WE ARE happy living in Basingstoke and Deane – that was the overwhelming message from 96 per cent of people who took part in the latest borough Residents’ Survey.

The survey is carried out for the borough council every two years by an independent market research company in a bid to get various feedback on wide-ranging issues including how satisfied residents across Basing-stoke and Deane are with council services.

The 2014 survey, carried out in face-to-face interviews in July and August, saw 1,100 people across a sample range of ages, sexes and ethnicities take part.

And the survey results say that Basingstoke really is a place to be proud of with 96 per cent of participants expressing their satisfaction with the borough as a place to live, while a further 88 per cent feel they belong to the area.

Councillor Clive Sanders, the Conservative leader of the borough council, told The Gazette: “I have to say we have always been in and around the top flight levels across the country of people being satisfied living here, but seeing the figure go up from 87 per cent in 2008 to 96 per cent in 2014 is quite a significant move.

“I think the survey results reflect that there is a real buzz around the place, and people feel that the town and the borough are going somewhere.

“The key thing about it is the interest that comes from people. They are happy here and they feel that they belong to the place, and feel it is a place they can stay.”

Cllr Sanders, who has been leading the Conservative administration, which has been in power since 2006, for the last three years, believes that the borough is on the edge of great things, citing developments like the opening of Bombay Sapphire’s Laverstoke Mill distillery and the building of the John Lewis at home and Waitrose combined superstore at Basing View as examples of the great progress that is being made.

He said: “I think every political party ought to be happy, and we ought to be happy as a council, that our residents think we are doing well, and really like living where they do.

“I am very pleased about the results, having been leader for the last three years and it being a Conservative administration for the last eight years.

“I think it is an endorsement that we were right to keep council tax down while driving new things forward and trying to make a difference for the future, but mainly the results are an endorsement of the hard work put in by staff who do care about the borough and want to see it perform.

“I am extremely optimistic in where the momentum is going and we are on the edge of doing great things that will have an effect for the next 50 years.”

Cllr Sanders and a borough team recently attended a MIPIM exhibition in London. The exhibition, where the borough had a stand, brings together people from the international property sectors, and showcases worldwide development projects.

Cllr Sanders said: “I thought it was interesting that Greg Clark, the Minister for Cities, said: ‘I have been hearing about Basingstoke and I want to have discussions because I think it is a place that needs supporting’.

“There were a lot of other people coming up and saying: ‘There is a lot going on in Basingstoke’, and they were interested in what was happening.”

One area where Cllr Sanders thinks there is still room for improvement is the level of affordable housing provided in the borough.

He added: “We know there is an issue because no one is building affordable homes but it is encouraging that the council is involved in a scheme with Sentinel Housing Association where the council has used its own money to help buy houses which is proving to be successful.

“We said we will review it, and I think we will be able to do more between now and the end of the financial year.”