Wrigley, Neil, Guy, Cliff and Lowe, Michelle
Urban regeneration, social inclusion and large store development: the Seacroft development in context
Urban Studies, 39, (11), . (doi:10.1080/0042098022000011380).
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Of central importance to the policy debate which emerged during the late 1990s in the UK on the topic of 'food deserts' were the causes of the perceived worsening access to food retail provision in certain poor neighbourhoods of British cities. The 1980s/early 1990s era of intense food superstore development on edge-of-city sites was seen as having unevenly stripped food retailing out of parts of those cities, or having repositioned that provision downwards in range and quality terms. By the late 1990s, however, tightened land-use planning regulation had begun significantly to impact the development programmes of the major food retailers and those retailers increasingly came to adopt an urban regeneration agenda to drive forwards the new store development vital to their corporate growth. Simultaneously, issues of social exclusion rose to prominence on the political agenda and 'tackling social exclusion' began to be promoted as a possible new criterion for retail planning policy in the UK. In this paper, we explore this nexus of interest in urban regeneration and social inclusion. Using the example of a major retail development in the deprived area of Seacroft, Leeds, we outline the characteristics of the increasingly important regeneration partnerships involving retailers, local authorities, government agencies and community groups. We ask to what extent such partnerships can be dismissed merely as 'clever devices to get stores built and passed by planners' and discuss the implications for retail planning policy of attempts to address both the social exclusion and public health agendas of deprived and poorly served areas of British cities.
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