A sense of the place
In October last year, we launched a place survey – a survey of residents to find out what you think of your local area and council services.
The place survey:
- was a survey by post
- was sent to specific addresses across the borough
- had more than 1,700 responses; enough to be considered representative of the borough as a whole.
It was 10 years since we had done a comprehensive survey like this and we stuck to mainly the same questions so we could show how far we had come, or fallen back, in the last 10 years.
This is what you said.
We’ve done well
People are happier with our leisure facilities and parks and open spaces than they were in 2008.
Libraries, The Curve, green gyms, events like the bonfire night and bin collections also scored high for satisfaction levels.
And a large majority of people feel Slough residents of different backgrounds get on well together and again the majority are satisfied with their area as a place to live. Most people like their home as well.
Slough residents appear to be a happy bunch as the happiness rating from questions asked puts Slough people happier, more satisfied with their lives and feeling like what they do matters more than the national average.
Not so good
Road and pavement repairs and parking enforcement were the main areas where people were more dissatisfied than 10 years ago.
A large minority were also dissatisfied with our customer service centre and facilities for cycling.
And Slough residents, though happier than the national average, also worry more than the national average.
- If you want to contact us, most people use the phone though online comes in closer than 10 years ago.
- You like it when we post relevant information through your door – but you also use our website and local newspapers to get information on what we are up to.
- Younger people like to talk to us on social media or online.
- Abandoned cars are far less of an issue than they were in 2008.
- Three-quarters of people feel safe in their local area during the day.
- Only a third feel safe after dark.
- Concerns about drug dealing are higher than they were a decade ago.
- Affordable housing is most important to you as are health services, levels of crime and clean streets.
- The things you feel most need improving are traffic congestion, levels of crime and road and pavement repairs.
Now, service leads across the council are looking at the results for their departments and seeing if there are suitable projects or work that would improve areas people are most concerned about or most unhappy with.
The majority of people said they like to receive information about what the council is up to through their door, so a decision was made to fund the council’s magazine – Citizen – to be delivered to people’s door four times a year, as well as being available online.
Easier to contact
To take more control over our customer services, we are taking the customer service centre, council tax, benefits and business rates back in house and, in 2020, will be moving the face-to-face centre from Landmark Place, across the road to Cornwall House.
We will also be providing hubs in local areas – where council services can be closer to you, the people we serve.
And there is a major project to upgrade and redevelop the council’s website, making it easier to find the information you want and easier to make payments, report issues and get feedback 24 hours a day, all year round.
We have already started moving teams into our new HQ at 25 Windsor Road, in the town centre and, to mark Slough’s history, have named it Observatory House – in honour of William and Caroline Herschel, brother and sister astronomers whose original Observatory House, which stood on the same site in the late 18th century housed the largest telescope of its kind in the world at the time.
Not only does the move to the new HQ bring our staff into the town centre, but with the public transport links and nearby parking, make them more accessible for residents.
Our plans to upgrade the roads to prevent congestion are ongoing. We have recently started work in Langley to remove the Harrow Market roundabout and replace it with a traffic light junction with pedestrian crossings and no speed bumps to help traffic flow better in that area.
And we have invested in sustainable transport with the new rapid bus scheme along the A4 Bath Road from the train station, supported by businesses along the A4 corridor. This helps deliver faster and more reliable transport along the A4 for commuters, office workers and residents; meaning fewer people driving on the roads at peak time.
To assist the free flow, in particular for buses, we have installed bus lane cameras along main routes, increased parking restrictions and introduced residents’ parking where requested. We have stepped up investment for repairing the roads and dealing with potholes.
More to come
We are also planning specific projects for some of your biggest concerns and more information on these will be in future Citizens.
And in October 2020 we hope to survey people again - to see if any of our work has improved matters for you.