Cohesive communities are safe communities compared to other parts of the UK both local authority areas have low rates of crime and anti-social behaviour, although in the case of Denbighshire there are pockets with higher rates within parts of Rhyl. For both local authority areas domestic violence remains a key challenge in relation to personal safety.
The National Survey for Wales examines a number of community cohesion indicators that can be viewed below
The demographic evidence we have gathered also highlights some key considerations. Assuming the intention of sustain balanced communities that meet the needs of all ages and promote good intergenerational relations; we need to consider the differing needs at different life stages.
- The aging population are expected to need support to retain their independence allow access to services and prevent social isolation.
- Our evidence also highlights the comparatively small numbers of young people residing in the two local authority areas with out-migration of local young people exacerbating this issue. Economic and educational opportunities, along with affordable accommodation have been identified as key factors in retaining and attracting young people to the area.
While cohesive communities are based around people, attitudes and opportunities access to quality accommodation is a necessary pre-requisite and a key factor in community and individual wellbeing. House building in both local authority areas was hit hard by the economic down-turn and although some early signs of recovery are emerging remain completion remain at relatively low levels. Although housing sales are beginning to pickup the ratio of average house price and average wages also remains high across the area. The delivery of new affordable homes is a particular challenge.
In both local authority areas progress has been made in licencing and improving the quality of Houses in Multiple Occupation and improving the social rented stock to meet the Welsh Housing Quality Standard.
Our consultation with the public in both Conwy and Denbighshire found communities needed local physical assets to bring people together and foster community identity. These could be traditional public service buildings such as schools, libraries or community centres but could equally be local shops, café’s or pubs. There is a willingness to explore alternative ownership / management arrangements.
Residents also felt they would like to see more community run assets across the county, with improved access and facilities to make them multi-purpose, self-sustaining venues.