The results of East Lothian Council’s 2019 Residents Survey highlight that the vast majority of people locally believe the county is a very good or good place to live.

A sample of almost 1,700 people from across East Lothian were asked about a variety of topics including their perceptions of neighbourhood and quality of life, community safety, health and wellbeing, perceptions of the council and public services and local priorities.

The findings include:

• 98% felt East Lothian was a ‘very good’ or ‘fairly good place to live – very similar results to the last survey in 2017
• 89% felt they belonged to their neighbourhood, with an increase from 38% to 54% in people who said they ‘very strongly’ feel they belong to their neighbourhood
• When excluding those who answered ‘don’t know’, 84% agreed that the council does the best it can with the money available (83% in 2017)
• When excluding those who answered ‘don’t know’, 80% agreed that the council provides high quality services (75% in 2017)
• Questions about community safety suggest there has been a decrease in fear of crime and an increase in people feeling safe in their neighbourhood.

When asked for views on what needs improved most in their area, the priorities of respondents were road and pavement repairs, shopping facilities, jobs for local people, traffic congestion, health services and decent affordable housing.

When asked how the council might do things differently to address the key challenges it faces, the vast majority were in agreement with the options: focus on prevention and early intervention (92%), focus resources on areas of East Lothian where the need is greatest (82%), deliver services in new ways, perhaps with community involvement (74%), identify services which we should stop providing (59%), reduce and manage the growing demand for some services (58%).

The survey data has been weighted to ensure it is representative of the East Lothian population on the basis of ward, age and gender.

Council Leader Willie Innes said:

“The results from this year’s survey highlight very high levels of satisfaction with living in East Lothian, while it is very encouraging that the majority of respondents believe the council is providing high quality services designed around the needs of those who use them.

“The results provide us with useful intelligence on areas requiring focus, for example enabling people to better influence decisions and priorities for service improvement.

“This supports the ongoing implementation of the 2017-22 Council Plan, which has a clear focus on reducing inequalities within communities and creating a more prosperous, safe and sustainable East Lothian.

“That’s why we’re investing in new and improved council housing and local infrastructure – which people have told us are among priorities for their area.

“Our £300m capital investment programme includes £37.5 million of investment over five years in the county’s roads while, separately, we’re investing £170 million over five years in council housing.

“As one of Scotland’s fastest growing areas, we have ambitious plans to link the delivery of new affordable homes with future opportunities for jobs, retail and leisure, while facilitating new and expanded schools, community, healthcare, recreational facilities and transport infrastructure.

“Opportunities such as the creation of an exemplar new community on the former Blindwells site, development of the former Cockenzie Power Station site, coupled with development around Queen Margaret University - supported by the City Deal - can be a catalyst for job creation and prosperity.”

Chief Executive Angela Leitch said:

“Well done to teams across the council that have contributed to the high levels of satisfaction across our communities. The majority of our employees live in East Lothian and have a great understanding of the important role they play in supporting the wellbeing of our residents.”

Published: Tuesday, 27th August 2019