Survey calls for different shops in Bourne

Shop local feature.  North Street, Bourne.'Photo: MSMP190413-022ow ENGEMN00120130419183104
Shop local feature. North Street, Bourne.'Photo: MSMP190413-022ow ENGEMN00120130419183104

Shopping in Bourne got the thumbs down from residents who said stores lacked variety and there were too few.

But almost half of those who responded to a Bourne Town Council survey said the town had good community spirit and plenty of green spaces as well as excellent housing.

Residents also said there were not enough jobs, play areas for children or facilities for youth, in the Neighbourhood Plan survey aimed at allowing people to influence the planning and development of the areas in which they live and work.

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

He said the views were no surprise as they concurred with what the town council knew and plan to improve.

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 of retail outlets.

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

Nevertheless Mr Sismey said: “The council will now take this forward by inviting the people who said they would be happy to be further involved, to see if they will become part of making some these things happen.”