So what do Hastings people really think about their town and how do they think it can improve? Well we know some of the answers. The Place Survey into local people’s opinions which is done every two years has recently reported back.
Out in Kings Road listening to residents
The headlines are pretty good but they also show the areas where we need to do more.
Obviously I’m pleased that satisfaction with the borough council is now 57% compared to just 36% in 2008.
Also really pleasing is that 54% of local people feel safe in their local area outside after dark compared with 39% in 2008. We all know that crime has come down in the town and when I speak to people there is a feeling that things are getting better – although of course one crime is still one crime too many.
I am also heartened by the finding that 77% agree that people from different backgrounds get on well together locally. In 2008 the figure was 71%.
As for the question about how satisfied or dissatisfied people are with their local area there has been no real change – 12% dissatisfied this time and in 2008; satisfied 73% this time, 75% before.
But what are the things we are satisfied with – festivals and events (Seafood &Wine, Jack-in-the Green etc) 81% said good, restaurants and cafes 67% good, galleries and museums 51% good. Satisfaction with parks and gardens is high, and satisfaction with litter, refuse and recycling has all gone up in the last two years.
Activities in the town that score less well are the town’s night life – only 30% good, highways 43% dissatisfied, and street cleanliness in Central St Leonards 33% thought it was poor.
What is also very interesting is looking in real detail at the differences in some of these perceptions for different age ranges and for different parts of the town. A very clear message is that we need to do more to get young people’s opinions.
But all in all the results are encouraging and do help us when we are thinking where perhaps to invest extra time and resources – although there’s not much spare at the moment.
The over-riding worry I think Hastings people have at the moment is now jobs and tackling that remains a major challenge.