The Charlbury Town Survey was conducted in March/April 2016. Questionnaires were delivered to every home in Charlbury. Residents were asked to complete a household survey form (one per dwelling) and individual survey forms (one for every person aged 16 or over living at the address). Completed surveys were returned by 620 households and 1,039 individuals, which is well over 40% of the population aged 16 and over (based on 2011 census figures).
The response rate was well above average for a survey of this type, according to people who have been involved in similar polls of local opinion on local issues in other towns and villages. The information we have about who filled in the questionnaires suggests that the make-up of the sample was reasonably representative of the community in Charlbury, although, as with any survey, a degree of caution needs to be exercised in interpreting the results. We received slightly higher response rates from owner occupiers and older residents than people living in rented accommodation or at the younger end of the age range.
The survey form for households asked 41 questions under the headings: household, location, transport, home and housing needs. The form for individuals asked 80 questions about the person and their thoughts on the town, local businesses, employment opportunities, transport, housing, green spaces, community amenities and priorities for the future.
We would like to give a big thank you to the many people in Charlbury who put in the considerable time and effort required to complete the forms! Information was provided on an anonymous, confidential basis. Questions were asked and the answers processed in ways that mean individuals are not and cannot be identified.
Where to go for more information
Additional information on the finer points of the survey can be found by scrolling down to links located at the end of this text.
Immediately below is a summary of findings relevant to the formulation of the Neighbourhood Plan.
Summary of some key findings
The town survey found that the things people liked most about Charlbury were its location and its community. People said:
“Lots going on”
“Beautiful countryside accessible from our doorstep”
As for what could be improved, moving around Charlbury was the biggest issue, with parking the top concern. The next most common issues for improvements were facilities (mainly shops) and development. People said:
“More parking and protection of residents’ parking”
“More affordable housing for the sake of young residents”
“Bring back a butchers/greengrocers”
“Keep the buses going”
People said the top priorities for Charlbury were:
Traffic safety – There was strong support for slowing traffic and specifically for a 20mph limit within the town centre. There are a number of danger areas, those causing most concern being the Enstone crossroads and the Slade either side of the school. Over a third of people felt it was unsafe dropping children at school and there was strong support for a permanent crossing point on the Slade.
Parking – This is a significant problem for a third of residents, and the most popular suggestions for improvement were to increase parking at the station, introduce a controlled parking zone in town and provide more parking for visitors (in the town centre and at the edge of town).
Public transport – The survey did not ask detailed questions on public transport but it came out as a clear priority.
Housing – There was very strong support for more affordable housing and sheltered housing. The most common reason for people looking for a new home in Charlbury was to start a first home, followed by needing a bigger home and needing to downsize. Perhaps surprisingly, a third of those responding said they might be interested in downsizing within the next 10 years.
How will the survey results be reflected in the Neighbourhood Plan?
The Neighbourhood Plan could help address the priorities identified by the survey by:
- making sure new development is providing the sort of housing Charlbury needs – rather than large executive homes we need affordable housing, sheltered housing and properties suitable for starter homes and downsizing;
- supporting developments which try to address existing traffic danger areas and opposing those which would make them worse;
- identifying any suitable land for additional parking and ensuring new developments do not worsen pressure on parking within the town; and
- identifying the projects and services that Charlbury wants to benefit from any funding from property developers, e.g. projects to tackle traffic problems.
Links to further information about the survey
Please note that comments have been published unedited in the interests of transparency. While these results will be important evidence in preparing a Neighbourhood Plan and Community-Led Plan, individual comments expressed are the author’s own and may not be the views of the Charlbury Neighbourhood Forum.