Tuesday, October 20th, 2020

The future of traffic in Otford – consultation to improve road safety generates wide range of suggestions

TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT SCHEME: After a 20-year long journey, Otford is on the brink of addressing the traffic challenges of the village. The public consultation on the proposed traffic plans to improve road safety generated 70 responses covering a wide range of issues and suggestions.

The Parish Council warns that when considering the outcome of the consultation it is important to remember that the village is significantly constrained by Highway Regulation and what is physically possible.

The Traffic Consultant has provided a professional and detailed response to the issues raised during the consultation, together with a summary on the evaluation of the scheme and the design approach.

Policy constraints, road geometry and average traffic speeds restrict the options available to reduce speed and improve road safety. It is for this reason that the initial village-wide 20mph zone has evolve into a reduced 20mph zone along with measures to encourage greater compliance with 30mph speed limits. Whilst everyone’s view has been considered it is the regulatory constraints that determine what is possible and what is not.

The Traffic Consultant’s report on the public consultation is now available on the Otford Parish Council website at: www.otfordpc.kentparishes.gov.uk – select ‘Traffic Management’ – and paper copies will be available in the Parish Office when it re-opens.

The traffic scheme will continue to evolve taking into account the feedback from the consultation along with KCC policy constraints and views. At the end of this phase it is hoped that a final scheme will emerge that best reflects the wishes of Otford residents, within the constraints of highway guidelines, that will ultimately receive KCC approval.

Cllr Irene Roy, Chairman of the Traffic Management Working Party, would like to thank the members of the public and Councillors who have taken the time to share their views on the traffic proposals during the consultation. Thanks also go to County Councillor and Leader of KCC, Roger Gough, for his invaluable guidance and support during this long and arduous process.

CANCELLATIONS: Events and meeting that have been cancelled during the current coronavirus pandemic include: Otford Folk Dance Club, NW Kent Family History Society AGM on 9 April, Otford Parish Council Meeting, 14 April, Otford & District Historical Society, 15 April, Annual Assembly of the Electors of the Parish, 20 April, Otford Village Society, 30 April, VE Day’75 Celebration Picnic, 8 May, Otford Village Fete Monday, 25 May, all WI and Otford Short Mat Bowls until further notice. The Otford Heritage Centre is also closed.

ROAD FRIENDS: Otford’s response to Coronavirus has been to set up a network of ‘Road Friends’. Every house should now have been notified of their local Road Friends contact telephone number. In the event of self-isolation, the Road Friend is prepared to carry out necessary shopping and collect prescriptions. If a neighbour falls ill, they should notify their Road Friend so that an extra watch can then be kept on their home. Being isolated need not mean being alone. If you live in Otford and would like to join your own road’s Road Friends call Rod Shelton on 01959 523371 or email at rodshelton@greenbee.net

RECREATION GROUND: Any previous information in this column regarding outdoor exercise has subsequently been overtaken by the new regulations concerning distancing and self-isolation. Exercise equipment on the Otford High Street Recreation Ground has therefore been ‘netted off’ to avoid use and possible cross contamination. Everyone is being encouraged to follow the Government guidelines with regard to exercising which, at the time of writing, restricts us to one period, preferably of no more than 30 minutes, of exercise distancing ourselves from others by at least two metres.

TONBRIDGE & MALLING RAMBLERS: Otford members of this group are advised that the walks programme has been cancelled until at least the end of May, following government advice on the Covid-19 virus. The website:  www.tonbridgeandmallingramblers.org.uk/ has been updated to show that all planned walks are cancelled and a new programme when Ramblers group led walks are up and running again will be circulated.

FAIR FEAST 2020: The organisers would like to extend their warmest thanks to everyone who supported or played any part in Fair Feast 2020 at Otford Methodist Church.  The financial outcome is that All We Can, the Methodist relief and development fund, will receive £1,576 towards its work with farmers in Ethiopia.  There, climate change has resulted in reduced rainfall and All We Can are helping the farmers to respond in ways most helpful to them and their families.  Shrove Tuesday 2021 is on 16 February.

The Otford village news is compiled by Kay Drake. If you have any news or events you would like her to consider for the My Sevenoaks Community village column you can email her at: drake_kay@hotmail.com

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