The North West Region Cross Border Area (NWRCBA) is predicted to grow to 429,608 persons by 2022/3. Strong demand for future growth is a critically important resource from which a region can drive its competitive advantage through investment, tourism, job creation, urban vitality and sustainable rural communities.
According to the National Spatial Strategy, 2010, in order to derive the maximum benefit of such growth it is necessary to direct it to locations where it can be of optimum value by acting as a catalyst to further growth and thereby reaping the greatest outcomes for the whole region. In doing so, the NSS emphasises the importance of simultaneously negating speculative or individually driven development in locations that benefit comparatively few.
In this context, future growth does not necessarily refer to physical expansion alone but more relevantly to driving the economic, social and environmental growth of cities, towns and rural areas. This encompasses, for example urban and rural renaissance, viability of existing and new services, promotion and enhancement of our built and natural heritage and efficient use of valuable resources such as land and buildings.
In order to sustainably manage development in this way, it is important to understand our current position by examining the trends and patterns which have occurred in the past and to identify those which are now emerging.
This paper will examine key demographic trends and settlement patterns over the last few decades set against development objectives at national, regional and local level. It will for example, examine population projections, housing requirements, settlement changes, key demographics, land use zoning and rural housing policy. This analysis is aimed at encouraging and facilitating evidenced based spatial planning by providing a range of maps, statistics and graphics. This can be used to guide, monitor and review current and future strategic and local policy documents in planning for sustainable growth and service provision across the region. A number of these statistics can be view in the town profile section or the map viewer in greater detail. For further information please see Chapter 5.