This Blog contains contributions from members of Eynsford Parish Council. Any opinions expressed are their own.
Previous posts (up to December 2014) were made by ex-Chairman, Clive Stanyon, and were his own views, not necessarily the views of all councillors.
Author: Phil Ward | Date: 20th November 2017
Last week, I attended the remembrance service at Eynsford War Memorial. It always proves a well organised event involving representatives from all sections of the community. Numbers attending seem to increase each year but it remains very respectful and poignant.
On the 4th November, I joined the hundreds of other residents and visitors to watch poor Guy Fawkes meet his fate and marvel at the stunning firework display at Furlongs Farm; it always makes me proud to say I live here. Although the ground was damp, we managed to dodge the earlier rain with the delicious mulled wine warming us on the inside. The only issue was the recurring theme of traffic, which seemed more of a problem this year, mainly due to visitors double parking between the school and the Baptist church. Organisers may want to think about some mitigation for next year.
Sadly, there was a fatal car crash on the A225 last week, our thoughts going to the friends and family of those involved. We donít have any information as to the cause, but will monitor closely to see if there are any lessons for us to consider going forward.
The biggest single village issue Iím involved with is the provision of a new village hall. It may seem that little is happening but be assured there is slow but steady progress. Architectural plans are at an advanced stage and hall users were recently presented with these for comment, with some useful ideas on detail coming forward.
On a personal note, I've just returned from a brief but enjoyable cultural visit to Warsaw taking part in a local parkrun - similar to the weekly Lullingstone event - come along it's free!!
Author: Theresa Durrant | Date: 10th October 2017
If Facebook is anything to go by, then no subject is more divisive to a community than 'parking'. It's very easy to point a finger and blame haulage companies, commuters or mum's and dad's at school drop off times, but in reality the issue of parking and congestion is much more wide spread around the village than many residents realise. Except for those living in the affected hot spots that is!
Hot spots such as St Martin's Drive, outside Anthony Roper and the high street are locations that often have people tooting their horns and swapping a few heated words, but the effects of poor parking can be problematic for many reasons, such as; the cost in repairing damaged vehicles; pedestrians and vehicles repeatedly coming into close contact, minor accidents and on the extreme side loss of life if emergency vehicles are not able to navigate through the traffic.
The parish council receives a number of complaints each year from concerned residents and whilst every complaint is treated very seriously and advice sought from Sevenoaks District Council or Kent Highways, the solution isn't always to pop in a few parking restrictions, such as yellow lines or bollards and hope this resolves the problem. The growing population invariably means more cars per household and potentially more school drop offs. A dwindling public transport service and more housing demands across the district means more road users in general, all of which put extra pressure on parking around the village. Any long term parking restriction plans need to be considered very carefully in order not to push the problem to another area of the village, where the affects of congestion may be even more detrimental. The parish council also need to consider that not all residents have access to off street parking and therefore putting in parking restrictions could be rather unfair on them.
So what can we do about the problem?
The parish council is aware that many streets in the village were not designed to accommodate the number of cars currently being parked in them. In the long term, the parish council has set up a parking committee who will be responsible for investigating viable parking initiatives. However, they are under no illusion that both budget constraints and available space for development, could limit these to small scale initiatives. The parish council and the Village Hall trustees are also working closely to ensure that parking is a consideration in the new village hall design should the project get the go ahead.
In the short term, arrangements have been made with the parish council and some of the pubs to open their car parks during school drop off and collection times, so they can be utiltised by parents. Although we would ask parents to vacate the parking space as soon as they have dropped off or collected their children to ensure the space is available for other parents.
We are also urging visitors, commuters and residents to exercise some restraint and take extra care when parking to ensure that the daily commute is more enjoyable and safe for all of us. For example, did you know that a fire engine needs 10ft (3 meters) of clearance to pass safely? Poorly parked cars could be putting the lives of friends, families and neighbours at risk and could make a difference in saving a life or not.
The parish council is also currently pursuing parking restriction initiatives around the village, to ensure that the roads are kept safe for both road users and pedestrians. By reducing parking on both sides of the high street, this will help to improve visibility and prevent narrowing of the road caused by double parking and ensure that vehicles and emergency vehicles can navigate around the village safely. However, these are just small steps towards alleviating what is becoming an increasing and more pressing problem.
How do other villages cope?
Parking issues seem to be a common occurrence across many rural villages and some residents have come up with creative ways to help reduce the problem. For example, some parents have taken to petitioning their school to open up space for designated drop off/pick up points within the school grounds. Other initiatives include a proactive approach to educating road users by training teachers / residents or parents to issue parking tickets through volunteer parking warden schemes.
Other villages approach the parking issue by communicating the importance of walking short journeys wherever possible, which not only has the added health benefits, but can reduce household bills by as much as £50-£100 per month.
Then of course there is the common sense approach, which includes road users not double parking their vehicles, leading to reduced sight lines, but could also mean avoiding a costly trip to the garage to replace wing mirrors; leaving more room at junctions, parking as close to the kerb as possible, leaving pavements clear so wheelchair or pushchairs users don't have to step into the road to pass parked cars and of course using indicators so other road users know your intentions and don't inadvertently block oncoming traffic.
This is clearly a problem that is set to be around for a while yet, but the parish council and parking committee welcome any ideas and collaboration to reduce the parking impact on the village. In the meantime, if you are experiencing problems with parking around the village, you can find more information about reporting nuisance parking here: http://www.kent.gov.uk/
Author: Sarah Boyle | Date: 26th May 2016
Great Day on Tuesday when I was invited to participate in the visit of year 5 children (and associated parents etc) from our twin village of Camphin to the Anthony Roper school. After a morning working with the Gold medal winning Eynsford South East in Bloom Group (preparing the war memorial for summer bedding), I hurriedly changed and joined the parents and other Twinning Committee members at the Riverside Tearooms for a convivial sandwich and soup lunch where our Rector (Gary) aroused both admiration and amusement in his attempts to speak french. I must admit that my french is non existant but luckily Bruno (Camphin Chairman of the Twinning Committee) is fluent in English and we had a happy time generally reminiscing about the most recent trips and establishing that William Alexander in his costume as High Sheriff of Kent had made a lasting impression on the female citizens of Camphin!. I was happy to hear too that the Twinning Committee meeting, held that morning in the Parish Office, had been very constructive before joining Gill (Eynsford Chairman) and the others at Anthony Roper School. Here we heard about the joint morning activities, saw some enthusiastic games of rounders and enjoyed a small concert by the children while parents and children enjoyed some lovely afternoon tea before waving our visitors off about 3.30pm. Many thanks to all at Anthony Roper school and on the Twinning Committee for a very successful and enjoyable day.