Halvergate Marshes

In the section covering ‘General Environment’ at the beginning of this report it was shown that ‘Access to key services (e.g. schools, doctors, shops, police & emergency services, internet)’ was rated last of the ten Halvergate & Tunstall lifestyle attributes listed. Clearly, one of the main downsides to living in a small, relatively isolated rural community – although as we have also seen, there are major compensations.

Village shop

While public services in education, health and emergency sectors are perhaps in the forefront of people’s mind (and are dealt with in detail below), ‘shops’ was included in the overall ‘key services’ category.

In a second question, ‘A village shop’ was one of the things people were asked specifically to rate on the ‘Very Important’ to ‘Not at all Important’ scale (this element again having been raised at the Open Day). As reference to Table 2 shows, while coming only sixth out of nine on the basis of ‘strength of feeling’, there were nevertheless 63% of responses rating ‘A village shop’ as Very Important or Important (with 27% Neutral).

This topic was further explored in the questionnaire by asking those who did rate having a shop as important, how they would use it. Replies showed clearly this would be on an occasional basis for food and household stores ‘top ups’ or just ‘odd bits’.

Not surprisingly, there is probably a clash here between what residents might like as a convenience and what is economically viable for a shopkeeper. However, perhaps as an aside to what here is otherwise an impartial, objective report on research findings, it may be worth noting that a number of villages have solved this problem by establishing successful community-based ventures.

Policing

The relatively high number of households not giving an answer in this section and the high proportion of Neutral opinion when they did perhaps suggests a low level of exposure to or experience of policing in the Parish rather than a disregard for its importance. The figures returned were:

 

 

In the context of what broadly is not a positive view of policing, 90% answered ‘Yes’ to the question, “Would (the expansion of) a Neighbourhood Watch scheme give you a sense of greater security?”

In line with the encouraging numbers saying they would volunteer to help with community activities, etc., 25 people said here they would be prepared to take an active part in Neighbourhood Watch.

Health and Care

As with ‘Policing’, in the Health and Care section quite a high number of Neutral answers were given indicating no strong feeling either way, plus a high proportion giving no answer at all, suggesting people had relatively little experience to draw on. (Just to repeat the point made in the introductory ‘Database and the Report’ section, all ‘No Answers’ have been ignored from totals when recording figures – only ‘ticks in the boxes’ have been included.)

Despite lower response, the perceived performance of different service providers can still be judged on a comparative basis from the ratings shown in Table 10 below. In fact, there is a quite strong feeling that Doctors’ Surgeries are ‘Good’, as to a lesser extent are ‘Hospitals’. ‘Neighbour support’ and ‘Home Care’ are middling but the remaining two can be categorised as ‘Poor’.

Table 10 – ‘How well do you think Halvergate & Tunstall is served by Health and Care services?’

Education

Response on Education services was also relatively low (i.e. having an above average number of people not answering at all) and from boxes that were ticked a high proportion of Neutrals, thus again suggesting parish residents have no strong feelings and/or have relatively little direct experience in this area.

However, from the feedback that was provided (see Table 11 following) it is clear that Education provision in general is not regarded very highly, with all of the types of education getting a ‘Good’ rating from less than 50% of respondents – often considerably fewer than that.

Table 11 – ‘How well do you think we are served by Education provision?’

Issues arising from ‘SERVICES’

  1. A village shop would be regarded an asset and a convenience. Again, commercial realities dictate but community owned, social enterprise ventures have succeeded elsewhere and could be worth exploring.
  2. Enhancement of the Neighbourhood Watch scheme. Engage those volunteering involvement.
  3. More ‘local neighbour support’ may be encouraged by increasing the sense of ‘community’. Better child care provision may emanate from this also?
  4. Education is regarded poorly. What can be done from a parish level to affect this?

 

School Sign