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News Bulletin: April 2009

The Annual Village Meeting will take place on Wednesday 22nd April at the Elizabeth Hall from 8pm. Between 8pm and the start of the formal meeting at 8.45pm there will be the opportunity to walk round and talk to some of the many organisations with which we work so closely during the year. These will include Highways, Hart District Council, Hampshire Wildlife Trust, the Police and Neighbourhood Watch, The Base Youth Club and, for the first time, The Hook Allotment Association, Hook Local History Group and O.C.H.R.E.(Odiham Cottage Hospital). During the evening we will be presenting the first Hook Community Awards. Numbers attending the meeting continue to grow and we hope to welcome even more people this April. So as to be sure that we do any necessary research ahead of the meeting and arrange for the most appropriate person to provide an answer we ask that questions for the meeting be submitted in advance to or by letter to our office by Tuesday 14th April. Questions submitted after that date or on the evening itself will be answered if time allows.

At the 2008 Annual Village Meeting we showed a few pieces of equipment that might be included in an Outdoor Gym. Work has progressed so we will be exhibiting photographs of equipment from three different manufacturers at this year’s A.V.M. and asking those attending to express their preference. So do come along and help us by providing your comments.

Following earlier announcements in Focus we have received some excellent suggestions for winners of our new Community Award and our assessment panel is in the process of making decisions. We look forward to congratulating the first award winners at the Annual Village Meeting.

Last month we mentioned that Hart planned to close the public toilets by the car park and provide alternative facilities by making annual payments to a range of pubs to open their facilities to the public. We have been investigating the feasibility of taking over the management of the toilets to save them from closure but the operating costs at around £10,000 to £15,000 a year look prohibitive. Even worse news is Hart’s forecast that almost £100,000 would need to be spent on them in the next few years to bring them up to modern standards. We are trying to establish what Hart would do with the building if the toilets were to close. We have only received a very small number of objections to their closure.

Many of the softer type of plants between Casa Flora and the bus stop have been trampled on and as a result the area has been looking a bit bleak. The prickly type of plant has been holding up well so we have filled in the empty spaces with more of these tougher plants.

In the run up to Easter the tennis courts next to the Community Centre will be jet washed to remove several years of accumulated dirt. After Easter the tennis courts and multi-court will be closed for about a week for repainting and renewal of the white lines. Although we will remove the tennis nets it will help the courts and the paint to dry out if people respect the fact that they are temporarily closed for maintenance!

The Anne Pitcher play area at Holt Park next to the railway and at the southern end of the estate is very low lying and suffers from drainage problems. Work is currently under way to install additional drainage of surface water.

Some five years ago the Government relaxed the regulations for licensing of the sale of alcohol. This has made it much easier for new premises to gain a licence for the sale of drink for consumption “off the premises.” The Texaco Garage on London Road has recently applied for a licence. The Parish Council, Schools, the Rector, our District Councillors and the Police, along with a number of residents, have expressed concern particularly as to the potential sale to underage drinkers. The licensing rules are slanted towards the applicant and towards granting applications but with scope for a review if significant problems occur, so it seems likely that the licence will be granted.

Antony Hunter – Parish Councillor