Four in five people are happy living in South West Hertfordshire, which includes Watford, according to a poll exploring people’s views on the area.
Watford Borough Council, working with the five other councils which comprise the area - Dacorum Borough Council, St Albans City & District Council, Three Rivers District Council, Hertsmere Borough Council and Hertfordshire County Council -conducted the poll in 2020, in order to find out what is important to the people of South West Hertfordshire.
The poll will be used to inform work by all six local authorities to create great places to live, work and play, supported by the right infrastructure at the right time.
The “SW Herts – Your Future” poll achieved over 10,000 visits, with over 600 people indicating that they would like to be involved in any future discussions about the area. By largely using social media, the poll also managed to reach a large proportion of 18-25-year-olds, as well as an even spread of responses across all age groups.
Key findings from the polls were:
- Eighty-six per cent of those who took part felt positive about living and working in South West Herts.
- Nearly 70% of all respondents said that parks and open spaces were their favourite thing with closeness to London appealing to over 60%. However, this wasn’t the case for the younger age groups with 70% of the under 25s liking the proximity to London more.
- In terms of priorities for improving South West Herts, better health facilities (65%), being able to get around more easily (46%) and climate change (36%) were the most popular responses, with better housing choice also appealing to the under 25s.
The polls demonstrate that Watford resident’s main priorities for improving SW Hertfordshire are improved public transport, sustainability and road connections. While also presenting their favourite things about SW Hertfordshire, which was access to London/pleasant environment/close to the countryside, community and leisure.
These results will be used to inform the emerging Local Plans across SW Herts as well as the emerging work around a SW Herts strategic plan which will be looking at the long term future of SW Herts. The councils will also be contacting those who expressed an interest in being involved in future work.
Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said: “It’s fantastic to see how positive people feel about Watford and the wider area. The results from this poll provide us with an excellent starting point as we think about the future. We need to build on the positives and work together towards a united vision for the region that will make it an even better place to live, work and visit. Only by working together and taking a more strategic, long-term view can we deliver the right infrastructure, the right homes and space for our businesses to grow.”