The Dorchester Arms junction has been a cause of concern for many years, both for its accident rate and because the layout encourages people to drive straight through Hook rather than to divert via the M3 Junction. We have been advised that funding to install either traffic lights or a roundabout at the junction is expected to be available in the 2001 / 2002 financial year. The next step will be for the draft layout to be made available for public consultation.
The Dorchester Arms changes are part of an established medium term plan to discourage use of the current A30 and encourage use of bypasses and the M3. Changes in Hook so far include the provision of the roundabout at the eastern end of the village and traffic calming in Station Road. These measures have considerably reduced North / South traffic through the village. We are in regular discussion with the Highway Authority about further steps to reduce North / South traffic, including reducing the width of Reading Road accompanied by a reduction in the speed limit to 30mph, and possibly also traffic calming. Once the Dorchester Arms Junction plans become firm it will be possible for us to further develop ideas to restrict East / West traffic with the Highway Authority. These could include: changing the route of the A 30 to run round Hook, rather than through the centre of the village; narrowing the road between the Dorchester Arms and the railway bridge along with a reduction in speed limit and traffic calming. Unfortunately, all these changes are subject to funding becoming available. The Parish Council will continue to take every possible opportunity to press for changes to reduce traffic through the village.
The new Redwood Estate agency building is almost ready for occupation and a planning application has been made for change of use of their existing building to a coffee shop and sandwich bar. The Parish Council takes the view that this change will provide useful extra facilities in the centre of the village, subject to conditions as to the evening closing time. A contractor is currently refitting the former Lloyds Bank Premises but as yet no planning application has been made for change of use.
Our Parish Clerk recently held a meeting with the Highway Authority and the contractor for Southern Electric to agree the work needed to reinstate the paving in Grand Parade and we expect the work to be carried out shortly.
At a meeting with Hampshire County Council attended by Councillor Allen Saltmarsh and a number of parents, just before this column went to press, the County agreed that it was not currently safe for Hook children to walk to school at Robert May’s in Odiham. Hampshire therefore accept responsibility for paying for transport from Hook to Robert May’s until a route that they judge as safe is established. Further information on this good news will be sent direct to parents shortly.
The next meeting of the Parish Council is on Wednesday 20th December 2000 at the Community Hall at 8pm.
Antony Hunter – Parish Councillor