SHORT CHANGED -
PLAYING THE POSTCODE LOTTERY
|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
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
Inside Out goes local in Calne, Sedbury and Lawrence Hill
to find out what the areas have, or rather, haven’t got to offer.
|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.
|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
- low level of crime
- good health services
- good quality, affordable
- 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.
- national average
the national average. Armed police patrolling, high domestic violence
within half a mile
in the village
deaths and many referrals to social services
develop housing, schools and business
of unfit homes
to train station, 25 miles to coach station
bus service, train in Chepstow
train station, coaches
the city average
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 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:
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.
The BBC is not responsible for the content
of external websites.