Les questions the validity of a Parish Plan based on such a low response from residents.

I have always been interested in figures including the mathematical one’s so I read the Stoke Ferry Parish Plan with interest, compound or otherwise. The question is of course what can you read in to figures? And it may well he whatever you wish.

Let’s assume there are about 1000 people now living in Stoke Ferry and it would seem there are about 22% of them who are aged up to 15 years of age. Well I propose to forget them as I just can’t believe that this age group would be interested in completing Questionnaires, unless they were compelled to do so at school.

This leaves some 78% of the 1000 which is 780 who could have completed these questionnaires. However, only 277 were returned so it is reasonable to assume that only one person completed each one. In that case, only about 27% actually did complete which means that 73% didn’t.

If you now pose a question which may be relevant to Stoke Ferry you can forget the 73% as they are not interested in the question. This leaves 27% who may well be. However, if it transpires that 50% vote in favour, this is 50% of the 27%, which in turn is 13.5%. This means that 87.5% couldn’t care less; a total of 875 out of the initial 1000, at which stage you would be justified in saying, why bother?

It seems to me that there is, it appears, considerable concerns over the closure of some of our village post offices, including Stoke Ferry. Why this is I don’t know as closures of one kind or another have been with us for some years. Years ago, sorry violins at the ready, Barclays Bank came to Stoke Ferry twice a week; eventually this was knocked on the head and yet we lived to tell the tale.

How many pubs and shops have closed over the years in Stoke Ferry? To say nothing of the sale of the Methodist Chapel and Church to the private sector. In addition, sports clubs have hardly experienced boom times. You can delete Stoke Ferry and add whatever village you wish, it’s near enough the same story where ever you go. The question has to be asked, and it is one thing to ask a question, but it is something completely different to implement that question, just where is Stoke Ferry, or indeed any other village in our area, going? And I for one haven’t the faintest idea.

All I do know is that we all today have a standard of living that people years ago could never have envisaged. In those days, it was our villages which were prosperous, while the inhabitants were anything but. Today it’s the other way round; we all take and spend most of our money outside the village much to the delight of such as our supermarkets.

This is the way of the world and it will continue to be so. We may be able to change it but only if we all desire to do so and, I for one, am far from convinced that we want to. Most people are like me, more of the same. After all, what do I do for my village’? And the answer is not a lot.

Les Lawrence

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