Survey reveals people would not pay for any new theatre

    Tunbridge Wells Theatre Proposal

    The people of Tunbridge Wells believe it’s a good place to live. They feel safe on its streets, are happy with all the amenities and think the council is doing ok… but they want more off-street parking and they won’t pay for any new theatre.

    That’s the outcome of a borough-wide survey carried out by independent researchers on behalf of the council. They interviewed, face to face, more than 1,000 residents.

    The study is the first since 2012 and cost just under £19,000.

    Head of Policy and Governance Jane Clarke said: “The borough survey forms part of our evidence base for the decision we will be making as a council going forward.

    In December the council agreed in principle to the development of a new theatre to replace the Assembly Hall.

    One of the survey questions asked if people would be willing to pay an extra 19p a week in council tax for a significant project ‘such as a new theatre worthy of the borough.’

    More than half (55%) of those asked gave a thumbs down with just 32% offering to contribute. The ‘don’t knows’ amounted to 13%.

    When asked about off-street parking nearly half (48%) of those polled want more while one in three (33%) believe there are enough car parks.

    Overall, how satisfied or dissatisfied are you with your local area as a place to live?
    Satisfied: 92% (55% ‘very’ satisfied – 37% ‘fairly’ satisfied)
    Neither satisfied or dissatisfied: 3%
    Fairly dissatisfied: 4%
    Very dissatisfied: 1%

    To what extent do you agree or disagree that Tunbridge Wells Borough Council provides value for money?
    Agree: 67%
    Neither agree nor disagree: 11%
    Tend to disagree: 13%
    Strongly disagree: 5%
    Don’t know: 4%

    How satisfied/dissatisfied are you with the way the council runs things?
    Satisfied: 70%
    Dissatisfied: 16%
    Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied: 11%
    Don’t know: 3%

    How satisfied are you with the range of services and amenities in the town centre?
    Satisfied: 86%
    Neither satisfied nor
    dissatisfied: 7%
    Fairly dissatisfied: 4%
    Very dissatisfied: 1%
    Don’t know: 2%

    Do you think there is enough off-street car parking in the town centre or would you support more off-street car parks?
    There are enough car parks: 33%
    More off-street car parks: 48%
    Don’t know: 19%

    There are around 1,000 free on-street car parking spaces in the town centre. Do you think the council should review this to provide more on-street permit parking for local residents only?
    Yes: 39%
    No: 33%
    Don’t know: 28%

    Would you be willing to pay a bit more in council tax (for example £10 a year or 19p a week) if this would allow the council to deliver a significant project such as a new theatre worthy of the borough?
    Yes: 32%
    No: 55%
    Don’t know: 13%

    Do you agree or disagree you can influence decisions affecting your local area?
    Agree: 29%
    Disagree: 58%
    Don’t know: 13%