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Framlingham: What do residents want from their town?

13:00 21 March 2014

Framlingham Market Hill

Framlingham Market Hill

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Around a hundred residents of an east Suffolk town turned out to view the initial findings of a survey produced to give the community a greater say in its future.

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Framlingham Town Council and the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Team unveiled the initial findings of the residents’ survey on Tuesday, while offering people further chances to have their say.

David Greenacre, who produced the survey, said the results demonstrated a “disparate” set of views.

“The main finding is that people hold very independent views that are not shared across the board,” he said. “And that’s the interesting thing about Framlingham –it’s self-sufficient and strongly opinionated, which is why it’s such an amazing place to live.”

Despite the diverging opinions, a number of recurring issues emerged. Traffic congestion and parking – off and on street – emerged as a regular concern, with more than half of all respondents highlighting it as a problem.

Nearly a quarter of respondents also felt the town’s GP surgery was stretched beyond capacity and almost half raised concerns about its location.

A community centre was also highlighted as a key aspiration among many respondents, who felt the town lacked large venues to host events.

Those who attended the United Free Church to view the results tended to agree with the key findings.

Graham Goodwin, 59, who attended with his wife Susan, applauded the council for conducting the survey, which he felt was necessary to prepare for the likely population expansion.

“My daughter was born in the town, schooled in the town and could end up working in the town, so it would nice if local children could also be housed in the town,” he said. “But if we’re going to be building 450 houses in the town then there needs to be better infrastructure – if all this comes together then it’s not exactly rocket science.”

Framlingham pensioner Iris Barrell also welcomed the venture, which she hoped would give the town more say in its future “rather than Suffolk Coastal bossing us about like they did with parking.”

Market Hill resident Diana Turan also praised the “very democratic” process but hoped for a greater response rate than the 31% submitted.

Framlingham town clerk Eileen Coe said she hoped to gain more responses from young families, currently under-represented, by working with schools. There will also be further surveys on retail and highways before a plan of action is drawn up later this year.

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