NEWBROUGH and WARDEN PARISH PLAN QUESTIONNAIRE
Summary and preliminary analysis
A total of 484 questionnaires were distributed of which 301 were returned completed for analysis. This represents a 62% response and compares favourably with the turn-out recorded in local elections. The answers to the questionnaires provide a vivid picture of life in the parishes in the early years of the 21st century. A detailed report has been prepared for the Parish Plan Steering Committee and for the two Parish Councils, an electronic version of which is being placed on the Parish Plan website ( www.parishplan.info ). The Steering Committee and the Parish Councils are most grateful to all those in the community who completed questionnaires and as part of the feedback it has been decided to circulate this condensed version of the report. Anyone interested in more detail should consult the main report.
In thinking about the results presented below two things need to be born in mind. First, not everybody answered every question so comparisons between the answers to different questions are difficult. However, where possible the number of answers to each question is indicated. Second, questionnaires were intended to reflect the views of households rather than individuals. Although most questionnaires will have been filled out by a single person, the views expressed should be treated as the consensus of the household.
Section A - About Your Household
The aim of this section was to find out how many people of different ages live in the area.
In Section A1 people were asked to specify the numbers in their household in different age groups:
These results are a bit misleading in that the different age groups were of different sizes; for example the third column covers nine years whereas the fourth column covers 20 years. Notwithstanding this the 46-64 age group is the most numerous while the 17-25 category may be rather under represented.
By summing the totals in each category it is established that the 301 households that answered questionnaires comprised 737 individuals.
In Section A2 people were asked how many years each adult over 16 had lived in the area?
Taking the individual in each household who has lived in the area longest, but omitting people younger than 26, the following pattern emerges:
Out of the 282 people who answered this question these 171 (61%) had lived in the area for less than 21 years and 107 (38%) had lived here less than 11 years. This preponderance of relatively newly arrived households probably reflects the residential developments that have occurred in the parishes over the past two decades and needs to be kept in mind in evaluating the answers given to other questions.
Section B - Employment and Business
This section sought to identify employment needs in the area.
Section B1 asked about the employment status of people in the household over 16. The answers received accounted for 584 people, 210 (36%) of whom are in full time employment and 141 (24%) are retired. The other categories include 93 (16%) individuals described as self-employed, 70 (12%) in part time employment and 45 (8%) in training or education. There are 21 (4%) full time homemakers and 3 (0.5%) registered as unemployed.
Out of 267 people who responded, 233 (87%) thought there should be more opportunities for local employment (Section B2) while 195 (75%) out of 260 thought that more visitors and tourists should be encouraged (Section B3).
Section B4 asked people whether they agreed that the following notices and facilities should be provided. A total of 233 voted for information about bus and taxi services and 230 for signs to places of interest. Information about places to walk and cycle came a close third with 222 votes. Public toilets got 192 votes, a tearoom 170 and picnic areas 139.
Section C - Transport and Road
This section aimed to identify issues and problems relating to public transport.
A total of 297 people answered Section C1 about how important the local bus service is. The results were fairly evenly spread:
Asked if people in the household would use better public transport if it was available (Section C2) 180 (65%) out of 276 said they would while 241 (81%) out of 296 said they would use Fourstones Railway Station if it was re-opened (Section C3). Both these scores increase slightly, to 68% and 87% respectively, in answers from households with people in full time employment
Section D - Education
Section D1 was aimed at members of the household under 18 and asked if they would be interested in attending a range of groups. The results give a fairly clear picture of the demand, but it should be bourn in mind that some of the more ‘traditional’ activities - Scouts, Guides, Brownies, Cubs - are catered for by groups outside the parishes.
Section D2 asked if people would go to hobby or leisure classes if they were provided locally and what time of the day they would prefer. Of the 251 people who answered this question 182 (75%) said they would attend while the time-of-day preferences expressed were as follows:
While over 54 topics were suggested ranging from belly-dancing to drystone walling (Section D3) only seven reached double figures:
Only 32 people felt that their attendance at classes would be affected by practical issues (Section D4):
Section E - Environment and Heritage
A range of environmental issues have been identified as problems in the parishes. People were asked whether this was also their experience (Section E1). Speeding traffic and dog fouling emerged as the issues of greatest concern while litter is also considered to be a significant problem.
