How the town looks: what you told us

People were asked which areas they thought suitable for a development of ten houses or more, and which areas needed most protection. (This was an ‘open-ended’ question: people were asked to express their views rather than choose from a list of options).

People struggled to identify suitable locations for development. The most common response (given by 23% of those responding to the question) was that there should be no further development.

For each area identified as suitable for development, there was at least one other person who mentioned that same area as in need of protection.

The areas where there was the largest majority in favour of development were:

  • ·           Frome Road / County Fields (37 suitable, seven protect);
  • ·           Brewham Road south (36 suitable, 12 protect) and north (33 suitable, 12 protect);
  • ·           Cole Road (33 suitable, six protect);

People found it much easier to identify locations that should be protected from development. The leading areas for protection were:

  • ·           The High Street and historic centre (90 protect, zero suitable);
  • ·           Jubilee Park (44 protect, zero suitable);
  • ·           The Duck Pond/Tolbury area (36 protect, zero suitable);
  • ·           South of the Dovecote (30 protect, 16 suitable).

There was much greater clarity about the role of the Town Council in relation to development. People expected the Council to act.·

  • 197 people were “strongly against” the Council doing “nothing and letting landowners and developers work it out for themselves” (this was the third largest single vote in the entire survey). A further 94 were “against”, giving a majority against the Council doing nothing about development of 80%[1].
  • There was a very large majority (81%) in favour of the Council identifying “likely sites and [working] with landowners and developers to try and ensure that the right housing is built in the right place”, and substantial majorities in favour of the Council intervening more directly, either by buying land to protect it (62% majority) or buying land to develop it (43%).

There was a strong view that the housing that needed to be built should be small houses with two to three bedrooms (68% majority in favour). People were against bungalows being built (37% majority against) and there was no consensus about the need for larger houses, housing for older people or small flats.

When asked to prioritise other issues from a list of options, people thought it important that action was taken about litter (28% majority giving high priority) and dog-fouling (23%), and prioritised both over either street and road signs (-24%), or street lighting (-13%).

We asked a series of open-ended optional questions about how various aspects of the town could be improved.

200 people (56%) answered a question about the river. People wanted it used as a leisure asset for the town, with better places to sit and walk by it (78 mentions). They also wanted it kept clear and clean (64 mentions).

There was also support for planting the riverside in a more natural way (24 mentions) and as a haven for wildlife (22). Other ideas were extending the Riverside Walk eastwards (22) and generating power from it (21).

Fewer people (40%) answered a question about improvements to Wyke Champflower and Redlych. The most common suggestions were:

  • ·           Speed restrictions (31 mentions);
  • ·           Better footpaths, particularly connecting paths to Bruton itself (19);
  • ·           More housing and shops (16).

42% answered a question about the outskirts of the town. Leading suggestions were:

  • ·           Improving the welcome to Bruton signs (26 mentions);
  • ·           More transport-related warning signs (speed or HGV or both), (23);
  • ·           Better walking and cycling links, usually to the town centre (19).

A question about improvements to the town centre was the most popular in this section (answered by 60% of people). There was a very wide range of suggestions, making analysis harder than with some of the other questions. The leading suggestions were:

  • ·           Wider pavements (37 mentions);
  • ·           20 mph limit / need to control speed (28);
  • ·           Cleanliness and tidiness (26);
  • ·           More parking (26), though with very few suggestions about how this might be possible;
  • ·           More local shops, particularly those offering day-to-day services to residents (26).

54% answered a question about the town’s green spaces:

  • · Planting, wildlife and trees were mentioned 37 times, with a slight majority prefering flowers and well-kept grass, whilst others wanted a wilder more natural look;
  •  ‘Clean/litter/dog-poo’ (37 mentions), often more tidying and/or more bins;
  • · Leave them as they are (36);
  • Investment in maintenance (23).

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[1] A ‘majority’ in this survey is the difference between the number of people expressing a view one way and the number expressing a view the other, as a percentage of the total number who expressed an opinion (positive, negative or neutral).