BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

24 September 2014
Inside Out: Surprising Stories, Familiar Places

BBC Homepage
England
Inside Out
East
East Midlands
London
North East
North West
South
South East
South West
West
West Midlands
Yorks & Lincs
Go to BBC1 programmes page (image: BBC1 logo)

Contact Us

   Inside Out - West: Monday 10th February, 2003

SHORT CHANGED - PLAYING THE POSTCODE LOTTERY

For sale signs
POSTCODE LOTTERY | What services have you come to expect from your local area?

When it comes to local services in your area, are you being short changed? Inside Out compares three areas in the West whose residents feel they are losing out in the postcode lottery.

What do you look for when you buy a house? Fitted kitchen, large garden, laminate flooring? Well maybe in the future you should look a little further afield than the shed at the bottom of the garden and consider what facilities are provided in the local area.

Inside Out goes local in Calne, Sedbury and Lawrence Hill to find out what the areas have, or rather, haven’t got to offer.

Going local

Council flats
It is not only inner city areas that feel they are being short changed

The quaint rural market town of Calne in Wiltshire has been in decline since the closure of its local factory. Residents here feel that rural areas are neglected.

The town of Sedbury on the other hand, is a little confused. Although it is in Gloucestershire, it is nearer to Bristol and to confuse matters further, it has a Welsh postcode.

Lawrence Hill is a deprived inner city area or Bristol and one of the worst places in Britain to live. Three years ago its residents were given £50 million to spend on improving their area.

Negative exercise

Quality of Life Indicators

Quality of life means different things to different people and can be a difficult thing to quantify.

A recent survey found the most important factors were:
- low level of crime
- good health services
- good quality, affordable
housing
- shopping facilities
- good public transport
- good schools
- good job prospects
- clean streets
- activities for teenagers
- facilities for younger children
(Source MORI poll, October 2001)

So whether it’s inner city air pollution and high crime, or lack of schools, post offices and public transport in the countryside, it seems we Brits will never be satisfied.

But surely complaining is no solution but just a negative exercise? Not according to the government, who stress that trying to measure where things are going wrong can help councils to identify problems and hopefully, put them right.

Over the past few years, government advisors have been developing reliable ways of measuring these and other important factors, which are termed ‘quality of life indicators’.

In future, they’ll be measuring more than 30 indicators under three broad headings; economic, social and environmental. This is all very well for future residents, but what about today’s locals in our three chosen areas?

Put to the test

Inside Out has put our three areas in the West to the test. Using some of the quality of life indicators identified by the government, we have graded different elements of local life.

Issue

Calne

Sedbury

Lawrence Hill

Crime

30% of national average
Good

50-70% - national average
Good

3-10 times the national average. Armed police patrolling, high domestic violence
Poor

Health

3 surgeries within half a mile
Good

Surgery in the village
Good

Many elderly deaths and many referrals to social services
Poor

Housing

Plans to develop housing, schools and business
Average

Reasonably priced housing
Good

High levels of unfit homes
Poor

Transport

5 miles to train station, 25 miles to coach station
Average

Half hourly bus service, train in Chepstow
Good

Bus depot, train station, coaches
Good

Jobs

Relatively high unemployment
Poor

Lower than average
Good

3 times the city average
Poor

The verdict

From our analysis of the three areas, Sedbury comes out on top, although sports facilities and local shops are lacking.

The residents of Calne have good public transport, but due to the closure of the factory, unemployment is high.

Tessa Dunlop and a resident
Tessa finds out what services local residents are unhappy with

The residents most short changed in the postcode lottery however, are those of Lawrence Hill. With high crime and unemployment, Lawrence Hill is the area with the lowest quality of life.

Are you being short changed?

So how can you find out how short changed your area is? The web is a good place to start. There's a wealth of data from official and non-official sources.

Type in your postcode, and www.upmystreet.com will reveal your nearest shops and services, schools, childcare, public transport, property prices, and crime figures.

The government site www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk provides a variety of official data. Some local councils have collected their own statistics.

Bristol City Council is well ahead of the game, having produced its own Quality of Life report for several years. Find it at: www.bristolcitycouncil

It can be very hard to get statistics which are accurate for a single street or group of streets - the crime figures, for example, may cover a much wider area. And, unless you compare figures from the same source, you can't compare one place with another, as we have done. Good luck!

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites.

See also ...

On the rest of Inside Out
Local pubs in peril

On bbc.co.uk
Radio 4 - Quality of life

On the rest of the web
Bristol City Council - Quality of life
Audit Commission
Neighbourhood statistics

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites

This week's stories

The Pilgrims' Way
Take a journey on one of the South East's most historic routes.

Cornish tea
Inside Out goes behind the scenes at Cornwall's tea plantation.

Storm chasers
Join the storm chasers in search of Yorkshire's worst weather..

More from Inside Out

Inside Out: West
View the archive to see stories you may have missed.

BBC Where I Live

Find local news, entertainment, debate and more ...

Bristol
Gloucestershire
Somerset
Wiltshire

Meet your
Inside Out
presenter
Go to our profile of Tessa Dunlop (image: Tessa Dunlop)

Tessa Dunlop
your local Inside Out presenter.

Contact us
Contact the West team with the issues that affect you.

Free email updates

Keep in touch and receive your free and informative Inside Out updates.
Subscribe
Unsubscribe



About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy