Pets’ mess is top of the plops in East Devon - and weeds and parking pip felonies in places like Sidmouth

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RESIDENTS in East Devon are more concerned about dog poo than crime, according to neighbourhood surveys.

In fact, canines’ mess is the number one gripe across the entire district.

Parking, speeding motorists, litter and weeds are also regarded as bigger issues than felonies in places like Sidmouth and Ottery St Mary.

Those polled told police, the district council and the British Red Cross Society during a series of door-to-door research interviews that irresponsible pooch-owners are the cause of their top overall worry.

The district’s dog warden could be asked to attend future surveys – so questions can be answered on the spot.

In the past five years, dog fouling and dog control have topped the list of concerns raised during neighbourhood assessments.

Across the district, crime and antisocial behaviour was ranked fifth, with waste and recycling second, speeding and parking issues third and litter and fly-tipping fourth.

Information gathered during neighbourhood assessments, first carried out in 2007, is being used to help the council and partner agencies improve their services to enhance residents’ quality of life.

Findings were featured in a report that went to East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) overview and scrutiny committee last Thursday.

Sidmouth and Ottery were among seven towns covered in phase one of the project during 2007 and 2008 when 459 properties were visited and 203 residents were asked for their views on council services and their community’s issues.

Speeding and parking was the top issue, followed by litter and weeds and dog fouling. Anti-social behaviour and crime was fourth and waste and recycling fifth.

EDDC says it is embracing “the basic concept of engaging with people on their own doorsteps to genuinely seek their views in a stress-free, one-to-one interview”.

Although the format of neighbourhood assessments has evolved since 2007, the enduring theme has been the support of Devon and Cornwall Police in the initiative, members of the council’s overview and scrutiny committee have been told in a report.

Singled out for particular praise was Gerry Moore, East Devon’s community safety officer. His support at almost every survey has been noted.

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