• Residents give district the thumbs up

    3rd October 2013 | News | Claire
  • Results from this year’s residents’ survey show that, on the whole, East Devon folk are a happy bunch.

    When looking at the Council overall:

    *  84% felt that they were kept informed against 16% who did not feel informed
    *  72% are satisfied with the way the Council runs things against 8% dissatified
    *  when told what percentage of council tax the Council receives, 70% felt that the Council provides value for money against 6% who disagreed*
    *  51% felt that the Council acts on what residents say against 49% who disagreed
    *  49% felt that the Council acts quickly against 15% who disagreed*
    *  43% would speak positively about the Council against 16% negatively*

    When asked about the success in making progress on some of the Council’s key aims, 72% agreed the Council were capitalising on the district’s natural landscape and countryside to attract visitors, 58% agreed that the Council were doing well on town regeneration and 50% in delivering jobs in the west of the district.

    Concerns were around the need to retain the distinctiveness of the district’s towns and improve the quality of retail on offer, to try to deliver more jobs across the whole district and to protect AONB and greenfield sites from development.

    Council Leader, Paul Diviani, commented: “I am particularly pleased that people feel informed, the Council provides good value for money and that the majority of people would speak positively about the Council and feel we act swiftly to issues.

    “We are also doing pretty well, given the sluggish national economy, on attracting visitors, jobs and regeneration. On balance people feel we do act on what they say but we acknowledge that this is always going to be a hard test for us because of the extreme pressures we have around planning issues.

    “This is the first survey we have undertaken for several years and it will now be conducted on an annual basis. The results of the survey are invaluable and will inform future action the Council needs to take. For this reason, we want to encourage as many people as possible to complete the survey year on year.”

    Safety

    In terms of feeling safe in the district, scores were very high with 96% of people feeling safe in the daytime and 83% after dark. Very few people felt they had problems with only 14% citing people being drunk and rowdy in public areas, 13% with levels of pollution, 11% with litter, rubbish, vandalism and graffitti and only 6% with noisy neighbours and loud parties.

    Of those that did have problems, they were the perennials of dog fouling, street cleaning, combating weeds, reducing traffic, improving bathing water quality and a greater police presence – the majority of which fall outside the Council’s control.

    Services

    People were also asked about their view on individual aspects of service delivery. Satisfaction was sky high with waste collection and recycling with 88% satisfied with their household waste and blue food caddycollections and 84% happy with green box recycling. Residents are also keen to recycle more with many expressing a wish to be able to recycle cardboard and mixed plastics earlier than the 2016 date and an appetite for a garden waste service.

    Parks and gardens also received the thumbs up with 79% of people being satisfied with the service. The most common area for improvement was asking for more frequent grass cutting. Similarly, 84% were satisfied with the food hygiene service feeling confident about eating in cafes and restaurants.

    Services where fewer residents’ were users tended to show lower levels of response and lower levels of satisfaction because many people responding felt they couldn’t give an opinion. In addition, these services tend to score lower nationally because they involve a level of enforcement of the law which people may disagree with but the Council has no control over.

    *  53% satisfied with off street car parking against 23% dissastisfied*
    *  49% satisfied with housing services against 11% dissatisfied*
    *  46% satisfied with housing benefit and council tax services against 15% dissatisfied*
    *  40% satisfied with planning against 16% dissatisfied*

    In car parking, key issues were the cost of parking and the need for more parking spaces. The main issue in planning was that people felt more weight should be given to local views. There were very few comments about the housing or benefits and council tax services.

    Three thousand surveys were sent out and 753 replies were received. Everyone who completed the survey had the chance to be entered into a prize draw. Mr Paul Bond, from Exmouth, was picked out as the winner. He has received £50 worth of shopping vouchers.

    *where scores don’t add up to 100% this is because some people did not express a view either way

    ENDS

    Over 3,000 postal surveys were sent out to a random selection of households across the district and 753 replies were received, a return rate of 25%. These results were then weighted for age and ward to ensure that the views can be considered representative.