Major Planning Applications – The summer months are often quiet on the planning front. We anticipate the application for Owen’s Farm to come forward during July and will publish any updates via our website, noticeboards and Hook announcements mailing list (see website for details of how to join). The NE Hook application is not expected to progress before the autumn.
At the end of May we were advised that the application for demolition of the existing Hook Tesco store and construction of a new, larger store was withdrawn. We have no information as to whether a new application will be made in the future.
Neighbourhood Plan (NP) – In June the first meeting of the Neighbourhood Plan (NP) Steering Group took place. There are eight members of this group and the first meeting was very positive and productive. Further meetings will look at the themes e.g. economy, transport, environment etc. A larger group will be formed in order to involve more people in looking at specific areas and communication with a wider audience.
Key considerations which will need to be addressed in the coming months are funding, establishing an evidence base, publicity and communications. If you, or your organisation, are interested in becoming part of the group please contact the Parish Council.
Bus services – After the initial review period, the budget for the Taxi Bus trial has been reducing more quickly than anticipated, with some service runs not being adequately used. The small grant from HCC was far less than was hoped for and could only be used for the survey, publicity and licencing costs. In June the Parish Council decided unanimously to keep the trial service running, for as long as the agreed budget allows. Some service runs are popular and have proved to be a lifeline for the residents using them. However, as the early morning and evening services have not been used sufficiently a new timetable will start from 17th July. This will operate initially on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday on a 4 trip per day timetable. It is hoped that increased usage will enable the additional service times to be resumed in the future.
Hook Community Centre – With the installation of the steelwork the pace of construction has increased. Fitting of sections of the roof has commenced. External cladding is being removed ready to be replaced.
Have Your Say in Hart – Small Grant Scheme for voluntary and community groups re-opens for 2014 - Voluntary or community groups in Hart can apply for a small grant of between £250 and £1,000. The deadline is 11th July. Criteria and application information can be obtained from Hart Voluntary Action on 01252 815652, www.hartvolaction.org.uk or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
The 2014 Annual Village Meeting (AVM) was attended by 233 residents, councillors and exhibitors on 24th April. The Chairman, Iain Chalmers, presented two awards for Outstanding Service to the Community. The first was to Andy Travell, in recognition of over 20 years involvement with Hook Scouts. In particular, for providing an opportunity for scouts to experience controlled rifle shooting. Some scouts have entered county and national competitions.
The second award went to Hook Care Group, which provides a self-funding voluntary car service to take people to their medical appointments at local hospitals, when they cannot use other transport. The award was accepted on behalf of the Group by their Chairman, David Burke. In accepting the award, he paid tribute to the all the volunteer drivers and coordinators.
The main item on the AVM Agenda was a presentation on new planning regulations and the status of the Local Plan by Mr Daryl Phillips, Corporate Director (Planning) Hart District Council. This was very detailed and informative and clearly set out the position on housing development from the Government, District and Parish Council perspectives. Due to the number of questions received it was not possible to answer them at the meeting. In early June draft minutes of the AVM will be available on the Parish Council’s website. Appended to the minutes will be Daryl Phillips presentation, along with responses to questions, not covered by his presentation.
Major Planning Applications – Around 150 residents attended a display for the 550 dwellings at NE Hook application, held at Basingstoke Country Hotel on 26th April. The application for NE Hook and an outline application for Land at Owen’s Farm were considered by the Parish Council’s Planning Committee on 7th May, in the presence of 25 residents. In both cases the Committee objected, primarily on the overall housing numbers, as well as the inadequate sewage system, traffic and transport. The full comments on both sites can be found on our website.
In May an application was received for alterations to Gregory House, which is owned and managed by Sentinel Housing Association. This application is for a change from a residential institution (sheltered housing), into individual flats for active people over 55 years of age who are on Sentinel’s housing register. The existing building will be retained and altered internally to create 28 new 1 and 2 bedroom dwellings – 9 less than at present. The scheme includes installation of a lift, a buggy store, new heating and laundry facilities for both the main building and adjacent bungalows. There will also be increased parking spaces.
Neighbourhood Plans (NPs) – In the light of recent advice from Hart District Council, a resolution was passed at the Parish Council meeting on 7th May, to form a Steering Group. The group will establish how to take this to the wider community and move forward with preparing a Neighbourhood Plan for Hook. Initially this group will consist of 4 Councillors and 4 residents, who have already expressed an interest in being involved in Neighbourhood Plans. More information will be published in Focus as the work of the group gets underway. As it is likely a team of 20-30 volunteers will be needed in due course, we are keen to hear from groups or individuals interested in being involved.
