MOST people like living in Swindon but dislike the local council and feel they have little influence over official decisions.

Those are the findings of a major new survey that questioned hundreds of people across the town about their local neighbourhoods and the extent to which they felt able to make their voices heard.

The national Place Survey, commissioned by the Government, revealed that while a significant majority of respondents in Swindon (80 per cent) were happy with the area as a place to live, far fewer (just 40 per cent) were satisfied with the way the borough council ran things – and just 26 per cent felt the council provided value for money.

The survey showed that the proportion of people who felt they could influence decisions affecting their area was low (26 per cent), while a quarter of respondents said they would like to be more involved in such decisions.

Nationally, more than 500,000 people responded to the survey, which also questioned respondents about their levels of satisfaction across a range of other subjects locally.

Other questions revealed that 70 per cent of respondents in Swindon were “very or fairly satisfied” with the town’s refuse collection service, while 74 per cent were satisfied with doorstep recycling, 63 per cent with local bus services, 56 per cent with sport and leisure facilities, 70 per cent with libraries, 36 per cent with museums and galleries and 67 per cent with parks and open spaces.

Just 18 per cent felt that anti-social behaviour was a problem in their local area, although 27 per cent thought that “drunk and rowdy” behaviour was a problem and 28 per cent believed there was a problem with people not treating each other with respect and consideration.

The Department for Communities and Local Government estimated that more than 1,000 people responded to the survey in each local council area.

The Government plans to use some of the results to measure how well its priorities are being delivered by local government and their partners, as part of a new, streamlined local performance framework.

Swindon Council said it was using the data to help develop new plans to involve residents more in decisions about where they lived.

A council spokesman said: “This survey shows something that is common to all councils, in that the levels of satisfaction among residents with individual services their council provides – such as parks, leisure services and waste collection – don’t easily translate into similarly high levels of satisfaction with the council itself.

“Often the public don’t make the connection with the fact that if they feel happy with the town and local area the council has been heavily involved in making that happen.

“What’s clear is residents want to feel more involved in decisions that affect them and we have been working hard to address this.”