People were also asked to provide details of other problem issues. Several of the issues raised are actually dealt with elsewhere in the questionnaire, but of the remainder the main problems, in no particular order, are as follows:
Narrow pavements and poor maintenance
Lack of pavements at Allerwash
Thoughtless mowing of verges
Too much inappropriate signage
Damage to stone walls
Turning to the environment in general Section E2 asked people to rate the importance in the local environment of the ‘Countryside‘, the ‘Riverside‘, the ‘Woodlands‘ and the ‘Villages‘, a High rating scoring 2 and a Low rating scoring 1. Some 283 people answered this question giving a maximum possible total score for each element of 566 (283 x 2). The actual scores recorded are ‘Countryside‘ = 564, ‘Riverside‘ = 504, ‘Woodlands‘ = 504 and
‘Villages‘ = 489.
Out of 253 people, 204 (81%) said they thought more should be done to find out about the heritage and environment of the parishes and 95 said they would be willing to lend a hand (Section E4).
The next section (E5) gave people an opportunity of recording the different birds and animals they had seen in the area. From a list of 15 species Red Squirrels were the most commonly recorded with Deer and Bats in second and third place, while the 95 records of Grey Squirrel are a real cause for concern. Some 233 people said they fed the birds in their garden (Section E5a).
The next part of this section (E6) invited people to say whether they had visited, or knew of, a number of features in the local area. The answers were given scores in that a place recorded as ‘Visited’ scored 3, ‘Known of’ scored 2 and ‘Not heard of’ scored 1. A total of 277 people answered this question which means that if everybody had visited a particular feature its score would be 831 (277 x 3). Comparing the scores provides a means of assessing the popularity of the features in the list.
On this basis the most popular feature is the riverside footpath with a score of 808 while the Hadrian’s Wall footpath scored 721. Warden Saxon Church, Watersmeet and Crow Wood had similar scores of 708, 699 and 678 respectively. Rather less well known are St Mary’s Well (590), Warden Iron Age Camp (589) and the Settlingstones Winding Wheel (547), though if this had been listed as the ‘Ellen Wheel’ it might have got a higher score. Bottom of the list are the Carr Edge Scout Camp (518) and Newbrough Roman Fort (372).
Out of 258 people 57 (22%) felt that footpaths were not well maintained and signposted (Section E7) and pointed to erosion of the riverside path and the growth of vegetation as significant problems. Two suggestions were made for extending the footpath network, a through route from Allerwash to Hexham and a circular route encompassing the riverside and Warden Hill.
Section F - Housing and well being
The questions in this section focused on housing needs and health care requirements.
Of the 297 people who provided details of the type of accommodation they occupy (F1a) 217 (73%) are owner occupiers and 74 (25%) live in rented or leased accommodation. Of the latter, only one person said they were not happy with the level of amenities provided.
Three main types of accommodation were identified (F1b); houses (231), bungalows (54) and flats (6).
In Section F2 people were asked if more affordable housing was needed in the area either to buy or to rent. Taking answers to the this question overall about 66% felt there should be more affordable housing in the area. While taking answers from people currently living in rented or leased accommodation this rises to 78%.
Out of 216 people 171 (79%) felt there should be more accommodation with care and support services that would enable older and disabled people to stay in the area (Section F3).
Section F4 gave people the opportunity to say whether they had difficulty in accessing a range of health care services. Only a small number of households experience difficulties in this respect, the main problems being the distances involved and the time services are available.
People were also asked which GP practice they used (Section F5).
Section G - Services
This section was designed to find out if services in the parishes need improvement. In Section G1 people were asked to rate the standard of a range of public services, with ‘Excellent’ scoring 4, ‘Good’ scoring 3, ‘Fair’ scoring 2’ and ‘Poor’ scoring 1. Some 286 people answered this question giving a maximum score available for each service of 1144 (286 x 4).
