Most Britons would like their area to become a ‘15-minute neighbourhood’

Fintan SmithPolitical Research Executive
March 06, 2023, 9:33 AM GMT+0

Banks and GP surgeries are the most desired amenities that are currently not available within 15 minutes walk for Britons

The concept of a 15-minute city (or neighbourhood) is simply the idea of making it a target that most things that people need are within a 15-minute walk or cycle of their home.

The policy, which has gone through lots of iterations, and been implemented in different places across the globe, has however recently hit the press, after moves by Oxford city council to reduce traffic in the city was conflated with a proposal for making Oxford a 15-minute city.

But what do Britons think of the idea?

New YouGov data shows that a majority of the public (62%)would support their local authority making it a target to make their area a 15-minute neighbourhood, including three quarter of Labour (73%) and over half Conservative voters (57%).

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

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 to just 21% in “somewhat rural” areas and only 8% among “very rural” respondents.

When it comes to what amenities should and shouldn’t be prioritised in a 15-minute neighbourhood plan, bus stops, post boxes and medical facilities come out on top

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 according to most Britons. However, less than half see the need for a shopping centre (28%), restaurant (38%) or hairdressers (46%) to be close by.

Banks, GP surgeries and pharmacies are the most important amenities that the largest proportion of Britons don’t live within a 15-minute walk of

Over half of Britons report that they already live within a 15-minute walk of 12 of the 15 amenities we asked about, and are more likely to already live within 15 minutes of those amenities that more Britons believe should be part of a 15-minute neighbourhood.

However, there are some amenities where there is a large disparity between the proportion who believe they should be incorporated into any 15-minute neighbourhood plan in their area, and the proportion who live within a 15-minute walk of them currently.

Banks come top of this category, with a majority (55%) of the population believing they should be included in a 15-minute neighbourhood, though only a quarter (24%) of the population 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.

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