Brownfield Sites - Opportunities or Dangers? - Human Geography Essay Example

In conclusion, brownfield sites and greenfield sites (See Introduction for definitions) can be successfully developed to benefit a number of people. Many jobs and residential areas can be created. Such developments also contain social homes (flats or renting), as these are an effective way of attracting a mixture of people of all ages and skills.

Derelict buildings or waste land can be profitably developed. These areas can be relatively cheap to buy and renovate. Often, the Government or Council will fund the developers to build upon these areas, providing financial incentives.

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The Green Belt is an imaginary border around London that prevents the countryside being developed. Developing brownfield sites can, thus, prevent the Green Belt being developed. In turn, this avoids open space being built upon, without the loss of parks and forests – which are used for recreation by many.

Developing brownfield and greenfield sites can also provide secondary, tertiary and quaternary activities and jobs for many people. These jobs are in good supply, as machinery, computers and technology have boomed; agriculture and farming is not carried out as much by hand- as it can be done more cheaply and efficiently by machines.

Has Enfield Island Village been successful?

Enfield Island Village has been successful in terms of housing and residence. There is great demand for more homes as almost all of the houses and flats have been sold. In the future, Enfield Island Village is to expand and more houses will be built along Manton Road and Brunswick Road. This will provide more social homes (i.e. flats) and houses for all. Despite this, there is still not enough housing for the demand and although the homes are reasonably priced compared to local areas, it is still comparatively expensive to areas such as Yorkshire and Scotland where properties are considerably cheaper. As a result, Enfield Island Village does not provide housing for low-income groups and so is only appealing to a certain income bracket. Enfield Island Village has a mixture of both new and old buildings, which will appeal to a wide variety of people of all ages.

The houses and flats at Enfield Island Village have been targeted mainly at young families and those wanting a social home, although there is housing to suit people of all ages. The price for a house ranges from �90,000 to �180,000 (2001 values) – a budget that may be in reach of first time buyers or families with young children.

However, there are very limited services and there is not a full complement of retail outlets. For example, there is no dentist, post office, optician or school – though this is to be built in the near future by the Science Park. This, however, may not be parent’s first choice, as their children would have to cross the North South Road in order to get to the school from Enfield Island Village.

The building materials used for the construction of housing at Enfield Island Village are similar to those used for the Royal Small Arms Factory. This has been done to try and make the homes look traditional and also keep the feel and character of the previous area. The shopping areas in the village were previously the army buildings. Also, in an attempt to retain the area’s charm, the canal has been kept, as has a traditional barge on it. This adds to the feel of the village and retains the appeal of the past. This is enforced by the Building Impact Score which shows that the modern buildings fit in well with the surrounding area and are of the same style to the older buildings.

The many pylons that stand throughout Enfield Island Village are another safety aspect to consider. These pylons have been linked to cases of leukaemia, although there is no scientific research to back up this assertion.

Before Enfield Island Village was built, it used to be a Royal Arms Factory. In the building of the residential area, toxins may have leached through into the soil. In order to get around this problem, a thin layer of clay was placed on the top soil before building commenced.

Treating contaminated land and making the area safe for development can take time and money, but the benefits from a well-developed site are tremendous. If the site is developed thoughtfully and safely, then it is a relatively cheap and efficient way of building sites that would usually either cost more, or take up valuable open space and parkland.

Due to this, residents have been told not to build ponds or put up sheds. Friends of the Earth fear that this may pierce the thin layer of clay protecting them from the contaminated soil of nickel, cadmium, copper, arsenic, lead, zinc and phenol. The Council claim that this is due to the gardens being too small. To have prevented this problem, the developers should have cleared the site and made certain that all contaminates were absent. This would have prevented problems for both the developers and the residents of Enfield Island Village, as they would be allowed to construct ponds and put up sheds to their liking.

Should the Northern Gateway Access Road be Built?

The Northern Gateway Access Road (N.G.A.R.) would reduce the traffic flow through Waltham Abbey and Waltham Cross. It would also reduce the flow of traffic on parts of the A10, A110, A1010 and Bullsmoor Lane. Likewise, it would decrease the congestion at the junction of the A10 and M25 (junction 25). It would remove the restriction on the North South movement, which has been created by the M25. It would provide an East West crossing of the Lee Valley which would be used greatly. It would also provide a much needed connection for many forms of transport including buses, cyclists and pedestrians from Waltham Abbey and South East Essex. Despite this, a proposal is under inquiry to whether the project will go ahead at all.

If necessary precautions were taken, the water quality would not be affected. The air quality also would not be affected, but only if at a distance of more than two hundred metres. However, the air quality is already poor by the side of the M25. If the N.G.A.R. were built, traffic flow would decrease, but only in the short term.

The disadvantages of the N.G.A.R. would be that it would increase congestion at the junction of Ordanance Road and Mollison Avenue. It also would increase the traffic flow on the Perme Link Road, Mollison Avenue and Ordanance Road. It is also feared that the road would be used mainly by local traffic – not as a cut-through to the Science Park as intended. This would, in turn, increase the risk of accidents and therefore put the residents of Enfield Island Village at risk.

The environmental aspect of the road construction would be that air quality would decrease if less than two hundred metres away and also more Carbon Dioxide and emissions would prevail. The area where the road is planned is the habitat of several endangered species of both birds and plants. (See Species Diversity) If the road were built, the birds would lose their nesting grounds and many plants would die.

To find out the species diversity, I randomly placed a quadrate with sixteen small squares in on the site of the N.G.A.R. I noted what plant was under the cross of each square. I then divided the number of runs (the number of different plants found) by the number of plants (i.e. 16 as there was 16 crosses). An average of 0.025 shows that the species are not diverse – See ‘Northern Gateway Access Road’. The abundant plants were common grasses and thistles – with no rare species found. To make the road less of an impact to the marsh and the surrounding area, the road should be built as close to the M25 as possible.

The area for the road is not used very regularly by the public for recreation. Bike scrambling is done around the M25 and the site for the N.G.A.R., but this can easily be moved elsewhere. The public uses the marsh further south for recreation and this does not affect the road or the proposed site.

In the long term, the N.G.A.R. would increase traffic flow and would divert traffic to other areas – leading to congestion elsewhere. This is a major problem and improvements in the short term would be unlikely; in fact, it is almost certain to get worse as car ownership is becoming far more popular.

The road would provide better car parking and far easier access to areas – not just the Science Park. The road would also encourage car use, but this is inevitably on the increase. The N.G.A.R. is supported by the bus link and finding funds for the construction would not be difficult, as the road would benefit many people.

I think the Northern Gateway Access Road should be built, as it would be a vital link to the Science Park and the Business Industrial estates, which would create thousands of jobs – both skilled and manual.

It would ease traffic flow and congestion, not only in Enfield but also in Waltham Abbey and Waltham Cross. It will relieve the A10, A110 and the A1010 – all busy roads.

The water and air quality would be little, if at all, affected – it may even decrease water contamination. The habitat for birds and plants would be affected, but they could be saved if necessary precautions were taken and they were moved to other areas.

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