A NEW report which looks at the state of the local area will help plan local priorities in Westbury for the economy, health, safety, transport, housing, education and environment.
Data, which has been collected in the first Joint Strategic Assessment (JSA) for Westbury Community Area is now available to the public and its findings will enable the identification of local priorities for future planning.
The JSA compares the Westbury area (which includes Westbury, Bratton, Edington, Heywood, and Dilton Marsh) to the other 20 community areas in the county.
The findings, a summary of which is below, will be discussed at a special event organised by Westbury Area Board entitled “Westbury Forward: enhancing Westbury and the surrounding villages”, which will be held on Wednesday 18th January.
Economy and employment
Under economy, the manufacturing sector is the largest source of employment and the second largest is transport and storage.
The figures show that the Westbury community area has a relatively high claimant count rate (the percentage of the working age popular claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, with 2.6% claiming the allowance, compared to 2.1% across the county.
Westbury Community Area has a high level of income deprivation (families that are out of work or with low earnings) showing an estimated 4,567 people in the Westbury area are considered to be income deprived – the highest number in the county. The Westbury Ham west area ranks within the 10% most deprived areas in Wiltshire in terms of both income and employment deprivation.
Children and young people
The Westbury community area has an above average percentage of children living in poverty relative to the Wiltshire average, ranking as the 6th worst in Wiltshire.
Education results at key stage 2 in English and maths are above the Wiltshire average.
Education results at key stage 4 5A*-C GCSE including English and maths are significantly below the Wiltshire and national averages. Westbury Community Area performs worst in all the community areas in terms of GCSE results. In addition, the number of 16-18 year olds not in education, employment, or training remained high between 2010 and 2011.
Health and wellbeing
Deaths per year from cardiovascular disease and cancers in the area are both above the Wiltshire average. Alcohol related admissions to hospital for people in the Westbury Community Area are slightly below the Wiltshire average. Obesity in children measured in reception year (1 in 10) is above the Wiltshire average. The number of falls among those over 65 years is well below the Wiltshire average.
The area has a higher level of smoking than the Wiltshire average and the third highest rate of admissions to hospital for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (damage to the lungs). Westbury Community Area has the highest uptake rate for chlamydia screening of all the community areas.
In 2010, the Westbury community area had the third highest rate of teenage pregnancies across all Wiltshire Communities, with 1 in 25 girls aged between 15 and 17 becoming pregnant.
Anti-social behaviour, criminal damage and deliberate fires are high, with the Westbury Community Area ranked 4th highest in the community areas. The area also ranked 6th highest for rates of violent crime, 3rd highest for domestic violence and 6th highest within Wiltshire for drug offences per 1,000 of the population.
Council data for 2010/11 indicates that the overall condition of roads in the Westbury area is around the average in Wiltshire. However, traffic congestion, particularly along the A350, is identified as an issue and the report says that a different solution to the Westbury bypass needs to be found.
With regards to air quality, while concentrations of certain particulates have fallen, possibly as a result of the downturn in freight traffic, they are still above the air quality objective.
Westbury Community Area has one of the lowest levels of social rented accommodation in Wiltshire. Demand for affordable housing is moderately high. In 2010/11 42 new affordable homes were delivered in the Westbury area. The Westbury Community Area has one of the lowest rates of overcrowding in Wiltshire. The percentage of homes that fail to meet the decent homes standard is below the average, while those in fuel poverty are also low.
Westbury Community Area has five Sites of Special Scientific Interest and 19 wildlife site. Recycling and composting rates are generally much higher than in north and south Wiltshire due to the introduction of fortnightly residual waste collection systems some years ago.
The water quality of rivers and streams in the Westbury community area is rated as the worst in Wiltshire, with no area being rated as good and some 43.6% of water courses rated as bad, the lowest grade possible.
‘Westbury Forward’ – a chance to discuss and debate
Westbury Area Board will be holding a special event entitled “Westbury Forward: enhancing Westbury and the surrounding villages” on 18th January, where people with a key interest in the community will come together to discuss the JSA. The statistics will be presented along with the draft version of the Westbury Community Plan, and following the evening, the Community Plan will be updated.
If you would like to attend the event, contact Sally Hendry, Westbury community area manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01373 864 714.
The full Joint Strategic Assessment for Westbury Community Area is available on the Wiltshire Intelligence Network website at www.intelligencenetwork.org.uk or by phoning 01225 713186 or by emailing email@example.com