The results are now in from Totnes Town Council’s recent ‘community conversation’ survey. Environmental issues, the town’s appearance and supporting vulnerable local people were deemed the most important issues from 420 residents and business owners who completed the survey, And 54 per cent agreed an increase of five to 10 per cent was acceptable to the town council’s precept to maintain services.
A town council spokesperson said: “These valuable insights will serve as a compass guiding the town council over the next four years, ensuring the community’s aspirations are reflected in budget allocations and strategic planning. With budgets tighter than ever, tough decisions will have to be made about what can and can’t be be supported with council funds.”
Totnes Mayor Emily Price added: “Once again, I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to share their views. This really will help us to set the right priorities for the town to help it thrive. Councillors are meeting over the next couple of months to analyse the results and look at what projects and services we’re committed to continuing or have a statutory obligation to carry out and the implication on our budgets. We’ll be carefully considering budget implications of everything we do and making changes accordingly to deliver what local people want. The town has spoken and increases of five to 10 per cent in the precept got the highest vote, so we’ll work with that as our guide.”
Twenty-five per cent of respondents, given options of importance, said environment and appearance, including town cleaning, climate change measures and Christmas lights; 20 per cent opted for supporting vulnerable local people with staff time and grants; and 19 per cent for wellbeing, including provision of open spaces and river access.
Fifteen per cent said the town should support town maintenance, including gardening and open spaces; 15 per cent said grant funding direct to local groups, including Totnes Caring and Bob the Bus; and 11 per cent opted for the council’s sustainability officer, who works around green travel and biodiversity projects in the community. Other options included developing the Civic Hall to attract more events and supporting Totnes Museum.