Following our consultation launch event in September, everyone in our area (The Narth, Pen y Fan and Maryland) had an opportunity to complete a questionnaire, either online or on paper, on the issues that had been raised. The initial results from the questionnaires have been passed to us by Adventa, the independent facilitators of the project. The final document is now being prepared.
The response was good: 93 adults completed the main questionnaire, which is around 31% of the adult population of 297 (based on the 2011 government census). This is a good response rate, comparable with other villages undertaking community led plans.
However the responses tended to be from older people in the village, and younger adults (18-44 years of age) are under-represented. This could indicate less involvement with village affairs among people of that age group. It could be partly explained by retired people having more time available but that does not explain why the 45-64 years group did fill in their questionnaires.
Across all adults, the great majority moved into the village after their childhood and did not grow up here. That could be explained by the number of new houses built in the village over the last 30 years but this is clearly a village of ‘newcomers’, with the majority of people giving the attractiveness of the area their reason for coming here.
98% of people own their own home, and nobody who answered the questionnaire is unemployed. 54% are retired, 6% are unwaged home-makers and the rest are employed, some part-time.
It will take some time to analyse the main concerns expressed on the questionnaire, particularly the large number of comments, but the headline figures are as follows.
- 59% of us are concerned about traffic speeding through the village.
- 52% of us use the bus from time to time (quite a high number), but most of these are occasional rather than regular users. However 52% (probably the same people) would use it more often it there were more buses or buses at times that suited them more.
- We feel very strongly about street lights and verges. 89% do not want any more street lights in The Narth and want to keep our dark skies, and 62% would prefer existing lights to be reduced. An even more convincing 97% do not want to see any more pavements and kerbs, preferring to keep the rural lanes with soft grass verges. This is a strong message to pass on to the authorities!
- We also agree about the mobile phone signal (considered important by 93% of us, and only 11% get an adequate signal) and broadband (important to 92%, but 58% do not get an adequate broadband speed).
- We are split on the issue of dog mess with 50% considering it a problem and 50% saying it isn’t a problem in the village.
- We are agreed that The Narth is a safe place to live: 86% feel completely safe and 14% mostly safe (citing the narrow roads and traffic as the main danger).
The data relating to our opinions on development and additional services is more complex and requires a bit more analysis, but it is clear that the facilities, services and events we have in the village, in particular the village hall and the glade, are highly valued:
- 87% have attended events in the village hall or glade, and there are many good ideas about further activities that could take place.
- 50% would be interested in some community learning activities in the hall.
Most responses to the question asking what people like most about living on The Narth mentioned the peace and quiet, and its beautiful setting surrounded by nature. Obviously this is a very special place to live, and we don’t want that to change. We also, on the whole, find it a very friendly place although we do lack some facilities, in particular it’s a long way to the nearest shop.
The next step is to look in more depth at the rest of the responses and to prepare a plan for the village, based on what people want, that can be passed on to the authorities. On the basis of the analysis so far, that means keeping our village quiet, rural and in tune with nature, and with a strong commitment to supporting community social activities, but with an emphasis on also engaging younger people (under 40’s) in village life.
The separate young people’s questionnaire (under 18’s) will also be analysed and included in the plan.
In the meantime we welcome your further comments and feedback – everything will be taken into account.