Edinburgh's road changes biggest gripe as council survey reveals how residents felt during pandemic

Roads, pavements, traffic and cycling were the biggest source of dissatisfaction with the city council during the pandemic, a survey of Edinburgh residents has found.

Friday, 16th April 2021, 7:00 am

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Eight out of ten said they satisfied overall with council services since lockdown began in March 2020.

But the survey reported: “There were some perceptions of the council not caring or being unaccountable. Some of these concerns related to changes and adaptions to roads, refuse collection, etc. during lockdown and the pandemic generally.”

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Braid Road was closed under the Spaces for People scheme Pic Lisa Ferguson

Among those dissatisfied, 26 per cent cited roads, roadworks, pavements, traffic or cycle issues; 15 per cent mentioned communications issues; 12 per cent were unhappy about environmental issues or street cleaning; and another 12 per cent highlighted refuse collection and recycling.

More than 1000 people were interviewed by telephone between October and December for the Capital Residents Survey, aimed at helping the council understand how the public has been affected by changes to service provision as a result of the pandemic and to guide its prioritisation of resources as the city recovers.

Asked about future development of services, three-quarters of respondents agreed it would be more convenient if libraries, community centres and advice services were all available in the same place. But one in five disagreed, mainly because they did not see what the benefit would be and because the new location might be less convenient than current provision.

Around the same proportion said they would be comfortable using sports and leisure facilities at a local school.

Many road changes have been controversial Pic Lisa Ferguson

And 58 per cent agreed it made sense to have all public services available in one location, although three in 10 disagreed and 12 per cent were unsure. Those with reservations thought it would not work or felt there was no need to consolidate services in one location.

More than half of those who took part in the survey said they had been working from home during the pandemic and 55 per cent of those would like to work from home always or mostly in future.

Some 53 per cent said they had been walking more since Covid struck, although only 18 per cent said they were cycling more. One third were exercising more and a quarter were exercising less. Forty-five per cent were talking more to friends, family and neighbours and 39 per cent were reading or listening to audiobooks more.

Two-thirds of respondents said they were generally satisfied with their life nowadays, but one in 10 reported low levels of satisfaction.

Asked how happy they felt the previous day, 70 per cent gave a high or very high score, but 10 per cent gave a score of less than five on a scale of one to 10. Scores were highest among over-65s and people with children, while low ratings were higher among lower socio-economic groups, people living with a health condition and those living alone.

Depute council leader Cammy Day said: “Work, travel, social interaction and a whole range of aspects of our lives have changed immeasurably since the pandemic began.

“While there is light at the end of the tunnel, we’re going to have to adapt our ways of living and working for some time to come. The feedback received will help us respond to this, and to keep improving the way we communicate with and serve the city’s residents.”

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