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New councillor tests local views with online survey

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: January 10, 2013

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A NEW councillor in Penzance is gauging the views of local people with the launch of an online survey.

Christopher Drew, who was voted in last month and has yet to take part in his first council meeting, thought up the interactive questionnaire to help him get to grips with the issues facing people in the town.

The survey has been live for around a week and so far the cost of housing is standing out as a major issue.

"I wanted to know what people thought of the town and what the council should be doing for them," said Mr Drew, 18, who was co-opted onto the council to represent the Promenade ward.

"It is a way to start to engage with people. If it is a model that works, then I would like to use it on a regular basis and it could help out other councillors as well."

Questions posed in the anonymous online survey look at a variety of issues from the cleanliness of the streets to employment. It also asks if the person carrying out the questionnaire voted in the last local elections and if they would do so in May this year.

"After a few days I had already received around 50 responses," said the new councillor, who took over the role from Margaret Freeman.

"So far it seems overall to be a pretty gloomy view of Penzance as it is at the moment.

"But a very positive thing was that most people felt there was a strong sense of community."

Despite the survey being online, Mr Drew said he had received a number of responses from older people but he conceded that logging on to the internet may not be an easy option for everyone.

"It won't work for everyone but it was quick and relatively straightforward," he said.

"In the future I could look at maybe having a meeting with people and, if I can get the resources, a paper survey."

The online survey will be open for another week before Mr Drew collates the findings in time to feed them back to fellow members at the first town council meeting of the year on January 28.

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  • josdave  |  January 10 2013, 9:07AM

    That's certainly a novelty and one that Cornwall Council would be wise to adopt - getting the views of the people who pay their wages. I wish this young man all the luck he's going to need to overturn decades of indifference by councillore towards the population they supposedly represent.

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