Following the submission of the Redditch Towns Fund bid at the end of January 2021 the local Redditch Conservative Association carried out its own snap approval poll to determine the level of support across the Borough for the regeneration of Redditch Town Centre.
This snap poll was after previous consultation opportunities and carried out as the news broke about the submission of the Town Improvement Plan to the Government – so it was at a time we think attention to the matter was at its highest.
Previous consultation opportunities included the official public consultation as part of the submission of the bid to government for the funds. The details of the consultation can be found here. There was also two in-person events at Town Hall before the pandemic, alongside the government’s own marketing machinery that was pushing a website where people could share their ideas.
The survey was completed by 413 people in just over a week (9 days) following local media reporting about the submission. The link to the survey was shared to a number of groups, including the heritage and history-focused group ‘Redditch Past and Present’ as well as local protest groups. To ensure the reach was as wide as possible Redditch Conservatives members funded advertising on Facebook to encourage hard-to-reach groups such as young people to have their say.
The results are being processed by local volunteers, and will take some time to compile into a report for publication. However, one early headline figure is the significantly large margin of support for regeneration.
Respondents were asked if they thought the regeneration of Redditch Town Centre is a good idea or a bad idea, with 78% expressing approval and 22% disapproving.
Matt Dormer, Leader of the local Conservatives, said:
“We have been saying for two years that we are listening to the public through this process. There have now been 3 consultations, including 1 in-person session before lockdown and 2 online. We can now add this 4th consultation process, which took place after the bid was submitted.”
Mike Rouse, Deputy Leader of the local Conservatives, added:
“It’s great to see such strong support for regeneration of the town centre. As part of the team going through the data I am assured this survey was completed by a very wide range of people both young and old, and we are already seeing some interesting results when you dig into the demographic breakdowns.”
More details on the demographic splits will be released in due course along with answers to a question regarding the intention within the bid to move the library and job centre into the Town Hall and remove the building currently sat in front of the Kingfisher Centre.
“We all know that building is now past its best. With its leaky roof and dark alleyways it’s time to push forwards with the regeneration process, which will also enable more investment in arts, culture and heritage at the same time.
The above graphic shows 66% supported the idea of replacing the library building, 25.7% thought it was a bad idea and 8.3% were indifferent. This puts the overall level of support between 66%-74.3% based on 374 responses over just 9 days. Only 9.44% declined to answer the question.