Earlier this year we interviewed 103 people in the High Street, using a standard set of questions which were compared with the answers given in other towns. People in Bruton were extremely positive about the town: 99% said they would recommend a visit to the town. In other comparable towns only 66% recommended a visit.
People were more positive about Bruton in other ways too. Customer service scored highly, as did the range of restaurants and cafes. You can read more about what we found, find out what our businesses think of the town, and find out how our car parking compares by following this link.
After some months of number-crunching the results of the Town Plan Survey are now available. Read a Summary Report by clicking here, or to read the Full Report click here.
Living in Bruton
Your favourite thing about living in Bruton is the other Brutonians.
The thing that people most want to change is the traffic (too much, too fast).
82% of you read The Dove to keep up to date with what’s going on.
The community institutions are strong.
We need better banking facilities in the town.
To read more about what people said about Living in Bruton click here.
How the town looks
People want to protect the Town Centre, Jubilee Park and the Duckpond/Tolbury area from residential development (other areas were mentioned too, but these were the most popular).
People don’t really want to see any development, but if there had to be, then sites off the Frome, Cole and Brewham Roads had the most support and the least objections (some support came from people living in these areas).
The Town Council shouldn’t sit back. The Council needs to work with developers and landowners to make sure that the right housing gets built in the right place.
The right housing is small two to three bedroom houses.
People are more concerned about litter (men even more so than women) and dog mess than they are about street signs or street lighting.
There were numerous suggestions about how to improve different parts of the town. The most popular in each area were:
- Better places to sit by and walk by the Brue
- Speed restrictions in Wyke Champflower and Redlynch
- Improve the Welcome to Bruton signs in the outskirts of the town
- Wider pavements in the town centre
- Better planting and keeping the area clean and dog-mess free were equal first for the town’s green spaces
To read more about what people said about How the Town Looks click here.
Bruton is a town of walkers. 60% of those surveyed come in to the centre once a day or more, and 70% come in on foot. If the survey is representative of the population as a whole, about 1,000 Brutonians walk into the centre of the town every day.
Having better walking routes and wider pavements is much more important than making it easy to drive through the town.
A lot of people support the 20 mph limit (only one person said they were against it).
The Library Junction needs improving and there needs to be disabled access to the Westbound platform at the station.
There was a strong vote against introducing parking charges in the town, and on balance people were against residents’ parking permits.
To read more about what people said about Getting Around click here.
Leisure and places to go
Facilties for people with disabilities, for teenagers and for younger adults need to improve. Facilities for younger children and for adults of working age are satisfactory.
There is very strong support for the Council’s proposals to develop better sports facilities at Jubilee Park, and slightly less but still strong support for investing time and money in developing a modern multi-use community building.
The majority think that the Packhorse Fair and the Christmas Shopping night are great, and that we need more of this kind of thing. Only 1% thought these kinds of events of no benefit to the town.
The community toilet scheme was thought to be adequate, but only if it received better publicity.
We asked for suggestions about other things that could be done to improve leisure facilities in the town, and suggestions to help people enjoy the surrounding countryside:
- A swimming pool was the most often mentioned improvement, though several pointed out that the schools had facilities that could be shared more;
- There need to be better maps and routes which are well signed to help walkers and cyclists enjoy the countryside
To read more about what people said about Leisure and Places to Go click here.
An estimated 360 people commute outside the town for work, but most adults of working age remain in the town during the day.
The survey suggests that quite a few people (around 80) drive to work within Bruton itself.
Over 80% of the people who answered do some or all of their food shopping in Bruton.
People wanted more shops. These need to be practical shops for local people, not more art and antiques.
Suitable accommodation at the right price was the biggest obstacle to creating more business.
To read more about what people said about Jobs click here.
Who completed the survey?
There were 355 responses, which is 33% of all the households in Bruton (though in some households more than one survey may have been completed). Over half the responses were received online.
Ages ranged from 6 to 96. More older people than might be expected completed the survey, and fewer younger people, so the survey does not give a good representation of the views of all ages.
30% of people had lived in Bruton for more than 25 years. This is the same proportion as in 2010.
Most people who moved to Bruton came because of work.
To read more about who completed the survey click here.
To find out more
Come to one of our Town Plan Live events:
10 March 7 pm The Longhouse, Mill on the Brue
12 March 9.30 am: Bruton Community Hall
13 March 7.30 pm: Bruton Community Hall
14 March 1.30 pm: Bruton Community Hall
16 March 7.30 pm: Unionist Club (tbc)
19 March 10.30 am: The Green, Cuckoo Hill
To read a summary report with the main findings of the survey click here.
