5. Results and feedback from the 'Outdoor Activity' questions
Residents were asked to estimate the time they spend walking, cycling and jogging or running now, and how long they would spend doing these activities after Country Park and cycleway improvements:
- 83% of residents spend over an hour a week walking now, 90% estimate they will spend over an hour walking a week after the improvements. These results are similar to the results in 2014 and 2015.
- 20% of residents spend over an hour a week cycling now, 64% estimate they will spend over an hour cycling a week after the improvements. Both of these figures have fallen slightly over the last two years. In 2014 28% spent over an hour a week cycling, and 74% estimated they would spend over an hour a week cycling after the improvements.
- 25% of residents spend over an hour a week jogging or running now, 41% estimate they will spend over an hour jogging or running a week after the improvements. These results are similar to the results in 2014 and 2015.
Percentage of people that had visited these local outdoor spaces in their leisure time:
- Pebbled Heaths – 13%
- Taking part in water activity on the estuary – 13%
- Ashclyst Forest – 26%
- Killerton – 52%
- Dawlish Warren – 59%
- Exe Estuary – 73%
- Cranbrook Country Park – 89%
- Exmouth seafront – 91%
All of these results are similar to the results from 2015. When asked if there were any other outdoor spaces they used the most common comments were Haldon Forest, Dartmoor and Sidmouth, the same as in 2015.
- When asked what changes to Cranbrook's green public spaces would make their household use them more the most common answers were to have more off road cycle paths to and through the open spaces, provision of allotments, better lighting so the green public spaces can be used at more times of the day and more non-flooding parks or stop the country park flooding.
The Growth Point Team’s response to these results:
The data from the survey has been used in a World Health Organisation tool to estimate the health benefits of providing new cycleways. We estimate it would cost £350,000 to construct the cycleways, and the benefits to society, in terms of better health, is worth an estimated £5.3 million over 10 years. This is a return on investment of 15 to 1 and shows what fantastic value the provision of new cycleways will be. We are using this information to secure the resources we need to deliver the new cycleways for the people of Cranbrook.
Turning to the question of improvements to the Country Park, we are working with Devon County Council, Cranbrook Town Council and the development consortium to identify and deliver upgrades to the existing footpath network so that people of all ages can cycle through the Country Park and out to places such as Rockbeare village, Echoes nursery, Broadclyst and Ashclyst Forest.
The questions on which other outdoor spaces residents visit builds up a picture of access to the countryside and how/if that changes as a result of the measures we have and will deliver.
Allotments – Allotments are due to be provided by the Consortium of developers once 2,000 homes in Cranbrook are occupied. We are already working with a group to try and provide some space in the country park to start provision for community food growing. They are also working at the education campus to provide some more growing space.
Lighting up of green spaces - We want to avoid lighting up the green space as much as possible – The Bat Conservation trust writes, ‘Wherever human habitation spreads, so does artificial lighting. This increase in lighting has been shown to have an adverse effect on our native wildlife, particularly on those species that have evolved to be active during the hours of darkness. Consequently, development needs to carefully consider what lighting is necessary and reduce any unnecessary lighting, both temporally and spatially.’ This problems affects not just bats, but moths, invertebrates and mammals too. The country park has preserved as many of the original hedgerows as possible and these are vital corridors of food and habitat for the wildlife that lives in Cranbrook, and need to be preserved in as natural a state as possible to safeguard the wildlife.
Non flooding green space – The green space of the country park is only there because it is a flood plain. Without it being flood plain, there would undoubtedly have been houses built on it. However – with each proposed expansion area for Cranbrook, we are looking to secure additional green space of which some will be raised out of the flood plain to provide the quality year round use that is needed.