The highest score, 868, was achieved by the refuse collectors while the water and electricity suppliers managed a nearly equal second place with scores of 793 and 789 respectively. In fourth place are the police with 599 followed by the gritters (559), the ambulance service (542), the fire service (525) and street lighting (523). At the bottom of the list are grass cutting (486) and snow clearing (458). A mistake in drafting the questionnaire led ‘gas supply’ to be included in the list of services. Many people pointed out this mistake, as there is no supply available other than in bottles, but some people nevertheless offered a rating, usually poor!
Looked at from the point of view of individual households, if every service was rated as excellent the score would be 40 whereas the average score recorded is 20 which can be taken as an indication of the general level of satisfaction.
Out of 294 people 90 (31%) claimed to use the paper skip at the school (Section G2). People were also asked what recycling facilities would be used if they were available locally:
Only 65 believed they were covered by a Neighbourhood Watch scheme (Section G3).
Other local facilities were dealt with in Section G4. Out of 281 people 26 (9%) felt there are not enough post boxes while out 244 people 46 (19%) felt there are not enough phone boxes and 82 (34%) felt there are not enough public toilets.
Information about regional shopping trends was obtained from answers to Section G5.
Local shopping trends were addressed under question G6 in that people were asked to indicate how often various local facilities were used; ‘Daily’ scoring 5, ‘Weekly’ scoring 4, ‘Monthly’ scoring 3, ‘Occasionally’ scoring 2 and ‘Never’ scoring 1. Some 290 people answered this question which means that the maximum score any facility could get was 1450 (290 x 5).
Section H - Play and Sport
This section sought to identify if there is a demand for more play and sports provision. To begin with people were asked to say how important it was to have a play area near their house (Section H1); ‘Very important’ scored 4, ‘Important’ scored 3, ‘Not very’ scored 2 and ‘Not at all’ scored 1. Given that 276 people answered this question the maximum score available was 1104 (276 x 4). The actual score attained was 589 with an average of 2.1.
The next two sections (H2 and H3) asked people to indicate which sports they took part in and which facilities they would use if they were provided locally. Swimming proved to be the most popular in both respects with keep-fit second. Among the sports played and activities participated in, football came fourth and horse riding fifth. Cricket, rugby, squash, bowling, table tennis and badminton all come out as minority pursuits. Interestingly, answers to these questions indicate that there would be an increase in people playing tennis if facilities were available locally.
Support for a range of other activities was gauged by answers to Section H4
Out of 223 people 173 (76%) said there are adequate opportunities for their preferred sport/activity in the area (Section H5).
Section I - Communications
The aim of this section was to find out if local communications could be improved. Assessing the sources of information currently available the Stanegate and the Courant ‘Newbrough’ Notes were found to be the most widely consulted while out of 249 people 205 (82%) felt these sources to be adequate.
Out of 290 people 188 (65%) had Internet access at home (Section I4) but few consulted any of the local web sites (Section I5), the site with the most votes being the Hexham Courant (49) with Tynedale Council in second place (36).
Of people without Internet access at home only 51 said they would like to use the IT facilities at the Town Hall (Section I6).
Section J - Community issues
People were asked to rate the importance to their household, and to the community as whole, of a range of local institutions, ‘Very Important’ scoring 4, ‘Important’ scoring 3, ‘Not Very Important’ scoring 2 and ‘No Importance’ scoring 1. A total of 266 people answered this question (Section J2) giving a maximum available score of 1064 (266 x 4).
Section J3 aimed to establish the level of attendance at the places of worship within the parishes. A total of 189 people answered this question of whom 23 (12%) attended weekly, 13 (7%) attended monthly, 24 (13%) attended quarterly and 129 (68%) said they attended less often. Only 17 people said distance affected their attendance.
2 Home Farm
©Newbrough and Warden Parish Plan MMV