Potholes, litter and bins among top concerns for Edinburgh residents

Potholes are a major issue for residents in Edinburgh
Potholes are a major issue for residents in Edinburgh
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POTHOLES, litter and bin collections are the top sources of dissatisfaction with the Capital’s public services.

An exclusive Evening News survey found the state of the city’s roads was rated poor or very poor by 71 per cent of people as against 19.8 per cent who said they were average and just 8.4 per cent who said they were good or very good.

Bin collection and litter remains a hot topic on the streets of the Capital

Bin collection and litter remains a hot topic on the streets of the Capital

The cleanliness of public places was judged poor or very poor by nearly 54 per cent, while around 27 per cent said it was average and about 19 per cent considered it good or very good.

Refuse collection and recycling facilities were said to be poor or very poor by 40 per cent, rated average by 29.4 per cent and thought to be good or very good by 29.6 per cent.

Almost 2500 people took part in the survey online or by completing a questionnaire in the paper.

Social care support also emerged as an area of concern with 30.8 per cent rating it poor or very poor, another 30.3 per cent saying it was average and only 18 per cent saying it was good or very good.

And policing got mixed 
reviews with 32 per cent saying it was good or very good, 37 per cent judging it average and 28 per cent feeling it was poor or very poor.

The Tories claimed the city’s SNP-Labour administration failed to command the confidence of council taxpayers, while the Greens argued for a focus on policies which would prevent problems from arising.

The survey found public transport was the most highly rated service with over 82 per cent saying it was good or very good.

And the Capital’s healthcare system also got favourable ratings with nearly 53 per cent saying hospitals, GPs and dental practices were good or very good, against 16.7 per cent who said they were poor or very poor.

Schools were rated good or very good by 38 per cent, average by 26 per cent and poor or very poor by nine per cent.

The survey also asked people to identify the three services they believed were most in need of increased spending by the government or local authority.

Roads again came out top with 56 per cent making it a priority for investment.

Despite the high rating for healthcare provision, the second most popular area for increased spending was hospitals, GPs and dental practices with 47.5 per cent.

And social care emerged as the third choice for better funding with 45.7 per cent saying it should get increased support.

Some 38.5 per cent prioritised cleanliness in public places for more investment and another 30.8 per cent chose refuse collection and recycling.

Policing was named by 35 per cent and education by 27.8 per cent.

There were notable differences between men’s and women’s priorities, with women more likely to back more spending on health – 54.4 per cent compared with 41.6 per cent – and social care – 52 per cent to 41 per cent – and also education – 31 per cent to 25 per cent.

Men were more likely to support extra cash for roads – 61 per cent to 50 per cent – and public transport – 10.5 per cent to 5.8 per cent.

Councillor Nick Cook, Tory spokesman on transport and the environment, said the public dissatisfaction reflected badly on the city council’s record.

He said: “It is clear that, in too many areas of basic service delivery, the council fails to command the confidence of Edinburgh taxpayers.”

“While the council will claim it has taken action to improve the appalling condition of our roads, it has taken far too long to do so, creating an unsurmountable backlog of repairs.”

“Over a year on from the council’s 65 point crisis plan for waste and street cleansing, residents remain disappointed with the cleanliness of the city. In a bid to clean up our streets, the council should stop ruling out partnership with the private and voluntary sectors.”

Green finance spokesperson Cllr Gavin Corbett said it was not surprising that three of the top priorities named by readers were roads, street cleanliness and social care. “That absolutely chimes with what I hear at community meetings,” he said.

“The real way forward for all three is early action and preventing problems mounting up.

“For example, reducing traffic congestion, cracking down on the scourge of pavement-parking and getting big lorries out of the city will all reduce stress on the roads.

“And on street cleanliness, improving bin collections and reliability prevents overflowing debris and makes it easier to turn the focus on that minority who wilfully litter our streets and open spaces.

“The same logic follows for social care. All the evidence is that plugging the gap of unmet need can prevent unwanted and costly hospital stays.

“However, the scale of the gap is such that extra priority is needed at national level to fund extra care places and to ensure that caring staff are paid at a level that makes it an attractive profession.”

Transport and environment convener Lesley Macinnes said maintaining Edinburgh’s roads and pavements was a key council priority and it was currently seeking better value on its road resurfacing contract.

“That said, there’s always a fine balance to be struck to ensure we keep disruption to the road network to a minimum, for the benefit of all road users.”

She continued: “We’re 
making good progress with our Waste and Cleansing Improvement Plan, which is continuing to cut the number of missed bin complaints, as well as reducing fly-tipping and boosting demand for special uplifts.” And she urged people to flag up litter problems via the Report It section on the council website.

iswanson@edinburghnews.com