Case Study: Counter Urbanisation

Detailed case study of Llantwit Major in Wales covering the reasons and the impacts :) 

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  • Created on: 29-05-11 12:31
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Counter-urbanisation of Llantwit Major in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales.
Since the 1970's, Cardiff has seen steady counter urbanisation take place as large numbers of urban dwellers
have relocated into the countryside. This is for several reasons:
· Cardiff docks reached their peak in 1913 exporting 13.5 million tonnes of coal.
· This dropped rapidly after WWII. Coupled with the closure of the East Moor Steelworks
unemployment rose.
· Low income, racial prejudice and ageing housing stock lead to the bay area becoming a Zone of
· By the 1970's and early 1980's the outward movement from the Bay area lead to the
suburbanisation at the urban-rural fringe.
· Beyond the fringe, in accessible, attractive rural settlements, these urban "refugees" bought homes
and became commuters.
Llantwit Major is located in southern Wales and covers an area of 33,500 hectares. It has a population is
approx 14,000 and is in close proximity to Cardiff. In a recent survey, it was nominated as one of the best
places in the UK to live. Llantwit Major was a popular choice for commuters for several reasons:
1. Good accessibility to Cardiff thanks to the A48 and M4, which allows for a short commuting time.
2. Good range of services including schools, retailing, health and leisure.
3. Availability of new housing and renovated character properties combined with a large proportion of
Brown field sites which allows for new development.
4. Attractive townscape and local environment. Llantwit Major is only 1 mile from the Glamorgan
Heritage Coast and has many sites of historic interest.
Impacts of Counter Urbanisation
The growing size and population of Llantwit Major has led to a growth in local industry. The recent
opening of Llandow Industrial Estate, approximately 3 km north of Llantwit Major provides increasing
numbers of employment opportunities for the Vale of Glamorgan. It is built on a Brownfield site utilizing
roads and hangars from a WWII air base and comprises of a trading, business and retail units. Brownfield site
status means planning controls are more relaxed and land is probably cheaper compared to urban locations.
This area also now has access to a large pool of labour. Other smaller businesses within the town itself have
also prospered, such as the opening on several estate agents, building societies and restaurants.
However, despite this, some of the existing framework of the town is changing. Smaller local stores
are closing with more and more people doing their shopping in large out of town superstores on the way
home from their commute. Local public transport is also suffering as smaller bus services that travel round the
rest of the vale are losing business.
Local house prices are also rising and many farm buildings are being converted into exclusive
residences. This is having a greater impact on the younger population of Llantwit Major, as they cannot get
onto the property ladder and so the majority of the younger population move away. This means that the
town has on the whole an ageing population which puts a strain onto local services such as health care.

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