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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com
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.