In 2010/2011, we spoke with more than 800 people to find out what they thought. We met with church groups, in community centres, at schools and libraries, to ensure that the Leigh Neighbours Big Local project plan reflected your concerns and priorities for your neighbourhood.
This is what you told us you wanted to see happen over the course of the next ten years.
“Adults judge young people on the street, but they have nothing to do.”
You said you wanted to feel a greater sense of community spirit, particularly between people from different generations and ethnic backgrounds because “we don’t always mix”.
You’ve also got lots of ideas for events and activities that will bring people together, some of which we’ve already organised, including the Big Jubilee Lunch events, local history events with Leigh Library, and the Big Lunch 2013.
Education, Training & Employment
“A place where I can volunteer my skills or learn new ones.”
You want to see more opportunities for people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. You want young people to have the best possible start in life and older people to have the chance to retrain. You want more and better paid employment opportunities as well as access to local and affordable training.
“Free activities for us so we don’t get bored and do anything bad.”
You identified a range of resources and facilities, from outdoor play areas to a multi-use community centre. So far we’ve funded a variety of local projects to the tune of £5,000, including alley greening, improvements to a community garden, hanging baskets, an education programme and a crafts group.
“I want to feel that crime is under control and there’s a more visible police presence.”
You told us your concerns relating to community safety, especially around anti-social behaviour and drug dealing. You want to see more police foot patrols, protective fencing and security lights. These are all part of our future strategy.
“We want local residents to respect the area.”
The impact of environmental crime, ie. dog-fouling, fly-tipping, vandalism and graffiti, is felt keenly by local people, as is the lack of green space and areas for children to play safely. You said you want to live in an area which is cleaned regularly as well as respected by residents. You want enforcement action taken against people who don’t respect the area and you want to make a difference by getting involved in clean-up campaigns, greening activities and planting schemes. You also want to see aesthetic improvements to derelict retail units and houses.
“Leigh has no sexual health service that’s easily accessible.”
You told us of your concerns about healthy eating and getting your ‘5-a-day’ so the availability of locally-grown, affordable fresh produce is a priority for you. You said you want to see more counselling and parenting resources. And because of the significant impact of alcohol addiction, smoking, obesity and drug abuse on the health of local residents, you want to see more done to address these issues.
Traffic & Transport
“Reduce speed and create more 20 mph zones.”
Your vision is to create an area that is a safer place for people who aren’t in a car – for pedestrians, cyclists, children and the elderly. Your suggestions relate to reducing traffic speed, parking, the condition of road surfaces, cycle-friendly schemes such as cycle lanes, and the need for more Pelican or Zebra crossings, especially close to schools.
“Somewhere for 14 – 18 year olds to go and socialise.”
You gave us a long list of things you’d like to see provided in the area: play areas, places for teens to socialise, sports pitches, skate parks, Summer Clubs, sports activities, an art club, basketball facilities and more. There is a significant overlap here with many suggestions made under the ‘Crime & Community Safety’ theme – especially around ‘young people hanging about’ which could be addressed by improved leisure resources. Your vision isn’t about reproducing the facilities available at Leigh Sports Village, but about having a range of resources within easy reach of the area, which help people stay physically and emotionally healthy.
“Better control of housing conditions and enforced upkeep of housing.”
You have expressed many concerns related to housing. There is widespread agreement that issues around private let properties – both relating to physical condition and types of tenants – need to be addressed if the area is to improve and if the value of property is to match that in surrounding areas of the borough. The vision local people have is of an area where all property is in a good state of repair; where the local authority adopts a timely and proactive role in addressing community concerns; and where people aspire to live.