Bus services – The Taxi Bus has new signage to make it easier to identify the vehicles. The Parish Council is reviewing the timetable and passenger numbers in the light of the subsidy for the trial. Every passenger, whether paying a full fare or a concessionary pass holder, will help to reduce the subsidy required for the service. Please give us your feedback on this service and use it if you can.
Hook Wellbeing Directory – This provides information on services to help promote health, wellbeing and active involvement in clubs and organisations for older Hook residents. Copies are available from Hook Churches, the Doctors Surgery, Elizabeth Hall, Trees Newsagents, Inclusion, the Village Agents, Parish Council Office and website.
Hook Community Centre – At the time of writing delivery of the steelworks is imminent. The car park had to be partial closed before half term, to enable the roofing material to be cut to size. The Internal block and stud partition work is complete.
At the Annual Parish Council Meeting in May Iain Chalmers was re-elected Chairman of the Council. Robert Leppard remains as Vice Chairman. Debra Davies and Gordon Winter become Chair of Planning and Amenities respectively. Anthony Hawkins will continue to Chair the Development Strategy Committees.
Major planning Applications – An application for 550 homes on the NE Hook site was received in April, with a comments deadline of 30th April. A display of the application was held at the Basingstoke Country Hotel on 26th April, so residents had an opportunity to view the full size plans. The application will be considered by the Parish Council’s Planning Committee on 7th May.
Although the original indications for the NE Hook site were for 500 homes, the failed Local Plan actually specified 500 plus “100 on sites yet to be identified". As Hart believes the site can accommodate the additional 50 housing in the current application, the draft Interim Development Strategy shows 550 on the NE Hook site plus “50 sites yet to be identified". However, in the intervening period there have been consultations by developers on a number of other sites and applications have come forward for 130 homes at High Ridge Farm and Reading Road.
Following consultations by the developer earlier in the year, we understand that an outline application has been received for a site at Owens Farm, accessed via Hop Garden Road. At the time of writing the application had not been validated (a check that all documentation and fee payments are correct). The application may be on Hart’s website by the time Focus is published.
The Parish Council has written to Rt Hon James Arbuthnot expressing concerns about the level of development proposed in Hook and seeking his support.
Neighbourhood Plans (NPs) – Contrary to advice previously received, Hart District Council is now advising that some communities should embark on preparing a Neighbourhood Plan. It considers that this should take about 18 months to put in place and so would fit in with the timetable for the new Local Plan. A recent report by Hart District Council states “Last year, the District Council had anticipated that it would have in place a new Local Plan that would have delivered relatively modest growth dispersed across the District. The intention was that the Core Strategy would identify general areas for growth but that site specific developments would be identified through a subsequent Site Allocation Development Plan. In those circumstances, unless identified as an area for significant growth, there was for most communities no pressing need to bring forward neighbourhood plans. The new Local Plan will have to deliver a much higher level of growth than previously anticipated particularly as it is the government’s objective to significantly boost the supply of new housing. The new Local Plan will also have to ensure that it has more specifically identified deliverable sites for the first 10 years of the Plan albeit that growth may initially be limited by the SPA ‘cap’” For more information on Neighbourhood Plan guidance www.gov.uk/government/publications/neighbourhood-planning.
To move forward with a Hook Neighbourhood Plan, the team will need to comprise a minimum of 21 people who live or work in Hook. Please contact us if you are interested in participating in the process.
Bus services – Hampshire County Council have to save £1.2 to £1.5 million from the transport budget next year. They have a consultation in progress and it is most important that residents make their views known about the bus service serving Hook. In 2011 only one person responded and the No 10 bus route was shortened to Odiham only, no longer going through to Camberley. At the same time the funding ran out for the Holt Park to Basingstoke route. This caused considerable problems for some residents. Consultation questionnaires are available from the Post Office, Trees Newsagents and from the Hampshire County Council Website at www.hants.gov.uk/transportconsultation2014. The closing date for comments is 31st May. Buses can become a lifeline when circumstances change. Please let your views be known.
Hook Community Centre – New walls are going up for the extension housing the changing/ toilet areas and the joists are in place for the first floor Club Room. Internal walls and supports for the staircase to the new first floor are mostly in place. Once the steelwork arrives in May we will see the front elevation taking shape.
