Wotton-under-Edge Town Council has been considering for some time the need to update the Town’s Community Plan which was published in 2005. The Town Regeneration Partnership decided at its September 2014 meeting that a good way of starting the process would be to re-issue an updated community questionnaire, similar to that used for the 2005 Plan, to households across the Parish. Accordingly, a new questionnaire was issued to Wotton households in December 2014, with a requested mid-January 2015 return date. It contained 58 questions on which residents were asked to indicate their opinion. Comments were also invited. In the event, some 270 questionnaires were returned, of which around 170 contained additional comments.
Determining a priority order from the results obtained has not been straightforward and several methods were tried, including weighted scores, totals by priority and percentage scores.
Putting the results of the questionnaire scores and comments together the following seemed to be the issues of most concern to the community:
- The need for proper road maintenance to deal with potholes, road condition and road marking;
- The poor condition of footpaths, pavements and verges;
- Traffic Problems in the Town and problems caused by parked cars restricting traffic – although, based on the questionnaire returns, the enforcement of parking restrictions would not be welcome!
- The need for more parking in the town – although there was no appetite to pay for such a facility either through increasing the precept or introducing parking charges;
- Initiatives to encourage Tourism – although there were several comments about not wanting to waste money on such activities. There was a negative response to the suggestion that a coach park should be provided;
- A desire for the Town Council to continue its support for the Library, Swimming Pool, Synwell Playing Field, Citizens Advice Bureau and Youth services;
Other high priority items include:
- Charfield railway station, the need for better bus services, a good selection of shops, local employment opportunities, improved police presence, littering, dog fouling, improved public toilets, and affordable housing;
- In the questionnaire response, the need for a new supermarket was identified as a low priority but the comments received showed an equal number for and against.
GRCC has recommended putting effort into actions to progress some of the identified priority items, those which are within the remit of the Town Council, rather than spending time refreshing the previous Community plan. Views from the public would be welcome but the current thinking of the Town Council Working Group favours focusing on activities that would help to bring more people into the town in order to help local traders and help maintain the vitality of the town, such as:
Appearance of the town / littering / pavements
In terms of progress to date, the Town Council is currently exploring an initiative which would provide additional car and coach parking in the town and also has had discussions with the Heritage Centre about establishing a proactive town information point for tourists.
Community support to assist with determining priorities and follow on actions will be vital and so if residents would like to contribute in any way please let the Town Clerk know.
C/O Wotton-under-Edge Town Council
The Civic Centre, 2 Gloucester Street
Tel: 01453 843 210