2. A Caring Community 2: A CARING COMMUNITYThis section is about living in a supportive community. Are we doing enough to help others?These are the concerns that the community indicated as most needing action: (These are the views indicated by the majority of numerical responses received to the questionnaire) INVOLVING YOUNG PEOPLE IN VILLAGE AFFAIRS : A DEDICATED YOUTH CENTRE : IMPROVING HALE LANE RECBETTER PROVISION FOR THE DISABLED These were all the verbatim comments added to the questionnaire: (We would point out that these are individual comments and do not necessarily represent the views of the majority of respondents) QUESTION #2: A CARING COMMUNITY Social Housing: There is a big need for an elderly housing complex. Sheltered housing is so important to many of us who do not want to have to go to Sevenoaks or Orpington and away from our friends. Plan for protected housing but not along the main roads. Keep us looking and feeling like a village. Disabled: Making the village more accessible to the disabled will also help families with young children & buggies. Particular problems are the styles (Church Yard to Bubblestone Rd.) Please look how dangerous and difficult it is for disabled persons to cross Rye Lane, tracel beside the stone doorstep at Pickmoss and get over to One Stop. Any of these three obstacles are potentially very dangerous for wheelchair users. Elderly: More care for the elderly will be a real hlp. Good idea Local families might be persuaded to “adopt” an elderly resident to help with their chores? Lack of needs for the elderly in the village – residential complex required urgently Churches The churches already do a lot of good and practical community work and all their halls are regularly used for village events. All the churches provide a wide range of community-related opportunities. Try visiting and you’ll be surprised. Information: · Could we be told what the Parish Council is doing in the Newsletter? There must be more going on in Otford than the 3 WI meetings, Gardener’s Society and Petanque every month! · More parish information could be contained on the notice boards. · Events sometimes passed before Parish newsletter arrives. · Directory of parish addresses and websites would be useful. · Place information on the High St notice boards. But the notice boards need proper maintenance – tatty and full of dead flies. · No point – excuse to spend money. Up to individuals to find out what they need/want. · Newsletter is very good. Can there be more information on what the Parish Council are up to? · Information pack on Parish Councillors & meetings for new residents Parish Council: With so many of my answers being ‘Nothing is being done’ I would like to know what role our Parish Council is performing for our community? Why is the ‘community’ looking to solve these problems when it should be done by our Parish Council ? After the debacle about the pond it is about time our parish council showed the residents that it can get things done. How can we know what they do if we do not know who the parish councillors are? Why aren’t their names on the newsletter so we can get to know them? If the only way to find out what is happening is to attend their monthly meeting I fear residents will have to live in ignorance. Why don’t they tell us the news in the newsletter? · Rather than residents associations for each road, publish the names of our parish councillors so that they can become more responsible and we can discuss problems with them. · The Parish Newsletter should have regular reports of OPC deliberations like Spotlight in church magazine. Essential for OPC’s credibility in community Noise pollution: · We may not stop young car drivers with big thumping sound systems but we can surely put a control on the increasing noise created by Otford’s public houses and their ‘live jazz’. It is getting worse every year. · Allowing late opening of public houses witn loud music, karaoke etc leads to disturbance throughout the evening for near-by residents. Something must be done to control this anti-social practice. · Why can’t Otford pubs be stopped from having loud music after 10 pm at night? · Could village pubs have greater restriction on the time they keep playing their live music? After 10pm most adult people want peace and bed. We do not live in this country village to be on Southend Promenade. It is so anti-social to the majority. · What, if anything, is being done about the excessive noise in the High Street from music in the pubs? Are they licensed for outside entertainment? i.e. The Crown. Youth Club Would rather see clubs and groups having youth sections to promote adult/young people collaboration. · Might encourage young people to hang out in High St and cause trouble. Specific sports/clubs OK but not a general youth center unless away from centre of village. · A recognised Youth club is needed in West Otford. How do you bridge the gap between those young people who consider leisure as drugs & drink and those that simply want activities and sport? · If the young had more facilities there would be less vandalism which is caused mainly by boredom. A welcome pack Otford Soc tries to do this via liaison officers. Better to encourage neighbours to be welcoming and to get people out and about instead of using cars. We have recently moved here. I think a Welcome pack would have been a great way to introduce us to the area and tell us about the clubs, services and activities available Churches Churches are already involved in greeting new residents but it is a bit hap-hazard. Could they not join with the PC to do this more efficiently? · Multi-faith representatives could encourage better understanding within the community. · The churches are active there is already quite a lot happening, but of course never enough to suit everybody. They are all open to all the villagers and offer Toddlers groups, Coffee and a chat, Foot clinics, Benevolent society, Deliver welcome packs to new residents to name but a few things we do. · It already does a great eal for the community – children’s groups, youth groups, coffee mornings and open to all villagers. The Burial Ground: Could a stone cross be erected at the new burial ground to recognise that it is a cemetery and provide a kind of solace to those whose loved-ones now lie there? Borders & Hedges Not all public hedges in the village are maintained by the Parish Council/Highways Authority. If they are allowed to grow they can block out the views of the Darenth Valley and make the village less attractive to be in. Hale Lane Recreation Ground. The recreation ground in Hale Lane could be made so much more attractive – and maybe a seat by the swings and more play equipment for the children. There are a lot of young mothers who would welcome an improvement t0o Hale Lane recreation ground. The Hale Lane recreation ground is crucial as it is the only place at this end of the village where young children can run around. Dog fouling is increasing and has become a safety hazard to the young children. Can nothing be done A Meeting Place in West Otford : · We really need a place for meetings in West Otford. · A creche is needed by young families particularly in West Otford. Could we get a grant for a community centre for West Otford? We badly need somewhere to meet and for our young people. General Run weekend coffee events in the various parts of the village to encourage neighbourhood contacts – people are more tolerant of people they have met. · I have lived here for over two years and only one neighbour speaks to me. A list of all the developments in our area plus new builds in Well Road and Station Road show how large corporate builders have more influence on local planning than parishioners. We have no say! We are appalled and disgusted about the loss of Public loos in Otford. How degrading!