All being well, the new Elizabeth Hall will have been opened by H.R.H. The Earl of Wessex whilst this issue of Focus is being printed. A report will be in January Focus and photographs will be available very shortly via hook.gov.uk/home/scrapbook/royal-opening-of-the-elizabeth-hall-2008/.
Completion of the footpath from Holt Lane to the centre of Hook has taken rather longer than expected but it is now finished and all the lights along the path should be working correctly. Unfortunately, unlike road traffic lights, these lights and street lights do not report themselves out of order if they break down so it does help if you report a failed light to the Parish Council office quoting the road name and column number. We can then alert the correct department at Southern Electric Contracting and ask them to go and fix the fault, which usually takes a couple of weeks.
The Exploring Hook leaflet which we produced in early 2007 and delivered to every house has proved so popular that our stock of leaflets was exhausted a couple of months ago. The leaflet, which maps walks in and around Hook along with places of general interest, has now been reprinted and is available to callers at the Parish Council Office and also at the Neighbourhood Centre, the Post Office/Movie Express, the Hogget and the Crooked Billet.
The Christmas lights will be turned on in time for the Christmas Cracker which is on Friday 5th December. There are some changes to the Grand Parade lights and street light displays this year. Most of these are on a three year hire agreement which is funded by the Parish Council but we have been able to renegotiate some of this agreement a year early so as to change some of the lights and increase the number of displays on the lampposts.
Early in the year and at the Annual Village meeting we arranged a demonstration of possible equipment for an Outdoor Gym. Feed back from those who field tested the equipment was very helpful and a working group of Parish Councillors and other interested people is now investigating a comprehensive layout for purchase.
Many parents use the Parish Council owned Hartletts Park Car Park at the start and end of the School Day whilst other parents and their buggies use the adjacent footpath. It would help parents walking along the footpath with buggies if car driving parents would park back from the footpath so that their bumpers do not cause an obstruction or, far worse, endanger the safety of a small child.
Hampshire Wildlife Trust continues to work to improve Bassetts Mead. In particular nettles are much reduced following the riverbank cut in September and the cattle are helping in the fields by grazing and trampling. Regrettably it seems that a number of residents in Athoke Croft are fly tipping garden waste over their fences into Holt Copse which is Parish Council property. Apart from making the place untidy such rubbish would eventually suffocate tree roots and cause the tree concerned to die. We are in the process of identifying the houses involved and will be asking their owners to respect both the environment and our property. Hart’s garden waste collection service would help them dispose of material that they are not able to compost at home.
In past years we have removed the nets from the tennis courts next to the Community Centre during the winter but a number of people have asked us to leave them in place so that they can play when the winter weather is kind so we have done just that. It seems that leaving them up may not shorten their life. Footballers have the use of the adjacent multicourt so there is no need for the tennis courts to be used for football in the winter. A reminder that there is no charge to use the courts and no booking is needed so just turn up with your own racquets and tennis balls and play!
Antony Hunter – Parish Councillor