THE ‘LESS CONNECTED’ CLUSTER
e.g. Caister-on-Sea, Goole, Cannock, Devizes
As the name suggests, towns in the ‘less connected’ category are difficult to access from other parts of the UK, thanks to their being poorly connected to major rail stations by car or road. But they are also less connected in an immediate local sense, with longer journeys to town centres or to work. It will often be necessary to drive
to the shops. The criteria for this grouping also includes lower population churn, more cut-off areas tending to be more settled with less population flux.
As would be expected, the places in this grouping are in more physically distant parts of the UK. They are less networked in every sense, and attitudes towards change and difference may reflect this. Most of the settlements within the grouping are small, and there is not a single large town among the 80 settlements listed.
There is a lack of comparable Welsh town data for this section though this certainly merits further research. Wales is a particularly remote part of the UK, and many of the solutions for ‘Less connected’ towns would also apply to parts of Wales.
Challenges in these places relate to keeping these communities connected and addressing infrastructure challenges. These are very hard to address unilaterally, at the local level – although small transport subsidies could help. At a national level there is a need for investment in rail, alongside improvements to local bus routes, and policies which promote cycling and walking through improving local infrastructure.