Tennis Courts - With the better weather it is good to see Hook Junior School is now making good use of both the Tennis and Multicourts on a regular basis. Outside of the times booked by the school, the courts are free to use on a first come first serve basis.
Annual Village Meeting - The meeting will take place on 23rd April at the Elizabeth Hall. Entrance will be from 8pm when there will be an opportunity to visit exhibitors representing a variety of local organisations providing activities and support within Hook. If you have not previously attended the Annual Village Meeting, this is a great opportunity to learn more about what goes on in Hook and make new contacts.
Hart District Council Corporate Director, Daryl Phillips, has been invited to speak about the failure of the Local Plan and what that means for Hook. Also, we have a number of new exhibitors this year, including Hook Young@Heart Club and the Citizens Advice.
The agenda and a full list of exhibitors can be seen on the Parish Council website and noticeboards. The formal meeting, with answers to your questions, will start at 8.30 pm. Please submit questions by 16th April to email@example.com or by post or by hand to the Parish Council Office. This will enable any necessary research to be carried out and the most suitable person briefed to have an answer available. This will also help us to concentrate on the topics of greatest concern.
Parish Council Annual Report – The 2013-14 Report will be delivered to every household early in April. Watch out for it arriving through your door.
Major Planning Applications – At the time of writing we have been advised that the planning application for NE Hook will be submitted by the beginning of April. Please watch out for information about public consultations via our usual communication channels.
Neighbourhood Plans (NPs) – It has been suggested that Neighbourhood Plans are a way of resisting development of the type facing Hook. Though this is not the case, there may be other benefits. However, we still need to wait for Hart to be able to offer the essential resources required for the formulation of the NP. The Parish Council is determined to move forward with producing an NP and a resident has already kindly offered to lead a group on producing a Plan. We would be interested to hear from local people also wishing to participate in the process.
Bus services – Spring has sprung, so why not plan a trip out using the No 30 bus? Perhaps to have lunch in one of the nearby towns, garden centres or pubs and make more of a day out by combining it with a shopping trip. Not only is it easy to do this at any of the stops between Basingstoke, Fleet and Farnborough, but from various points along the route. Connections to Overton, Whitchurch, Andover, Winchester and more can all be reached on a bus from Hook. The new Circular Route 1 taxi bus, not only allows residents of the east side of Hook to access the centre, it can be used for a trip from the centre for a pub lunch and a walk at Bassetts Mead or visit friends? We are eager to hear about your creative journeys. Please write to us so we can inspire others to use our bus services.
Hook Community Centre – Work is now underway on the ground and drainage works, footings for the three extensions and internal walls. Completion of the work is on schedule for September of this year, and we will be posting more progress reports as the project continues.
Road works Crooked Billet – Planned replacement of the Fulsome Bridge parapets on the A30, adjacent to the Crooked Billet, is due to start on 7th April. Work will last approx. 26 weeks, due to the number of services carried over the bridges and will be undertaken on both bridges simultaneously. The A30 will be kept open with temporary reduced speed limit. However, each bridge will be closed for one night (from 9.00pm to 4.00am) at the start of the roadwork and one night at the end. Advance warning signs giving dates and duration of closures will be erected at site two weeks prior to closing the road.
New Leisure Centre for Fleet – The proposal for a new leisure centre to replace the current one at Hitches Lane, is going to cost £20-30m. As a significant part of this cost will be borne by residents, the Parish Council would like to hear whether you make use of the current facility or not. Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Highway Maintenance - Many residents are kind enough to report maintenance issues to the Parish Council office. However, it is not always convenient to do so during office hours. Hampshire County Council has an easy to use website for reporting all highway maintenance issues, including pot holes, drainage problems, overgrown hedges & verges, damaged signs, worn carriageway lining, street lighting etc. www.hants.gov.uk/roadproblems or call 0845 603 56 33. You can also do this through ‘Fix My Street.
Major Planning Applications - Hart District Council’s Planning Committee considered two very contentious applications on 12th February 2014. These were for 70 dwellings on land adjacent to Reading Road and 60 dwellings on land at High Ridge Farm, accessed from Brown Croft. Focus copy deadlines have prevented us from being able to provide the decision from the meeting, but at the time of writing the planning officers have recommended that planning permission should be granted as there are no planning reasons for refusal.
