Residents say South Glos is becoming a worse place to live

Almost half of survey respondents say South Gloucestershire became a worse place to live over the past two years. Just three per cent of people said the district had become a better place to live, as new figures show a stark decline in satisfaction with local services and living standards.

Two thirds of people responding to a recent budget consultation from South Gloucestershire Council said they were satisfied with the local area, down from over three quarters two years ago, and 85 per cent a decade ago. Over 1,800 responded to the consultation on the budget.

Councillor Claire Young, the Liberal Democrat council leader, said the grim figures were due to a national trend that the public believe the “world as a whole is going downhill”. During a cabinet meeting on Monday, February 5, she was asked why residents’ satisfaction is declining.

Conservative Councillor Rachael Hunt said: “A number of indicators show a downward trend compared with last year’s results, for example the council’s net satisfaction score is down by more than five percentage points on last year. The proportion of residents who say they are satisfied with how the council runs things is down almost 10 per cent on last year.”

The Liberal Democrats have been in power in South Gloucestershire since May last year, in a coalition with Labour. They took over from the Conservatives, who had run the council since 2007. Figures in the consultation report show a steep decline in satisfaction since at least 2013.

Cllr Young said: “I think that reflects a national trend. I think there is a general public perception that the world as a whole is going downhill. I think this fits into that national trend.”

Asked why South Gloucestershire has become a worse place to live, survey respondents most often mentioned the “worsening condition of the roads”, followed by “too much housing without adequate infrastructure”. Others mentioned changes to the high street in Thornbury, and a lack of maintenance of public areas and footpaths.

By Alex Seabrook, Local Democracy Reporter