Residents set out vision for Barking and Dagenham over the next two decades
- Credit: Archant
As the consultation focuses on what people would like to see in the borough in the future, a lot of answers focused on what people disliked and want to change.
“During the whole consultation there’s one thing I have stressed: if there’s something you don’t like, do tell us and let’s make the change together,” Cllr Saima Ashraf, deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for community leadership and engagement, said.
Cllr Ashraf introduced the results of the borough manifesto at a meeting on Monday last week attended by everyone from charity representatives to the chamber of commerce and the London Fire Brigade’s borough commander.
It will be their job, as part of the Barking & Dagenham Delivery Partnership, to help the council translate your hopes for the borough into a reality – and to hold them to account if they don’t achieve them.
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But what are our hopes for Barking and Dagenham?
The questionnaire was given to people all over the borough, from all sorts of backgrounds and age groups, and so the results “should be regarded as collective sentiments”, the documentation says.
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It also points out there is a “remarkable consistency of opinion” in the results, regardless of who was asked and, looking through the answers, it is certainly clear that residents feel particularly strongly about certain issues.
Unsurprisingly, flytipping, rubbish collection and tidiness are very important.
Responses included: “The borough is filthy [...] Flytipping should be the borough’s top concern”; “the streets around the borough are disgusting with litter being dumped on street corners”; ”Having lived in the borough all my life I am appalled at the rubbish everywhere.”
What is perhaps surprising, however, is that it’s not just adults which feel this way about it.
The council was particularly keen to find out what young people thought, and handed out paper questionnaires in the borough’s primary and secondary schools.
More than 600 students at secondary schools filled them in – and more than 500 said they wanted to see cleaner streets with less litter.
Almost 70 per cent (69 pc) of young people want to see less drug use and 73 pc were particularly concerned about feeling safe on the streets.
Youngsters were also asked if they saw themselves living in the borough in 20 years’ time – when the borough manifesto’s goals should be achieved.
The results are staggering: just nine pc said yes, while 52 pc said no.
However, Cllr Ashraf said she is taking a “glass half-full” approach.
“It shows ambition,” she said. “They have aspirations and want to go to university.”
Almost half (42pc) of young people said that “excellent teaching and opportunities to achieve” would encourage them to stay in the borough – the second most popular choice, after “good transport links”.
Tom Hook, director of strategy and performance, pointed out that the feedback shows that residents and the council have the same priorities.
“It’s quite pleasing that a lot of what’s in here is already in our sights,” he said.
These include this year’s Summer of Festivals, which could be seen as answering the call for more activities and events for families.
The forthcoming Youth Zone in Dagenham’s Parsloes Park will provide more things for teenagers to do in a safe environment and the plans to share policing resources with Redbridge and Havering may alleviate residents’ concerns about crime and a lack of visible policing.
There’s still time to get involved. Visit firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.