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Majority support idea of 15-minute neighbourhood, YouGov poll finds

Deniz Huseyin
22 March 2023
An Oxford LTN. Opponents have claimed that  15-minute neighbourhoods are way for councils to control citizens’ movements through facial recognition and other digital monitoring tools
An Oxford LTN. Opponents have claimed that 15-minute neighbourhoods are way for councils to control citizens’ movements through facial recognition and other digital monitoring tools
 

Nearly two-thirds (62%) of the public support the idea of their area becoming a 15-minute neighbourhood, according to a new poll by YouGov. It found that including three-quarters of Labour (73%) and over half of Conservative voters (57%) liked the idea of living in a neighbourhood where most of the things they need are within a 15-minute walk or cycle of their home.

The poll follows protests against 15-minute neighbourhoods in Oxford last month. Opponents believe the real motive for Oxfordshire County Council’s plans for 15-minute neighbourhoods is to control citizens’ movements through facial recognition and other digital monitoring tools.

YouGov found that proposals for 15-minute neighbourhoods vary, but fundamentally the idea is that people’s workplaces, schools, essential shops and healthcare should be within a 15-minute walk or cycle of people’s homes. 

Around nine in ten believe that people should have a bus stop (90%), and a post box (87%) within a 15-minute walk of their home. Having medical facilities such as a pharmacy (85%) and a GP surgery (83%) should also be included in the target. However, less than half see the need for a shopping centre (28%), restaurant (38%) or hairdressers (46%) to be close by.

Over half of Britons report that they already live within a 15-minute walk of 12 of the 15 amenities YouGov asked them about.

The majority (55%) think that banks should be included in a 15-minute neighbourhood, though only a quarter (24%) currently have one within a 15-minute walk of their home. Similarly, for GP surgeries and pharmacies, which 83% and 85% respectively would include in a 15-minute neighbourhood plan, only 54% and 66% respectively can currently reach them in 15 minutes on foot, said YouGov.

Around half of Britons (48%) believe that it would be easy to make their area into a 15-minute neighbourhood, compared with 42% who think it would be hard, but this largely depends on how rural or urban an area they live in, says YouGov.

Those describing their areas as “very urban” or “somewhat urban” are more likely to say that it would be easy to achieve in their area, at 65% and 57% respectively, compared with just 21% in “somewhat rural” areas and only 8% among “very rural” respondents.

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