Torridge wards have the worst access to grocery stores in Devon, according to a national study.
Research collected by Reach Data Unit analyzed the average distances in 32,844 neighborhoods across the country to the nearest grocery store or supermarket, with 23,161 grocery stores taken into account.
According to the Office for National Statistics, “grocery stores” correspond to supermarket chains, grocery chains and convenience stores in this area, with independent stores excluded from the study.
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Reach Data Unit has categorized and recorded the average journey time to vital services across the UK, including primary and secondary schools, doctors surgeries and food shops, as well as major rail stations and main airports.
Each neighborhood contains roughly the same number of people (about 1,500).
Access to food shops by car
Data shows that 99% of UK residents can reach their nearest grocery store within 15 minutes by car, with an average journey time of seven minutes.
Devon’s access to food outlets by car is slightly below the national average, with 2.4% of residents having to travel more than 15 minutes by car.
Of Devon’s 10 local authorities, six had journey times above the national average, with Torridge having the longest average journey at 9 minutes 48 seconds.
Other wards above the national average included Teignbridge, North Devon, Mid Devon, South Hams and West Devon.
The Torridge neighborhoods had the three worst ranking times for food access, with the area containing Quoditch, Upcott and Ashwater taking an average of 22 minutes to reach their nearest store.
Access to food shops on foot
For those who cannot drive, the ability to walk to the grocery store is extremely important.
According to government data, UK residents have an average minimum journey time of 11 minutes to get to the nearest grocery store, with 88% taking less than 15 minutes to their nearest service.
In Devon, the average resident needs four minutes longer (15 minutes), with 77.2% of residents within 15 minutes of their nearest grocery store – 11% less than the national average.
Data suggests 8.2% of residents needed 15-30 minutes to reach their nearest grocery store, with 5.2% of Devonians needing 30-45 minutes and 3.2% 45-60 minutes.
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The study also shows that 5.2% of Devonians need more than an hour to walk to the nearest grocery store.
Torridge had the worst access to food outlets on foot, with the average resident needing a minimum of 35 minutes.
West Devon had an average minimum journey time of 33 minutes, followed by South Hams (26 minutes), Mid Devon (24 minutes) and North Devon (20 minutes).
The districts of Torbay, Exeter and Plymouth have much better connections than the national average, each having an average journey time of between six and seven minutes.
The Torridge area containing Quoditch, Upcott and Ashwater had the longest average walking time of 117 minutes,
Access to food shops by bike
Looking at the cycle paths to the nearest food outlets, only Torbay, Plymouth and Exeter fall below the UK average journey time of nine minutes.
Torridge had the worst cycle routes to their nearest store at 17 minutes, followed by West Devon (16 minutes) and South Hams (13 minutes).
Across the county, it takes an average Devonian 10 minutes to cycle to the nearest shop, with 87% of residents being able to get there in 15 minutes. This is 7% below the national average of 94%.
Access to food shops via public transport
According to government data, only Torridge and West Devon have average journey times above the national average of nine minutes.
However, public transport data, as it currently stands, is identical to journey times by car.
As the time includes walking times to the nearest bus stop, if there is one, this seems very unusual, with many neighborhoods having little access to public transport when they go to other vital services.
Stay up to date with the attached graph, where the data may be updated once confirmed by the ONS.
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