One of the dangers of getting involved in politics is the belief in your opinions.
It’s sometimes far too easy to assume you know what people think, feel and care about. To try and gauge opinion it’s really important to talk to as many people as possible and garner views and ideas from across the community. To this end some weeks ago we started an online survey asking people their views on a few key topics. The results are revealing and surprising in equal measure.
To start with we posed the question on how to deal with the deficit. Surprisingly there was very little appetite for tax rises and a good degree of support for shrinking the state. This certainly echoes what people say on the doorstep who feel the burden of taxation is already too high and do question areas of national and local expenditure.
In terms of local issues the usual issues of traffic congestion, parking and litter ranked highly but also a number of respondents complained about cat fouling in their gardens. While I am sure we can accept the coming bypass will have a significant impact on traffic congestion, a period of much needed free parking can deliver flexibility for shoppers, I am less sure how we can combat the growing menace of cat poo.
More disappointingly the view of district council services was distinctly mediocre across the board with only bin collections being seen as ‘above average’. Compared with other facilities provided such as planning, housing and the oft cited problematic leisure centre. Lots of ambitions were put forward around infrastructure and growth; interestingly many returns called for more housing and jobs which certainly goes away from the usual NIMBY approach to development we hear so much of.
The real positive message is that people do care about Grantham and are enthusiastic about its future. Despite the problems that towns like ours struggle with, it’s clear that there is a real desire to see things improve. While a small section of armchair commentators continue to run the area and anyone trying to do anything down, I am more positive than ever that our town will grow, thrive and improve.
Thank you very much to all those who took the time to tell us what you think and if you haven’t yet done so please take a moment to share your views at www.votedavies.co.uk