In September 2016 Aberystwyth University conducted a rapid face-to-face survey of residents of Newtown and Llanllwchaiarn, in Powys, Wales. These involved indepth discussions of on average 45-60 minutes with 162 residents (supplemented by an additional 72 shorter surveys). The report below provides a summary of some of the findings as they relate to Newtown. We do not claim statistical representativeness but we hope it provides some useful insight and data that the town can use as it navigates a new period of economic and political change.
Broadly speaking residents of Newtown seem to like it! It is a nice place to live and there is a reasonable level of satisfaction with many aspects of town life. It provides basic services for the community, appears to have a good degree of social cohesion and seems outward looking and engaged with wider issues beyond the immediate area. Overall people seem optimistic about its future. It also seems the town has, or is developing a ‘do it ourselves’ culture, evidenced by initiatives such as Newtown Unlimited, the town council led Big Lottery Fund proposals, and efforts to proactively plan a post-bypass future.
Like many “New Town’s”, Newtown does face challenges. It has some divisions; the needs of some areas may be masked by the relative affluence of others and some people are quite pessimistic about the future. The provision of services is a major issue for many – most starkly around healthcare, but more generally over the decline in other services in the town – reflecting wider rural concerns. There is an underlying concern about economic decline, specifically the availability of good quality jobs and the lack of opportunities for younger people.
Included in the report are sections covering:
- Local perceptions of the town
- The sense of community
- Site specific requests for enhancements
- The tourism offer
- Views on globalisation
- Hopes and fears for the future
Whilst written for Newtown & Llanllwchaiarn specifically rural researchers might find material of relevance and interest.
Please feel free to download the report and share as appropriate.
> > NEWTOWN & LLANLLWCHAIARN REPORT < <