Litter Is Top New Worry For Merton's Residents

You're as worried about litter as you are about crime

Merton residents are now as concerned about litter as they are about crime, according to the council's annual survey of residents.

The 2013, which saw more than 1,000 residents questioned at home in the street, saw 30% of those asked give their top concern at 'litter/dirt in street' - the same number reporting crime as their top concern.

Just last week, Merton Council launched a new anti-litter code, warning that penalties would be more toughly enforced.

The survey did show that more residents (79%) since 2011 agree that Merton Council is doing a "good job" - a significantly higher score than the average for all London councils.

And more than ever before (56%) think that Merton offers 'good value for money'. Also on the increase is the number of people (74%) who think the council is making the area a better place to live.

Merton's libraries continue to enjoy success with greater satisfaction amongst residents in Merton than in the rest of the capital and 81% of library users rating the service as good to excellent – another score that was better than ever. More people than ever before also rate the leisure and sports facilities as good to excellent. Satisfaction with street lighting is also at an all-time high.

Crime remains a top concern but has been falling year on year since 2008 and has fallen again this year. Satisfaction with policing has gone up significantly in the borough and compares very favourably with the rest of London.

Commenting on the survey, the Conservative opposition highlighted their concerns about the increasing concerns about street cleanng and rubbish collection. They pointed out the following figures from the survey:

·         A 6% increase in levels of concern about litter/dirt in the streets compared to 2012. For the first time litter/dirt in the streets is top of the list of residents’ concerns. Levels of concern are also now significantly higher than the London average. 

·         A 3% fall in satisfaction with the council’s street cleaning service compared to 2012, with only 54% rating it Good this year. This is now below the London average.

·         A 5% decrease in overall satisfaction with Merton’s recycling facilities when compared with 2012. Satisfaction among users of the borough’s recycling facilities has also fallen significantly this year (by 5%). Again, this is now below the London average.

·         Only 50% of residents are satisfied with the way the council deals with dog fouling.

Councillor Oonagh Moulton, Leader of Merton Conservative Group, said: "Labour is failing in its basic duty to keep our streets clean and tidy. Their decisions to slash the street cleaning budget, close Weir Road, scrap the free garden waste service and remove the road sweeping on the same day as rubbish collections have all resulted in this damning verdict from Merton’s residents."

Council leader Stephen Alambritis said: "The annual residents' survey is important to us because it's one way for us to hear directly from residents what they think of us and the services we run. Their responses help guide us in our decision making and the work we do to make Merton the best it can be for the people who live and work here.

"Merton residents are less worried about levels of council tax than at any time since the annual residents' survey began. And the highest number ever say we give them value for money for their council tax. This shows that residents back our council tax freeze.

"We are never complacent and will always work to improve what we do. In these difficult economic times, we have reviewed how we deliver our services and provide our council tax payers value for money. We know the difference freezing council tax, keeping our libraries and leisure facilities open and working with the police to keep this borough safe, can make to residents' quality of life."

And in response to the Conservative comments on litter, he added: "When the Conservatives were last in charge they hiked up council tax by almost £100 and they were judged the dirtiest borough in the country. This survey proves our streets are now cleaner under Labour and that residents overwhelmingly back our policy of freezing council tax for four years."

·  Meanwhile, Liberal Democrats in the Dundonald Ward have launched their own "Big Spring Clean" for people to report problem areas which they will take up with the council. You can report issues with litter and dirt to them on this link.

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January 16, 2014