Section 4: Social and Economic Character; Public Administration

Eastling is a small village, and most of its population have a sense of community, based on face-to-face recognition and contact with neighbours and other residents. These social relationships are reinforced by village facilities, chief among which are the Church, the School, the Village Hall and the Public House. The Church is also instrumental in issuing a monthly news-sheet to all houses in the Parish, keeping local people in touch with events.

The Civil and Ecclesiastical Parishes of Eastling are co-terminous, and are shown on the accompanying map.

The Ecclesiastical Parish falls within the Diocese of Canterbury. It is governed by the Eastling Parochial Church Council, which is an autonomous body operating under the direction of the Priest-in-Charge within the bounds of Ecclesiastical Law and Measures. It is responsible to the Diocese of Canterbury, and reports to the Canterbury Diocesan Synod.

The (Civil) Parish is governed by Eastling Parish Council, which has 5 elected members whose remit is to look after the well being of residents, to consider planning applications and ensure the overall well-being of the various aspects of village life which come under its control.

The local District council is Swale Borough Council, based at Sittingbourne but with a local office in Faversham. Eastling forms part of its Swale East Division, and the East Downs ward and helps to elect one member to Swale Borough Council.

Swale Borough Council area forms part of the Faversham and Mid-Kent Parliamentary Constituency. It is also part of the UK (South East) European Union Constituency.

Very little employment is available in the village, and only a limited number of Eastling residents are employed within the parish. The School, the Public House and agriculture are employers on a modest scale; and a small number of residents are self-employed and can work from their homes. So the majority of the working population must find employment outside the village, some in Faversham, others in Canterbury, Maidstone, the Medway Towns, London or elsewhere.

The approximate percentage breakdown of occupations for those employed, as published in the Eastling Parish Appraisal 2001 was as follows:

Lecturing/Teaching: 28%

Management: 16%

Financial Services: 12%

Agriculture: 7%

Architecture/Surveying: 7%

Public Relations: 5%

Law: 5%

Police: 5%

Gardening: 3%

Computing: 3%

Catering: 3%

Boat Design: 2%

Engraving: 2%

Travel Services: 2%

The Parish Appraisal also indicated the approximate breakdown of employment for the population as follows:

Retired: 15%

Self-employed: 11%

In full-time employment: 33%

In part-time employment: 7%

In full-time education: 19%

Disabled and not in employment: 4%

Otherwise employed: 12%

The Appraisal showed that about 19% of those employed were engaged in manual work, and about 50% were professionals

The Appraisal also showed that the majority of the parish's population were in the working age range between 25 and 64. The following are approximate percentages:

Under 5 years: 9%

5-10 years: 8%

11-18 years: 8%

19-24 years: 7%

25-44 years: 31%

45-64 years: 28%

Over 65 years: 9%

The majority of residents would describe themselves as UK citizens, and there is a small minority of residents from other EU countries (France, Netherlands, Ireland). The village is not popular with ethnic minorities.

For many people Eastling is clearly an attractive place to live notwithstanding its immediate lack of employment and other opportunities; most residents are here through positive choice. However, there has been little new development in Eastling since the redevelopment of housing at The Glebe.

As in the rest of south-east England, house prices in Eastling have risen in recent years far beyond the rate of inflation. Unless the village's future population is to be almost exclusively affluent, provision will be needed for affordable housing to accommodate those younger households on their first rung of the housing ladder. Sites for large developments may be limited. Modest new houses, flats formed from larger residences, possibly with conversions of non-residential buildings, could all play a part.

Section 5

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