Residents want more choice of shops in Bourne

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Residents in Bourne want more shops and a wider range of stores.

They also want more job opportunities, play areas for children and suitable facilities for youth.

Although almost half of those who were asked said the town had good community spirit and plenty of green spaces, as well as excellent housing.

The views were expressed in a Neighbourhood Plan Survey aimed at allowing residents to influence the planning and development of the areas in which they live, and is part of the Government’s Localism Act 2011.

Deputy town clerk Ian Sismey said the aim of the survey was to “empower the local community by giving the people a say”.

Town councillor and former mayor Trevor Holmes said: “The aim was to encourage people to tell us how they wanted their neighbourhoods developed.”

He said it was up to the residents to say what aspects of the town they wanted improved or changed.

“The council would effectively facilitate and collate the information and take it forward by liaising with the necessary organisations,” he said.

Mr Sismey and Coun Holmes said the views were nor a complete surprise as they concurred with what the town council was aware of and had wanted improved.

Residents were asked: What three things would you improve in the Parish?

To which 16 per cent listed variety and number of shops, 9.8 per cent said youngsters play areas, 10.4 per cent mentioned traffic, 7.4 per cent picked better facilities for youth and 7.4 per cent cited lack of jobs.

Asked what one single thing they would want to improve, 22.4 per cent said more shops and a better range.

For 16.4 per cent of the respondents a bypass, to ease traffic in the town centre was key and 9 per cent felt the town lacked facilities for teenagers. Concern about lack of work was high on people’s mind as 44 per cent said “job opportunities were poor” with 11.8 per cent saying it was “totally inadequate”.

Housing was classed excellent by 39.8 per cent of those asked with 33.8% also saying that social housing in the area was also “excellent”.

Green spaces and the environment was rated good by 45.6 per cent.

Mr Sismey said 42.6 per cent of respondents saying that community spirit is “quite strong” was an excellent sign.

He said: “It is a market town and I think people take a lot of strength from it. Community spirit was one of the things that was most positive.

“But the town is expanding, and as the town grows the challenge will be to ensure the momentum continues and the town remains a community friendly place.”

The survey also revealed that 27 per cent of respondents were retired.

And as only 12.3 per cent of those questioned work in the parish, it has led to the conclusion that “the community has little commercial or industrial activity” apart from a few retail outlets.

Just 1.3 per cent of the town’s approximately 19,000 population responded to the survey.

Coun Holmes said there was no quick answer and taking the message forward was a “fairly long process”.

He said: “We have had a number of expressions of interest to help. The next process is to bring them on board and take it forward. As part of the process we will continue to consult residents.

“The speed with which we achieve anything depends on the extent of voluntary man hours we can get and how fast other organisations act.”