SHAPE THE FUTURE: Response to council’s residents survey labelled ‘pitiful’
A bird's eye view of Redcar and Cleveland, Image: Redcar and Cleveland Council
Councillors have criticised the response to a residents’ survey which only received 1,380 replies from the public.
The survey by Redcar and Cleveland Council was carried out between June and August and was intended to help shape future council services and policies by gathering views from householders and other council stakeholders.
Councillor Tim Gray, an independent who represents the Loftus ward, said the response was “terrible” and “pitiful”.
Cllr Gray suggested the council should provide incentives to residents to complete future surveys, such as offering a voucher for free coffee.
Councillor Chris Massey, chairman of the council’s resources scrutiny committee, asked the council’s head of communications Chris Styles whether the number of replies received was good or bad.
Mr Styles said it had been 150 fewer than the previous survey carried out and suggested he was happy to take on board any ideas that might improve the response.
He said his experience was that there was more interest in surveys which concerned a single local matter, citing the consultation the council carried out over the re-build of the Regent cinema in Redcar.
Councillor Glyn Nightingale, the council’s cabinet member for resources, said it was not necessarily the best time to send out the survey.
He said: “You also have to remember how many people vote in local elections as well.”
Cllr Nightingale claimed the results of the survey showed broad support for the council’s corporate plan which was published earlier this year.
The survey sought views on subjects such as tackling climate change, improving the physical appearance of the borough and coming out of the covid-19 outbreak.
It was inserted into the council’s corporate magazine ‘This is Redcar & Cleveland’, which is posted to householders in the borough, and published on the council’s website and via social media channels.
Residents who replied expressed concern about litter, dog-fouling, anti-social behaviour, weeds and grass-cutting, potholes and fly-tipping.
They were said to be supportive of more tree-planting, increasing recycling and reducing the use of plastic, as well as the planting of wildflowers on grass verges and roundabouts.
The council said residents were keen that social distancing and the wearing of face masks continued.
Meanwhile, seven out 10 were said to be satisfied with their life and ‘happy’.
The profile of respondents showed that most (37.7%) were in the 61 to 75 age bracket, while the highest percentage postcode-wise lived in Redcar (35.1%).
Residents of both Guisborough and Eston felt their towns received less support and attention from the council than other towns in the borough, the survey found.
Words: Stuart Arnold, Local Democracy Reporter
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