Background

The survey was distributed using electoral roll information to households in Fawkham in 2019 – 211 in total, which excluded empty properties. 

A total of 130 surveys were returned, which represents a very good response rate of 62%. Around half the surveys were carried out face-to-face, with the other half completed and returned by post.

Three words to describe Fawkham

We asked people for three words which they would use to describe Fawkham. 

The most popular words were peaceful, rural and quiet, followed by friendly, beautiful, countryside, green and picturesque.

The result are shown in the picture below, with the size representing how often the word was used.

picture of words used to describe Fawkham, of which Peaceful, Rural, quiet, Beautiful and Friendly are the largest in size

The length of time people have lived here

It’s interesting to see that many people have lived in Fawkham for a long time. The survey showed:

  • the average length of residence is just under 24 years
  • 35% have lived in Fawkham for at least 30 years
  • Over 1 in 12 has lived here for more than 50 years
  • The longest someone has lived here is over 80 years!

What villagers see as the main benefits of living in Fawkham

There is a clear and consistent theme here, which can be summed up in the following quote: “The best of both worlds”. People living in Fawkham really value the fact that they live in the countryside with natural surroundings and yet in an accessible location, close to good transport links. Many respondents mentioned both of these factors as main benefits.

  • The countryside and natural surroundings were frequently named benefits
  • Fawkham is regarded as a rural area, which is seen as a benefit
  • The Green Belt and open spaces were frequently cited as benefits, along with views, wildlife and woodland
  • ‘Accessible’ was often stated as a benefit (32): transport links, train stations at Longfield and Ebbsfleet, access to M25/M20/A2

Fawkham is seen as a ‘peaceful’ place to live, with this aspect valued by many respondents. Allied to this, a lack of ‘trouble’ and lack of graffiti were mentioned, along with ‘safe’. Peaceful was the most commonly used word to describe Fawkham.

The recreational walks around the area using public footpaths are also seen as a benefit.

Several other benefits were also mentioned one or two times. 

What villagers see as the main drawbacks of living in Fawkham

The main drawbacks to living in Fawkham are seen as transport issues, particularly the traffic along, and condition of, Valley Road, along with the lack of public transport and difficulties for pedestrians. These drawbacks are expressed in a variety of ways:

  • Dangerous in terms of speed 
  • Increasingly used by through traffic
  • Too many large lorries, many of which are seen to be using it as a cut through 
  • Pot holes 
  • Not suitable for the volume of traffic 
  • Poorly maintained 
  • Not wide enough 

Lack of public transport was mentioned  frequently, as was the fact that you “need a car”.

The lack of pavement/footway to walk into Longfield was often mentioned.

Being “unable to walk anywhere safely” was a frequently mentioned sentiment. This is borne out by question 2 on modes of transport which showed only 15.5% of respondents regularly walk as a form of transport. Only 1 person stated that they regularly cycle, and only 6 cycle occasionally.

Litter, fly tipping and infrequent road sweeping were seen as drawbacks.

Other drawbacks were mentioned on some surveys, which included the lack of a community feel.

What villagers suggested to improve living in Fawkham

Many people stated “Keep it as it is” or “No more development” and many surveys had no suggestions for improvement. 

Many suggestions were focused on Valley Road, with the most frequently suggested improvements being:

  • Reduce the speed limits 
  • Repair the pot holes and repair/improve the road condition 
  • Ban white vans/HGVs; limit access; stop it being used as a cut-through; introduce a width restriction
  • Introduce speed bumps or a form of traffic calming 

Public transport/ a bus ‘hopper’ was often requested.

There were several requests more activities in the Village Hall, with some for children, and more community events.

Action Plan

The Parish Council has used the insights from the survey to create over-arching action areas:

  • Building a Sense of Community
  • Road Issues
  • Footpaths and Walks

Projects and actions have been taken and planned under each of these action areas. A summary of each area is given below, and further up to date details of these can be seen on our Projects and Actions Sheet (July 2020) which is reviewed and updated at each Parish Council meeting.

Building a Sense of Community

To help build a sense of community, we have: 

  • installed village gateways at both ends of the village
  • set up a Cleaning Ninjas team to clean road signs and refurbish and tidy various areas
  • entered Fawkham in Parish in Bloom. As a first step, we planted over 500 daffodil and tulip bulbs by the two village signs and next to benches on the green and in the churchyard. Perennial flowering plants and spring bulbs have been planted by the new village gateways.
  • planned community events around VE Day 75
  • used Facebook and this new website to improve communication of what’s going on in Fawkham. 
  • more is planned and will appear in the Projects and Actions Plan.

photo of a bench in need of refurbishmentphoto of wooden bench sanded back with sander placed on itphoto of wooden bench that has been restrained

photo showing a welcome to Fawkham signphoto showing village sign saying welcome to Fawkham

Road Issues

We are aiming to tackle some of the issues with Valley Road by:

  • setting up a Lorry Watch scheme
  • lobbying Kent Drainage Engineers regarding the frequent flooding of the roads, where we have been successful in ensuring more frequent clearing of the gullies and drains along the road
  • liaising with Kent Highways to have improved weight limit signage installed at the Brands Hatch end of the village to help reduce the number of HGVs which use the road as a cut-through
  • working with Kent Highways over having some traffic counts conducted. Top-line information shows around 23,500 vehicles use the road each week – or around 3,400 a day. In terms of speed, vehicles travelled well below the 40mph limit by the school, with an average of 28.7/28.6 mph (north/south). The average speed close to Michaels Lane was also under 30mph, although the speed limit was exceeded by a quarter of cars travelling north and 29% travelling south. However, at the transition of the 30:60 mph zones, the average speeds in both directions were 36mph. 
  • having discussions with Sevenoaks District Council about road sweeping and the picking of litter from the verges and hedge bottoms along the road
  • we have made good use of KCC’s online reporting tool to get repairs done, including lots of pothole repairs, the realigning of road signs and the repainting of the white road markings by the school, at the junction of Manor Lane, and all the SLOW and 30 mph markings. See details of how to use this reporting tool 

Lorry watch signroadside sign advising of weight limit ahead

Footpaths and Walks

We are holding “Village Walks” around the footpaths, as many people commented in the survey that they enjoy walking the footpaths around the village, although some said they did not know where the best routes are. 

We also initiated Fawkham Rocks, which is proving very popular and encourages people and children to explore the village. 

Open Day

In October 2019, we held a Coffee and Cake Open Day at the Village Hall, with invitations distributed across the village.  We shared the survey results and the actions planned as a result, as well as some tasty home-baked cakes! This proved to be a popular event which received positive feedback.

Flyer advertising Fawkham Coffee and cake, including a picture of the village sign