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News Bulletin: April 2004

The Annual Village Meeting will take place in the Elizabeth Hall at 8pm on Tuesday 27thApril. This is your opportunity to ask questions on issues that impact on Hook. The main agenda item will be the plan to build a new Elizabeth Hall. It will be complex to provide a modern building to cater for the future needs of Hook and the project will, inevitably, cost a lot of money. Please do come along to hear about the project and ask your questions. The Parish Council Annual Report will be distributed to every house in Hook by mid April. This year, for the first time, the report will contain a questionnaire.

The responses are required to provide vital input to the Village Plan. The plan is crucially important as it will become the main way in which we can influence our own future destiny as a community. Please return the questionnaire Freepost to the Parish Clerk so that we can analyse your views. It is also important that we gain the views of clubs, groups and other organisations currently in the village. Would Chairpersons please ask the Parish Clerk (tel: 768687) for additional copies of the questionnaire to promote the views of your organisation. Please state clearly the organisation being represented on the questionnaire. The higher the response rate the greater the credibility the planning system will attach to our recommendations! Results will be published at a public meeting later in the year.

Recent road safety data shows that Hart is one of only two districts in the entire country where child road casualties rose last year. Over half of the child casualties in Hart were caused by children inside the car not wearing seat belts when there was an accident. Most of these were on the school run. Typically the car stopped suddenly and the unbelted child was propelled at high speed into the back of the front seat or the windscreen with tragic consequences. Please be sure to use your seat belts and make sure your children do too!

We have recently received a number of complaints about the state of the pond on the junction of Newnham Road and Carlton Close. Hook 2000, which originally installed the pond, was a Millennium group that has now disbanded, so the Parish will need to resolve the situation. It is our understanding that the concept, as a wildlife pond, was intended to be self sustaining (apart from rubbish removal!) so we are contacting the Hampshire Wildlife Trust, which was involved in the design, to evaluate the way forward.

As a result of continual vandalism, and the use of their car park for free parking by drivers who are shopping and doing the school run so blocking in medical cars that would be needed in an emergency, the surgery has applied to install two metre high fencing along their East and West boundaries. The proposal includes a pedestrian only gate to the Reading Road Car Park, which would be locked outside surgery hours, and a pedestrian gate and staff only vehicle gate from Elms Road which would also be locked when the surgery is closed. We are concerned at this scheme to install industrial estate style fencing in the relatively safe centre of central Hook and feel that the loss of the ability to walk through, what is admittedly a private car park, would be a disadvantage to the Community as a whole. We will be talking to the surgery, in conjunction with Hart District Council, in order to find a mutually satisfactory solution.

After considerable thought, we have decided to recruit a Deputy Clerk to take key day to day responsibility for Planning issues and for the administration of our Parks and open spaces. This will bring our salaried support to two people : Anne Atkins as Parish Clerk on a full time basis, Julie Ridley as Administrative Assistant and our new team member both working half time. All three will be based in the Parish Council Office giving us much greater flexibility and allowing us to work more effectively than was the case when our support was home based. A more detailed notice is published in Focus magazine.

Antony Hunter – Parish Councillor