Due to 2020 Covid legislation, allowing local government meetings to be held virtually, was not extended by the government beyond 7th May, as expected. Guidance from the local government advisory bodies was that meetings can only be held face to face. The Council felt that there was not a practical way to hold this event safely, meeting social distancing requirements for all attendees. It was therefore cancelled. We hope to be able to hold this community event in 2022.
Our guest speakers kindly adapted the presentations/reports that would have shown/discussed at the 2021 event, so they make sense without a spoken narrative.
Report by Chief Inspector John Halfacre, Hart & Rushmoor District Commander, Hampshire Constabulary – Reflecting on a challenging year for Local Policing and looking forward to the year ahead.
Hook & Odiham Lions Presentation
Presentation by Mark Hazell on behalf of Hook & Odiham Lions – Discussing The Lions recent activities and opportunities and the Village Connect. What is it, what is to come and successes to date.
Hart Voluntary Action Presentation
Presentation by Caroline Winchurch, Chairman of Hart Voluntary Action (HVH) -Discussing HVA Covid response and recovery, support for Hook community organisations and residents and other current and planned activity.
In addition to the presentations, the following questions were sent in by residents
Question 1: Our latest Council Tax bill shows another increase in funding to Hampshire PCC, up by 7.1%. In 2020/21 the increase was 5% and in 19/20 it was 13.5%. The Covid situation has seen a perceived increase in petty crime (eg drug usage, ‘speeding’ boy racers, bike theft and break-ins). I suffered from a theft of cycles from my property in 2013 which was attended by a PCSO – since that time, apart from the odd patrol car passing through the village, I have seen no sign of any police presence in the village. With the population growth happening at pace can we expect to see changes which would show a return on our continued council tax investment
Answer: This question was sent to Chief Inspector Halfacre and he advised that his report covers this question.
Question 2: What are Councils doing about the deteriorating state of the roads around Hook with areas looking suspiciously like subsidence. Even reporting online (Fix My Street) does not bring attention – except maybe to paint white lines around the area.
Answer: We raised this with your County Councillor Jonathan Glen. This is his response.
Highway Maintenance can be considered to fall into one of 3 categories:
- Small scale ‘safety defect’ repairs e.g. potholes, rocking slabs, broken ironwork etc
- Small scale ‘non-safety’ repairs e.g. patching of roads/footways
- Larger scale planned works e.g. carriageway/footway resurfacing and drainage improvements (Operation Resilience)
Like most Highway Authorities Hampshire Highways has a Highway Safety Inspection process with guidance on ‘Investigatory levels’ to help staff assess whether a specific defect is considered to be a safety defect or not. As an example not every pothole is considered to be a safety defect under our Inspection process if below certain dimensions.
All publicly maintainable roads and footways receive scheduled safety inspections according to their level of use at a frequency of between 1/month down to 1/24 months in accordance with the National Code of Good Practice. Any safety defects (as defined by our Inspection policy) noted during an inspection are recorded and repairs automatically ordered with a priority related to a Risk Assessment based on the Likelihood & Severity any safety defect is likely to cause. Safety defects may also arise as the result of investigation following the logging of enquiries by members of the public and these will be assessed and prioritised in the same manner.
Not every highway defect noted or reported meets the criteria to be considered as a ‘safety defect’ under Hampshire Highways Safety Inspection policy. Whilst we would like to be able to repair all highway defects this is just not possible as the quantity of these ‘non-safety’ defects always exceeds the available financial/staff resources. Consequently, decisions on whether to repair non-safety defects depend on a number of factors including finance and workloads/work priorities and may change during the year.
The map below summarises the location of jobs in the Hook area raise last financial year and this. Green is for completed jobs and red for outstanding. These will include both safety & non-safety defects and any other works ordered e.g. jetting of gullies. Whilst I am sure there are many other defects that we would have liked to repair that will be the same for every Parished/unparished area but does demonstrate that the roads and footways in Hook have not been ignored.
Larger scale resurfacing of footways & carriageways plus drainage improvement schemes are based on Asset Management condition data. Part of the funding received from national Government by Local Authorities for highways is based on the degree to which they are utilising Asset Management practices in their forward works planning. Hampshire is in the highest band for this and the yearly Planned Maintenance Programme (Operation Resilience) is compiled on a Countywide basis from examination of the asset management condition data alongside other information such as accident data and Claims.
The Operation Resilience programme for 2021/22 has yet to be finalised so I am unable to say definitely what further works in Hook will be undertaken during 2021/22. However, I have asked for the A30 between Griffin Way South/North Rbt and (approximately) The Old White Hart to be considered for inclusion again as the development to the east of Hook prevented the road space being obtained previously. I hope it will be able to be funded during 2021/22 but this is not certain currently but possibly Members will be notified of planned works in their areas at some point after the Induction of new Members has been completed.
There is mention of possible subsidence in the question and certainly a significant proportion of Hook that expanded in the 1980’s was built on clay and therefore is sensitive to clay shrinkage/swelling due to changes in moisture content. However, the only area we currently suspect may have some significant ‘subsidence’ is in Rooksdown Close. I understand it is suspected this may relate to a Thames Water pipe so this matter has been referred to them via a ‘Section 81’ notification. Keith Thompson and the local Highway Engineer for the area (Colin Harris) are dealing with that. In the interim the depressions in the carriageway have been filled.
I would recommend specific enquiries can be reported through our website https://www.hants.gov.uk/transport/roadmaintenance/roadproblems rather than through ‘Fix My Street’. The HCC website also has the ability to locate issues on a map and obtain a unique reference number for each location/issue. You can also see any other enquiries logged for a given location.
It is worth noting that our priority is always to prioritise highway safety defects and order repairs within the appropriate timescales. Non-safety defect repairs are generally ordered on much longer timescales to allow the most flexibility and efficiency in their programming. It is also undoubtedly true that the pandemic has impacted on the resources available both in terms of the availability of plant/machinery and different working methods to comply with social distancing rules. Despite the major disruption to all aspects of modern life over the last 15 months Hampshire Highways has operated continually over this period keeping highways safe, albeit with fluctuations in resources and changes to working methods.
We received a number of questions regarding day parking of cars on Sheldons Lane, Hook at its junction with the A30. We have cumulated the question into one. We raised this with Hart District Council and their response is below
Question 3: The issue of cars parking on Sheldons Lane at and near the A30 junction was raised initially around 2 years ago. Parking at this location effectively narrows the road to a single lane and makes negotiation of the junction extremely dangerous. In particular, the view for vehicles on Sheldons Lane heading to the A30 and those entering Sheldons Lane from the A30 east bound direction have a much restricted view of the junction due to trees and shrubbery. This situation is exacerbated by the speed at which vehicles east bound on the A30 enter the junction.
I believe it was said that this issue was going to be investigated by HCC and if agreed, appropriate road markings/parking restrictions would be put in place along with any necessary signage.
Can an update on this action be given along with an explanation as to why this issue has not yet been dealt with?
Answer: The Traffic Order (TRO) advertised in autumn 2019, is in the process of being implemented. The lining has been marked and will be in place very shortly. The rest is on-hold pending supply from the sign manufacture. For information, the period for implementation of a TRO is 24 months [2-years] from the date on which the proposals to the order were first published. This is in line with the Local Authorities Traffic Orders (Procedure) (England and Wales) Regulation 1996 s16.2. The Local Authorities’ Traffic Orders (Procedure) (England and Wales) Regulations 1996 (legislation.gov.uk)