The Rural Services Survey, carried out by Community Action Suffolk (CAS) asked respondents to rank the top concerns for their area. Following roads, these include transport / bus services and technology / broadband.
The survey highlights some positive developments, such as an increase in the recorded number of community buildings, community-run pubs and over a quarter of parishes surveyed are pursuing plans for affordable housing.
Janice Banks, interim Chief Executive of CAS, said:
“Overall there remains a good spread of services and facilities across rural Suffolk. Village Halls and Community Buildings continue to be an important central hub for communities across the county, and these along with other community assets are essential in creating and maintaining resilient, sustainable communities in the future.
However we are conscious that there are areas for concern, and Community Action Suffolk exists to support communities with their activities to improve services and residents’ wellbeing, particularly in rural areas.”
CAS invited representatives, primarily parish and town councils, from Suffolk’s 421 eligible parishes to contribute to the Rural Services Survey. 359 responses were received, giving a response rate of 85%. Towns with populations of over 10,000 were not invited to take part, as these are classed as urban, not rural.
The survey determines the type and number of services and facilities currently in rural parishes across Suffolk and whether there have been any significant changes in these numbers (as of Autumn/Winter 2015) since previous surveys carried out in 2012 and 2008. Previous Rural Services Surveys were carried out by Suffolk ACRE (now CAS).
It is important to note that all of the responses are from the parishes themselves., Community Action Suffolk has chosen not to validate this information. This reflects the perception of the services that exist as well as those that actually exist that respondents are aware of.
- Click here to read the executive summary of the Rural Services Survey
- Click here to login to the CAS members area and download the full survey (click here for CAS membership)
 The 11 towns which have populations of over 10,000 are Ipswich, Lowestoft, Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill, Felixstowe, Stowmarket, Newmarket, Kesgrave, Sudbury, Mildenhall and Beccles.
 Some have responded as a collective from the Parish Council, Town Council or Parish Meetings; others are the views of an individual respondent.
 Whilst all rural parishes were invited to take part in 2015, 2012 and 2008 Rural Services Survey, there were some parish representatives that completed one and not the other survey, and this should be borne in mind when considering the comparisons.