To read a full report (including charts, tables and quotations from residents) click here.
You can download a spreadsheet showing all the answers to all the questions about Bruton (all questions about the person completing the survey have been removed, to prevent anybody being identified). The spreadsheet does not display well until it has been downloaded. To view the download click here.
If you want to more about how the survey was designed, and why we asked the questions that we did, click here.
The Town Council has been very aware of residents’ dissatisfaction with the new and very bright street lighting at Cuckoo Hill. On 31 March 2017 Cllrs Mike Brownlow and Ewan Jones, together with the Bruton Trust met with Phil Green from the County Council’s Highways Lighting Team to discuss the concerns.
Cllr Brownlow’s report of the meeting is below. After the meeting he stressed that:
“if any resident has a complaint about the bright light intruding into their homes, they are asked to contact Phil Green at email@example.com or on the direct line 01823 355495. There are shades that can be fitted to the lanterns to block much of the light directed at the houses, while still illuminating the road. I’d urge all residents whose houses look directly onto the A359 to get in touch with him. Complaints must come from individual householders. Mr Green was very helpful and very generous with his time, even though the message he’d been tasked with conveying was at times frustrating in its inflexibility.”
Report of the meeting
The meeting was attended by Cllrs Mike Brownlow and Ewan Jones, Ed Tickner from the Bruton Trust, and Phil Green and a colleague from Somerset County Council’s Highways Lighting Team.
The meeting was arranged in response to numerous complaints to the Town Council, and much talk on Bruton’s Facebook page about the brightness of the lighting up at the junction of the A359 and the entrance to the Cuckoo Hill estate.
Mr Green explained that because there’s a large bollard in the road and a turning, this is designated as a ‘Conflict Area’, and is subject to strict lighting rules, decided on by the classification of the road. The lighting must be as even as possible to avoid motorists driving into and out of light and dark areas, hence the height of the columns, and their large number. The lighting columns are as high as they are because even more lights would have been necessary to achieve the same effect, had their height had been lower and for the area to still comply with BSI standards. (BS5489 2013) Any roundabout, junction, speed bump etc. has to be lit to these kind of standards now.
It was explained that this is all driven by costs. The lights could be run at a lower wattage — they are currently set at 4,000 kelvins on the Kelvin Scale, entering the blue end of the spectrum and producing a harsh light with a lot of glare. Were they to be set at 3,000 kelvins, it would result in a warmer light with a lower level of brightness. However, counter-intuitively, it would cost the County more to run the lights at this lower level than at its present setting, due to the design of this generation of lights. This admittedly “brighter than would be ideal” setting of 4,000 kelvins was decided on by County Councillors as being the best compromise, giving a good level of luminescence with a good level of energy saving. Other councils, such as Gloucestershire (encompassing the similarly rural setting of the Cotswolds, and just as starved of cash as Somerset is), set their lights at 6,500 kelvins in order to save even more money.
The lights could be dimmed or even switched off at certain times of the night (called Park Night). However the energy companies keep a close eye on this practice, and if they see they’re losing money, they put their prices up to compensate. This has already happened several times, and if it makes anyone else angry, I can only agree with them. Furthermore, if you switch off individual lighting columns for longer than a few months, they are permanently disconnected at considerable cost. Nonetheless, Phil Green reckons that after having installed 18,000 LED street lights across the County so far, SCC has saved in the region of £515,000 in running costs.
So the conclusion is that it’s cheaper to keep the LED lighting at Cuckoo Hill and elsewhere burning at this bright level all night, rather than dim them or switch them off. There are big costs involved in turning the brightness down.
The town plan survey has now closed. There were 172 responses online and 169 paper responses. This is a total of 341. This is very nearly 30% of the households in the parish.
Over the next few weeks members of the town plan steering group will be analysing the responses. We should be able to give some early information about what people have told us in a couple of weeks. More detailed analysis will take longer.
Once we’ve combined the paper responses with the online responses we will draw names out of a hat for the prize and contact the winners.
Bruton’s town plan steering group is looking for someone who has expertise in multi-variate analysis and significance testing (if you don’t know what we are talking about you need read no further!). If you have this expertise we’d like you to spare a few hours to help us with analysing our survey. You won’t need to do the work: we are simply looking for an independent person to check that we are doing it right and that we are drawing valid conclusions.
If you also have an SPSS licence and could allow a couple of members of the steering group to use the application that would be a tremendous bonus.
If you think that this might be you please contact Cllr James Hood at firstname.lastname@example.org