Hart District is required to make its own provision and current estimates are that this could be in the region of 350 to 400 houses per annum over the next 20 years, a total of 7,000 to 8,000. Because there is little brownfield land in Hart most of these will be on greenfield sites. Hook is one of the largest settlements in Hart and is considered to be one of the more sustainable locations for new development because of its communication links (especially the railway station), and its facilities, shops and schools together with its business opportunities plus the fact that there are few significant landscape and environmental constraints.
Whilst the situation is unpalatable, the Local Plan has failed examination and Hook only has limited protection under the Interim Housing Delivery Strategy. Therefore Hart is currently unable to demonstrate sufficient housing land supply, so is unable to provide a valid planning defence against the two applications. Initial work on the new Local Plan indicates that there will be an increased housing requirement for . Hart so the housing numbers in the three current proposals may well be required in addition to the NE Hook proposal when the new Local Plan is published.
The NPPF's (National Planning Policy Framework published by the Government) contains a presumption in favour of development in line with the Government's objective to significantly boost the supply of new housing. This means that any objections have to be based on sound planning evidence contradicting Government policy, which the Parish Council cannot produce.
The Parish Council, in line with its policy, objects to all applications other than those already specified in the Interim Strategy. However, when applications become unpreventable, it is often best to take a pragmatic approach and accept that new housing is inevitable whilst trying to secure the best gains for the local community.
For a more detailed explanation of this complex situation, please refer to our website - www.hook.gov.uk/council/development.php
Taxi Bus – The Taxi Bus trial service began on 17th February. Timetables, route information and ticket prices can be seen at www.capitalcars-hook.co.uk or via the link on our website.
Road works affecting Hook - We have had separate notices from Highways, South East Water and the Highways Agency of road works which will affect London Road (A3) at the Crooked Billet and the M3 J5/roads into Hook. Work will coincide during March and April, but continue until September and some traffic light controlled road closures will be required. Repairs to the M3 bridge over a section of Totters Lane will also mean traffic lights and some overnight closure. Delays are inevitable. Further information is available through planned publicity or on their respective websites.
Hook Community Centre - We are settled in at the rear of the construction site and visitors have managed to find us, despite signage getting repeatedly blown away in the wind. Demolition has continued and the building is now little more than a shell. The coming weeks will see scaffolding, steelworks, ground works and drainage underway. Work to create the new entrance/staircase to The Base got underway and a temporary entrance has been created to enable further internal demolition to create space for the main kitchen area.
Community Awards – If you would like to nominate somebody who makes a real difference to the village, please write or e-mail the Clerk We have extended the deadline for receipt of nominations to 14th March.
Annual Village Meeting – Wednesday 23rd April 2014.
Major Planning Applications
At the Planning Committee meeting on 8th January major applications were considered. One was for 60 dwellings on land at High Ridge Farm with proposed access off Brown Croft. The second application was on land adjacent to Reading Road, for 70 dwellings.
Hart District Council Interim Housing Delivery Strategy indicates that the new housing allocation for Hook will be 550 dwellings on North East Hook and a further 50 dwellings on a site yet to be agreed. In accordance with policy the Parish Council trust that the remaining site will come forward at a later date via a Site Allocations and Development Management DPD after consultation and agreement with Officers, residents and the Parish Council. As a result,
the Parish Council objected to the proposals and submitted a list of points. The full responses can be viewed by searching on the application number on the Planning Portal at publicaccess.hart.gov.uk/online-applications.
In both cases the proposed development is outside the settlement boundary and is, therefore, development in the Countryside and is not in accordance with the Saved Policies of the Local Plan 1996-2006. The proposal would also erode the gap between Hook and the adjoining villages of Newnham and Rotherwick. Key objections were also raised in respect of water supply, concerns over the sustainability of the proposed solutions to address the lack of capacity at the sewage pumping station, traffic and transport strategy.
In December an application was also received for an opinion on whether an Environmental Impact Assessment (known as an EIA) is required in respect of a proposed development on Owens Farm, accessed via Hop Garden Road (13/02611/EIAE). Concerned and believing this to be a Planning Application, a number of residents responded. The Parish Council has published a summary explanation from the Corporate Director at Hart District Council, responsible for Planning to assist residents in understanding the process. The explanation can be found here.
