Monday, 23 March 2009

Locals like Brighton - but feel disempowered, says survey

Green councillors have called on the council to devolve cash to communities across the city after an Audit Commission supervised survey found city residents like living here - but want to get more involved in local decision-making.

The 'Place Survey' found that though 86 per cent of city residents are generally happy with the area, a growing number (39 per cent) wanted to be directly involved in making the decisions that affect them.

I think the council should listen - and allow local communities to determine neighbourhood spending priorities for themselves.

Community cash back is used by councils across the country - in Lewisham (South London) each ward gets £100,000 annually, for example.

Here in Queen's Park the excellent Tarner and Eastern Road partnerships were doing exactly the same thing - spending cash on local projects, from buying computers for community use to employing a domestic violence outreach worker. The decisions on which projects to support were taken by the partnerships themselves, with each residents' association or local group getting a vote.

That's local democracy in action, surely?

But this council (of course) isn't always much of a fan of democracy in action - and slashed funding to the partnerships back in February.

Perhaps this survey will help refocus their minds on what residents actually want when they're setting next year's budget.


  1. I wish it was £100,000, but it's actually £10,000 per ward in Lewisham.

  2. Oops - well obv 100K would be better. I remembered the 100K figure from a recent article in the LGA first m,agazine. I must have remembered wrong - sorry!