Our projects

We are always looking for ideas for new projects that can benefit our community.

Do get in touch by emailing enquiries@otfordsociety.org.uk if you have any suggestions or would like to get involved in what we are already doing.

Photography competition

A new competition is run each season, with the aim of encouraging residents to go out and take photographs that could inspire visitors to come to our Heritage Village.

Entries should, where appropriate, feature Otford landscapes, landmarks, wildlife or local buildings. The theme for our summer competition is ‘Otford fetes and fairs’.

The deadline for entries in our Summer 2021 competition is 30 September 2021. 

Entries and a completed entry form should be sent to photos@otfordsociety.org.uk

Otford Easter Chick Chase

Following on from the success of the Christmas snow globe trail, Jenny and her team devised an equally popular Easter trail for children of all ages. “Mummy Duck is on the pond, but her chicks are hiding along the High Street, beside the footpath that runs past the Palace, and in shop windows at the parade” – and the challenge was to find and count as many as possible.

Some 400 prizes of chocolate eggs and tiny chicks were presented to the under 10s by our two participating village businesses, Fine & Country and Otford Dry Cleaners, to whom we are extremely grateful.

We feel sure this will become an annual event.

Otford adventures

Otford Adventures is a community-based project. It encourages local families to enjoy the natural beauty of our village by promoting local trails, events and challenges.

Led by a group of Otford residents, the ambition is to get children excited about playing outside, exploring nature and using their imagination.

5-a-side football competition

Project lead Patty is in ongoing discussions with Otford United Football Club, planning a joint event to involve keen footballers of all ages. There will be a mixed competition for the youngest children, and ‘walking football’ for older players. With food and beverage stalls on the sidelines, it promises to be a great day out for all. Watch this space to find out when the competition will take place, early in the 2022 season.

Family cycling

The Otford Society is actively supporting STOCS (Sevenoaks to Otford Cycling Scheme) in planning a safe everyday cycling route linking Otford and Sevenoaks.

The aim is to reduce traffic on the roads and address local parking problems by making daily shopping, commuting and leisure trips safe for all the family. Many parents of older children would love to give their children more independence by allowing them to cycle to school – if only there was a safe route!

Political support is building for the scheme and a growing number of local organisations, schools and businesses are lining up behind the proposals. A crowdfunding campaign will soon be launched to raise the money for a properly costed feasibility study via crowdfunding – watch this space!

It is hoped that Otford will eventually become a hub for safe recreational cycling.

Want to get involved?

Our past projects

The Society was originally formed to represent village interests during the planning of the M26. It then went on to support and lead a great many other village projects. These included:

  • the restoration of the village pond and St Bartholomew’s tower
  • refurbishing and equipping two children’s playgrounds
  • installing the signs to enforce speed limits
  • providing First Aid defibrillators at key locations in the village
  • overseeing the execution of our village Millennium Mosaic which charts the village’s long history
  • planting a ‘heritage orchard’ of six heritage apple trees in Palace Field
  • installing the Otford Palace interpretation boards 
  • supporting the whole Otford Heritage Trail throughout the village

After re-forming in mid-2020, the Society launched several projects aimed at supporting the community during the pandemic. Christmas trees were donated to all the businesses in the village, and a highly successful ‘snow globe trail’ for children was created.

Our campaigns

The Otford Society can help make a real difference to our lives.

We will be here to represent your views on wider matters which could affect our future: the new Otford traffic scheme, Government proposals to change planning regulations which would affect us greatly, and the effects of plans being proposed by our close neighbour, Sevenoaks Town.

We are here for you.

We may be a small community, but we have a BIG voice.

IMPORTANT NEWS ABOUT THE LEVEL CROSSING JUST SOUTH OF OTFORD STATION

 Network Rail wants to close our level crossing in order to build a huge 62 step foot bridge but…

 • Our crossing is safe and quick, and has been used for 159 years without a single fatality or serious injury.

 • Steps would create a new risk of falls – particularly for the young, older people and the disabled. 

 • Steps would be especially dangerous in wet, icy and snowy conditions. Network Rail refuses to keep the steps clear in bad weather – and no one else will take responsibility for them !

 • The alternative route (if you can’t do steps) is much longer… along the main road, crossing busy traffic lanes twice if going to the Otford shops… the doctors… the village school… etc.

 BUT EVEN MORE ALARMINGLY – Network Rail is now proposing in their ‘Proofs of Evidence’ for the Inquiry this month –

 • ‘Stop up’ the level crossing with new fencing immediately they have a decision in their favour from the Planning Inspectorate.

 • Forcing people to cross the tracks via the bridge in Station Road.

 • Build a new footbridge at some indeterminate date in the future*.

 * We cannot tell how long it would be between closing the level crossing and opening the footbridge – if ever, given the current state of Network Rail’s finances and the poor prospects for a financial recovery as many commuters switch to working from home.  In the interim, everyone – not just the mobility impaired unable to cope with a 62 step footbridge – will be obliged to take the longer Station Road route when needing to cross the tracks.

 IF YOU OBJECT TO THESE MEASURES IT IS IMPORTANT TO EXPRESS YOUR VIEW AT THE INQUIRY !

 Despite intense pressure for a local Public Inquiry (and accessible to all) the Planning Inspectorate continue to insist upon holding a Virtual Inquiry on 26th July, starting at 10am.

 Please take part by registering your interest as soon as possible – by emailing:  yvonne.oddy@planninginspectorate.gov.uk or by phoning: 0303 444 5463

 Ref. ROW/3201659  Footpath SR49, Pilgrims Way (Otford Kent) Rail Crossing Diversion Order

Read our Objection Note  [PDF, 72 pages].

Please support local democracy, please support grass-roots common sense

Road safety has long been a major issue for the Otford community, and the Otford Society has supported the efforts of the Traffic Management Group of the Otford Parish Council and Kent Highways to address this.

In 2007 the Otford Society carried out a survey of residents in which over 91% of respondents expressed concerns about the speed of traffic through the village, with clear support for a 20 mph speed limit, particularly in the High Street.

It has taken a long time, but a design for such a speed limit in parts of the village has now been agreed. The final version of the Otford Traffic Calming Scheme put forward for approval by Kent County Council was published in November 2020 and can be viewed online.

Funding has now been approved for the first stage of the scheme, in the High Street and Station Road. As well as the 20mph speed limits, the plans include physical traffic calming measures such as speed tables, road narrowing, a pavement extension for the Pickmoss step and new and clearer crossing area.

Where 20mph limits are not possible, measures are included to enforce current speed limits. This will mean that pedestrians of all ages should feel much safer as a result.

The Parish Council has kindly agreed with our proposal that all the modern direction signs sited around the pond be replaced with 1950s style signage to add an attractive period feel to this hub of Otford life.

Update, July 2021

Funding is now in place and Phase 1 of the work is due to commence in the approaching school holidays to minimise disruption.  Full information on the whole traffic management scheme can be found on the Parish Council web site.

This letter to residents explains the works programme, details of the schedule and the roads affected and the formal KCC road closure notice.

The Otford Society maintains a watching brief on planning proposals in the village, and will spearhead opposition to any that seriously impact on the quality of community life.