A vibrant community
The three surveys, Household, Youth and Business were carried out during February and March this year. Respondents were able to enter their answers either into documents or on-line. For full detail on each individual questionnaire please see : Household
We had an exceptionally good response to the Household questionnaire with 404 returns representing around 65% of the total households (620) in the Parish.
We had 59 individual responses from our local youth and 29 responses from local businesses.
We thank everyone for taking the time to complete these surveys and provide us with a wealth of evidence to analyse and use in laying out a Neighbourhood Plan for the future of our Parish.
The hard work of analysing all this data has begun and shortly the results will be disseminated to everyone for further consideration and refinement.
In terms of those responding to the Household questionnaire it shows a ratio of more older people in the Parish with more than a third being aged 60 years and over. It also shows that people tend to stay in the Parish for a long time, on average over 20 years and relatively few expect to be moving in the next 5 years (and for those wanting to move moving within Mendlesham is the most preferred option).
About one quarter of the responses identified one or more people in the household working in Mendlesham and one sixth identified one or more people working from home.
The question on development preferences showed overwhelming support for small scale and dispersed developments rather that large estate development. There were mixed views on the types of property and tenure and in most cases it seems the majority are willing to consider each proposal on its merits.
The possibility of a car sharing scheme was not well supported with only a quarter of the respondents willing to participate.
Less than 25% of respondents identified problems with public transport locally whereas almost 40% identified problems with local traffic. More analysis work will be done on these areas in the next few weeks.
We received very strong messages about the local environment where almost 70% of respondents saw it as “definitely important” and strongly supported the need to protect and enhance it.
The idea of a community managed renewable energy project was supported by over 70% of respondents.
We gained useful information on our children and their attendance (now and in the future at our local school and pre school groups).
In terms of sport and activities (for both youth and adults) the responses were surprisingly light and well over 60% of respondents appear not to participate in any sport or activities. Around 70% of respondents felt there is not a need for any more recreational facilities in the Parish. Having said that the Mendlesham footpaths and bridleways, woodland and Community Centre are very well supported by many residents.
The Parish magazine is the most referred to facility for finding out what’s happening in the Parish with over 88% of respondents reading it. “Talking to friends” was the next most popular method followed by the Parish notice boards.
Modern technology is figuring prominently in many people’s lives with well over 70% of respondents saying they use the Internet, mobile phones and e-Mail. Over 12% have used the Intanet cafe.
The final question on the Household questionnaire asked about how Mendlesham should grow over the coming years. Over 72% of respondents gave us their thoughts and the analysis work is underway to identify the major themes from these responses.
Overall it seems clear that people like Mendlesham as it is today and that growth needs to be carefully controlled to preserve the current rural image and its surrounding environment. People want to keep the current facilities, shop, pub, post office, school and health centre and we need to ensure that the growth in and around the parish will support that ideal.
We had a good mix (both in terms of age and gender) to the Youth Questionnaire. Unsurprisingly the majority travel to school by bus or coach but the “mum and dad” transport service is in evidence particularly when sports and activities are involved.
The participation in activities and sports is surprisingly light with over 80% of respondents saying they do nothing within the parish. However around 63% participate in sports outside the parish and less than 30% in activities outside the parish.
In terms of local facilities the footpaths and bridleways are the most popular followed by Mendlesham woodland. There was significant comment about the state of Mendlesham Hard Court (Tennis area) and the need for refurbishment. There also seems to be an interest in helping to maintain and improve these local facilities.
Once again the Parish magazine was one of the two most quoted for keeping up with local news (the other being talking to friends). Around half the respondents had used the Intanet cafe with the majority rating it as good and very good.
The idea of a Youth Council was very well supported with over 64% saying yes; just over 50% of respondents indicated an interest in helping to set a Youth Council up.
Finally 33 of the 59 respondents gave us comments on what changes and improvements they would like to see locally and these are also now being analysed (and yes a skate park does get mentioned quite a few times!).
The Business Questionnaire attracted only 29 responses but they show what a diversity of businesses we have in the Parish (not just agricultural). A majority of the businesses appear stable with no particular aims to expand although nearly a third are hoping for expansion in the next 5 years. These 29 businesses provide employment for people living in the Parish (66 people full time and 17 part time).
Over 80% of the businesses need Broadband for their operation and just over half of those felt the service was unsatisfactory. Just under half of the businesses have their own web site.
On the question of the help needed for business growth there was mention of the need for good support both from the District Council and local people (buying local products and produce) and the the need for a better Internet connection to support their growth.
The Internet is a theme that arises in responses from all all three questionnaires and it is clearly evident that we all have an increasing reliance on it.
In conclusion the Parish Council is greatly appreciative of the information that all the respondents have provided and will now be working with organisations and businesses in the parish to understand clearly what the route map for the future is.
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