Neath survey shows "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly"

Initial results from Neath survey show “real pride” in town, but clear challenges need to be met

Sioned Williams MS

Local Member of Senedd, Sioned Williams, has shared initial results from her survey of Neath residents and business owners, which demonstrates that locals have much to be proud of, despite some obvious concerns over the future of the town. 

The survey was completed by nearly 400 responders, one in five of whom say they visit Neath town centre every day, and over half visit several times a week.

While just over 50% of respondents said they currently have a negative view of the town, with concerns ranging from the economic to the general upkeep of the town, almost all were able to list multiple things when asked what they like most about the town.

Ms Williams raised initial findings with Welsh Government, who have indicated they are interested in meeting further to discuss the survey findings.

Sioned Williams MS, Plaid Cymru Member of Senedd for South Wales West, said:

“My survey was prompted by announcement that Marks and Spencer’s intended to close their Neath store and renewed questions from locals as to the future of our town.

“Perhaps unsurprisingly, over half said they currently have a negative view of the town. However, almost all of the respondents also wrote long lists of the things they like and love about Neath: From our historic market and variety of independent shops to the extensive canals; and from our rich history and iconic buildings to locations such as Victoria Gardens and the Gnoll rugby ground. There is so much that is good about Neath.

“But we are not without our challenges. Respondents mentioned problems with drugs and anti-social behaviour, which put some off from visiting the town centre, not to mention the empty shops which are littered over our town centre, some of which are falling into disrepair.

“However, it’s the economic pressures that are weighing heaviest on locals’ minds – not just in terms pressures on businesses, that are forcing too many to shut for the final time, but the squeeze on people’s purses mean they have less in their pocket to spend in the town.

“Neath is not short on talent and enthusiasm, but it does need support. Over the coming weeks, I will take time to fully digest the near 400 responses and continue my engagement with Welsh Government and the local authority over what can be done to meet these challenges head on.”

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