Survey reveals over 7 in 10 residents satisfied with Harlow as a place to live

News / Sat 14th Oct 2023 at 06:38am

THE results of a major survey on how satisfied residents are with the town and Harlow Council’s work have been published. 

Over the summer the council employed independent market research specialists Yonder Data Solutions to find out residents’ views as part of its priority to improve council services.  

The company, which has carried out national polls for the Local Government Association (LGA), interviewed 751 residents by telephone. The final data has been weighted to be representative of Harlow in terms of age and gender in line with the 2021 Census. 

As well as satisfaction questions the survey asked residents about how they would like to receive information and what the council’s priorities should be. Key satisfaction questions were also compared with national data the LGA holds so the council can see how it is performing. 

The main survey findings were: 

  • 77% of Harlow residents are ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ satisfied with their local area as a place to live. Close to three-in-five are satisfied with the way that Harlow Council runs things (58%).
  • Sense of belonging to the local area is high, at 72%, with community cohesion also relatively strong (67%).
  • Residents typically get information from or about Harlow Council and the services it provides through leaflets (61%), Harlow Times (61%), the council’s website (60%) and word of mouth (58%)
  • While just under a quarter hear about the Council through emails and e-newsletters (23%), close to half say that this would be a preferred channel (47%). 
  • Communication preferences differ by age and gender – with printed information favoured by older residents and digital channels favoured by younger residents. 
  • The most important local issues are improving council services (96% feel this is important), securing investment into Harlow (94%) and restoring pride in Harlow (91%). 
  • Tackling crime and anti-social behaviour is viewed as the main priority for Harlow Council (49%), followed by providing a range of housing (41%). 
  • Providing activities and support for younger people (35%) and a regenerated town centre (33%) are also relatively important priorities. 
  • Harlow performance is generally comparable to the national average in terms of satisfaction, value for money, council responsiveness and trust. The main differences are seen in terms of resident safety, with Harlow residents significantly less likely to feel safe at night than the population nationally. 
  • Older Harlow residents are typically more positive towards the local area and the council than younger residents.

The full survey report can be read at https://www.harlow.gov.uk/your-council/have-your-say/residents-survey. The survey will be repeated every year.

Councillor Dan Swords, Leader of Harlow Council, has said that the survey is part of a new way of listening to residents and acting in their best interests. He said:

“One of our five priorities is to improve council services and that’s why we asked hundreds of residents for their views in this comprehensive survey. This is the first time for many years that this council has run a residents’ survey of this scale using the expertise of a market research company. I would like to thank residents who gave up their time in their busy lives to take part, their views will make a difference. We will listen to the findings, act on them, and make the improvements that we need to. 

“The results show just how proud our residents are of their town. We will rebuild trust and work hard to deliver our residents’ priorities. 

“Carrying out this survey with a market research company means we can compare our performance against other councils and while we still have many improvements to make, our performance overall stands up well. 

“Residents’ concerns about safety and placing tackling crime and antisocial behaviour as their top priority means that we will do more working with the police and other agencies to make residents feel safer in their town. The survey also tells us that providing a range of housing, providing activities and support for young people, and regenerating the town centre are also important to our residents. The council’s current five priorities, which we are working hard every day to deliver, also received high levels of support. 

“All the survey findings are being built into a new Corporate Plan for 2024 to 2028 which will set out how we will deliver this town’s priorities and support its needs. We will be carrying out further consultation soon on the new Corporate Plan so every resident and business who wants a say on our priorities and plans can have one.” 

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9 Comments for Survey reveals over 7 in 10 residents satisfied with Harlow as a place to live:

Bruce Downey
2023-10-14 09:08:05

Even though I missed the call to take part.. the views are roundabout how I would have answered.. Harlow is a lovely place, just needs some TLC, after years of neglect under Labour.

2023-10-14 12:39:55

Absolute rubbish, Harlow needs more ground work done on behaviour issues, thugs & druggies etc, as for the upkeep on hedges trees + that also need a great deal of attention. The safety issues of the town & cycle tracks are a big problem too & also need addressing. Sorry but this town is going down not up so those 7 out of 10 must live on cloud 9.

2023-10-14 14:47:08

I wonder how many of the people that took part in this survey have lived in Harlow for 50+ years? It is truly heartbreaking at what Harlow looks like today and also what Harlow has become.

Nogin the nog
2023-10-14 15:03:37

I agree that the hedges trees and cycle tracks have been neglected in harlow and the north end of the town centre is terrible but the drug tacking and crime that goes whith it is the same every where sad to say

2023-10-14 15:29:59

751 people who answered the phone out of 100,000. This town is a dump and in 20 years of living here it has only got worse. It will get worse in the future as we continue to elect politicians to solve problems they created and profit from.

2023-10-14 15:46:04

751 ? That's hardly an extensive survey and only targeted those prepared to do a phone survey. How were those people targeted. Even with a completely skewed worthless survey, satisfaction is low on the stuff that actually matters. Just keep lying to yourselves that you're doing a great job, and gaslighting the rest of us who see what is really going on around us. Shameful

Kim Oconnor
2023-10-14 18:29:31

You couldn't make it up. All set to make them look good. But I think the people see through it.

2023-10-14 22:58:55

I moved to harlow when I was 9 years old I'm now 80 and harlow has gone to pot, we had many youth clubs to go to and Saturday cinema also. Of course we played outside a lot and did have fights, but no one got badly hurt. We made our own entertainment. And had respect for others . Also when I got married only had to wait 4 months for a flat. Not like today, There was Harlow council, and Harlow District Council. Like Cp, wish they had phoned me.

2023-10-15 07:07:11

I live in Roydon and was phoned to take part in the survey on Harlow. What does that say about the company conducting the survey? Not very accurate I would suggest.