historical perspective on the development of rural areas enables deeper understandings of contemporary issues and provides a 'behavioural' perspective which, if incorporated into the policy-making process, could improve the effectiveness of rural development policies.