Sainsbury’s Application and Tesco Expansion
The Sainsbury application (13/01145/MAJOR) Land on the North Side of London Road Hook Hampshire was considered by the Planning Committee at Hart District Council on Wednesday 15th January 2014 the determination was not known in time to allow inclusion due to the Focus copy deadline 14th January 2014. The Officer recommendation was for approval of the application subject to planning conditions and a referral to the Secretary of State. The referral to the Secretary of State is because this proposal is a departure from the Local Plan and the size of the proposal. This is common procedure.
Tesco carried out a public consultation recently regarding the proposed new store. At the time of writing the outline planning application had been submitted to Hart District Council but not validated. As this was not a valid application, it could not be taken into account for the determination of the Sainsbury application.
An outline application is submitted to establish the principle of development and normally the access arrangements. All other matters are reserved to a later more detailed application.
At their January Meeting the Parish Council set the precept (the Hook portion of the Council Tax) for 2014-15 at £313,000. Depending on the total tax base (the number of houses in Hook paying Council Tax) this will probably be a slight reduction from last year in terms of cost per household.
January at Hook Community Centre
The heavy rain over Christmas and the generally gloomy weather did little to make the start of work easy for anyone. Demolition is in full swing, although this is currently all internal stripping out, so there is little to see from the outside, apart from the ‘blue can’ site office and compound now established at the rear. The Village Nursery opened in its new temporary accommodation in the squash courts, initially accessed via the side corridor. The play area is taking shape and children are settling into their new environment well. The excessive rain delayed construction of the new access via the rear gate. Consequently this impacted on the Parish Council moving into the temporary office. Signs direct visitors to the new entrance from the front of the building
The Hook Community Awards recognise voluntary works and achievements for the benefit of our Community by individuals or businesses. The awards are presented at the Hook Annual Village Meeting in April. If you would like to nominate somebody who makes a real difference to the village, please write or e-mail the Clerk by the end of February.
New Tesco Store Proposed for Hook
Tesco are proposing an expansion of the existing site in Station Road. Consultation was carried out at the store on Tuesday 17th December to shape the future of the new store. The new store will incorporate the site currently occupied by the much valued and well respected Rawlings family. Draft (Indicative plans) includes 31,984 sq ft of sales area and 322 customer parking spaces. Access points and the design of the significant elevations are still under review.
Further consultations will be carried out with Hart District Council and the Parish Council in the New Year.
Community Centre Refurbishment
At the time of writing work has commenced on creating the temporary facility for the Hook Village Nursery and the Parish Council. The Base will remain open in its present location.
During the week commencing 6th January 2014 the Parish Council office and Village Nursery will be relocated into temporary accommodation at the rear of the Community Centre. Access will be via the rear gate on the footpath adjacent to the houses beside the rear of the building.
Provision has been made to enable the Base to continue to operate as normal.
The Parish Council office will be closed to the public during the week of 6th January while we organise ourselves into the temporary cabins and re-establish phone and internet connections. All contact details will remain the same, but an emergency contact number will be on our website and noticeboards during any period of closure. Once settled in our new office we expect to continue to offer a high standard of service, but would ask residents to bear with us during the construction.
As mentioned last month, parking on site will be restricted during the weekdays due to the level of construction vehicles needing to park.
The Parish Council would like to thank The Village Nursery and The Base committee members, staff and parents for their continued support during what will be a challenging time for all of us remaining on site during the construction.
Change of Parish Council Meeting Venue in 2014
Due to the closure of the Community Centre, all meetings of the Parish Council and its Committees will be relocated to Elizabeth Hall from January 2014 until the construction work is completed.
The Calendar of meetings for 2014 and agendas can be found on the Parish Council noticeboards and our website at www.hook.gov.uk.
Taxi Bus Trial
Capital Cars are currently waiting for their Special PSV Operators Licence to be granted to enable them to run the Taxi Bus Service. We expect this licence to be in place at the end of December and we will then be able to apply to the Traffic Commissioners for a start date for the Taxi Bus Service to begin.
We hope to get the go ahead in January before the 100 bus service stops in early February. Timetables will be circulated in advance of the service starting and new bus stops will appear with the Capital Cars Logo.
There are many ‘unsung heroes’ in Hook that deserve recognition for their voluntary efforts and achievements which have been of benefit of our Community. We are keen to receive nominations for our 2014 Community Awards, which will be presented at the Hook Annual Village Meeting in April. The nominations can be for individuals, groups or businesses that have made a sustained voluntary contribution in Hook. Please send nominations to the Clerk in writing or e-mail by the end of March.
SAVE THE DATE – Annual Village Meeting 23rd April 2014.