Street Cleaning And Litter Remain Top Merton Concerns

Residents' survey does show that most people like living in the borough

Street cleaning and litter remain top of local concerns in the latest residents’ survey carried out by Merton Borough Council.

Three years after Merton Council last conducted a survey, the 2017 Residents’ Survey showed street cleaning and litter remain the top concerns for residents who say they are dissatisfied with the council.

While 67% of those asked were satisfied with the way Merton Council runs things, 33% of those dissatisfied mentioned street cleaning and litter as their main issues, while 22% of dissatisfied responses mentioned poor refuse collection/recycling.

In particular, only 43% of residents of Wimbledon’s Dundonald area said street cleaning was “good or very good”, and it was 51% for the whole of Wimbledon.

But the survey also showed that more than 90% of Merton residents were satisfied with the local area as a place to live, which is significantly better than the national figure (80%). Most residents (96%) feel safe during the day and after dark (85%).

Nearly two thirds of residents also said the council provides value for money (65%), above the national figure of 47%. And significantly more residents said they were satisfied with the leisure and sport facilities compared with when the council asked residents in 2014.

But repair of roads and parking also had lower satisfaction levels than other services. In Dundonald, only 39% of residents were happy with the repair of roads and pavements.

When asked how much of a problem litter was in their local area, 63% of residents across the borough said they did not think it was a problem, but 37% said it was a fairly big or very big problem.

Councillor James Holmes, Deputy Leader of Merton Conservative Group, said: “We welcome the return of the Annual Residents’ Survey as it is vital that the council understands the views of residents right across our borough.

“It is great to see that the vast majority of residents are satisfied with Merton as a place to live and that, following recent terror attacks in London, people from different ethnic backgrounds continue to get on well together in our borough. This is testament to the hard work and commitment of council staff, key partners and Merton’s many voluntary and community groups.

“However, residents clearly still have serious concerns about the state of local streets and public spaces. Satisfaction rates with street cleaning, refuse collection, recycling facilities and the way the council deals with litter have all continued to fall in the last 3 years.

“Merton Labour are failing in their duty to keep our streets clean and tidy. Half of all residents in Wimbledon town centre now see rubbish and litter as a big problem. This is hardly surprising when Labour have axed the weekly street clean and made massive cuts to the number of street cleaners. Under their new waste contract, missed rubbish collections have risen dramatically.”

Merton Council cabinet member for finance Councillor Mark Allison said: “Getting record levels of approval from residents is very pleasing, but as local people ourselves what’s most satisfying is seeing how much pride there is in our community. Everyone knows councils’ finances are tight because the funding we get from the government has been cut, but people can see Merton is careful with their money.

“But this survey also helps us to see where we need to improve, and after decades of black bags splitting and leaving litter we agree with residents that it’s time to act. Wheelie bins are not everyone’s cup of tea, but we have to listen to what people say, and they will reduce litter, could contribute to nearly £2 million savings per year and are the businesslike approach.

“Residents also need to know that, although we can’t be on every corner, we will have staff on the street, taking a zero tolerance approach to those who litter or fly tip, because we want families to be proud of where they live.”

July 4, 2017

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