Revealed: How people really feel about living in Suffolk
PUBLISHED: 09:39 20 April 2015 | UPDATED: 09:40 20 April 2015
More than 1,200 of you responded to the EADT's Suffolk Says survey, in which we asked how people feel about living in the county. These were the results...
Residents of Suffolk feel that the county is safe, has reasonable health facilities and has many attractive features that make it a good place to live.
But they want to see improvements to the transport network, more affordable homes, and more police attention given to anti-social behaviour.
Overall those who took part in our “Suffolk Says” survey earlier this month are generally optimistic about the future – more expect things to get better over the next year than to get worse.
Our survey was published earlier this month in print and online to gauge the opinions of our readers on a number of issues.
The findings are published today in a special supplement with the EADT.
We received more than 1,200 responses. The majority of these (65%) were from people aged more than 55. The overwhelming majority (86%) were from people who had lived in Suffolk for 10 years or more.
After the elections on May 8 we will send copies of the survey to every county, district and borough councillor in the county, as well as every MP.
The findings will also be sent to other civic leaders and decision makers so they can take into account the concerns of the people of Suffolk.
The main issues to be flagged up are:
Most people who use the county’s hospitals have found them good, very good, or acceptable. Only 5% found hospitals to be poor or very poor.
Join the radio debate
The results of the Suffolk Says survey will be the main talking point on the Mark Murphy show on BBC Radio Suffolk from 9am today.
Mark said: “What an amazing response. It just goes to show how much people care about Suffolk and its future. We’ll be discussing the findings on BBC Radio Suffolk from 9am this morning with the EADT Editor Terry Hunt and you can join in too on 01473 212121.”
There were similar findings for GP services – although a third of people did not find it easy to get appointments at their local GPs’ surgery.
There are also a wide variety of opinions about out-of-hours GP services in the county – and most respondents felt that the government’s eight-minute target for ambulance response times was unrealistic.
Broadband and improving 3G mobile phone signals are important for many people – although not everyone who took part in the survey.
One surprising fact was that only 6% of those who took part did not have access to broadband – the survey was available to send in by post as well as online.
Nearly two thirds of respondents said quality of broadband or 3G coverage would be an important factor if they were looking to move home.
Respondents rated the quality of the county’s transport infrastructure as the most pressing issue for Suffolk – both road and rail provoked keen responses.
A third of responses felt that Suffolk’s roads were poor or very poor while less than 20% thought they were good or excellent.
The choice of which major road project was most important for the county was fairly evenly spread – possibly reflecting the geographical spread of those who replied across the county.
ECONOMY/BUSINESS AND SHOPPING
The economy is the most important single issue in the general election for the
greatest number of people who took part in the survey.
More of those who took part in the survey feel that things are more likely to improve over the next year than get worse – although they feel their company is less likely to take on new staff than it did last year.
When asked where people did their non-food shopping, there was an equal split between large towns, out-of-town centres and online. A slightly smaller number use their nearest market town.
Crime and education
The overwhelming majority of people who replied to the survey feel safe in Suffolk – only 7% feel unsafe. The issue they feel deserves most police attention is anti-social behaviour.
Of those with experience of the education system, more than 80% are happy or at least satisfied with their local high school – and they feel the main reason for Suffolk’s poor showing in national tables is the lack of engagement of parents in the education system.