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Results of Sidmouth Lock Down questionnaire published

By The Editor

10th May 2020 | Local News

An online questionnaire put together by the Vision Group for Sidmouth and the town council's environment committee has shown how people have not only managed during lock down, but also how we all might be able to manage – and perhaps manage better – once lock down is eventually over.

Over 180 people, both residents and businesses, responded to the set of questions over the course of a week at beginning of May.

They were asked about how they feel about traffic and transport, shopping and delivery services, working from home and broadband during the current coronavirus shutdown – and how Sidmouth might recover. The results are quite revealing.

Most Sidmouthians are clearly appreciating there being less traffic – with over 80% saying they "like less traffic". And of those who answered, well over half said they had always walked and/or cycled, but a further quarter said they had been doing so more during lock down and almost the same number said they'd be doing more walking and cycling once the lock down is over.

When it comes to questions around retail, most people are managing to do their own shopping, but about a quarter are getting deliveries from small local shops and there's been quite a lot of frustration over not being able to shop online.

As for the service that the smaller shops and smaller supermarkets have been offering, eighty percent of respondents have been very impressed with local services.

Asking people if they would make use of a newly formed local delivery service if it continued after lock down, about half said definitely they would, whereas the other half said they would not be able to make use of any such service.

Of the shopkeepers and producers who responded, most have had to cease trading. Of those who were able to continue, there had been enough interest in their services, although considerable changes had to be made.

For those businesses which had started offering delivery, half said they would not consider offering the same sort of delivery after lock down – but the other half did express either keen or some interest.

Both individuals and businesses have appreciated access to the internet over the last weeks. Apart from having a lot of social meetings, it's clear that Sid Valley residents have been using Zoom and Skype a great deal for work – and that generally these type of meetings have gone well – although under the strain, broadband has been unreliable.

Finally, in all the different areas, there has been a wealth of ideas as to how Sidmouth might bounce back from lock down.

These have included:

-Several proposals for reducing traffic in the town, including traffic-free days and

specific delivery-times;

-Promoting more cycling and walking;

-Making a local delivery service available to shopkeepers and for shoppers;

-Encouraging people to 'shop local';

-Helping social distancing through wider pavements and cycle paths;

-More pedestrianisation and outdoor cafés;

-More mini-festivals, shopping events and 'boutique' events;

-Supporting more local food production and distribution;

-More tourist, heritage and wildlife trails;

-More promotion of the Sid Valley through new apps and on-line platforms;

-Improving high-speed broadband;

-And some sort of 'thank you' celebration once it's all over!

A spokesperson for VGS said: "These will all be published in full – and worked through, as there are clearly several proposals which could be taken forward for proper consideration."

The full details of the results are available on the VGS website.

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