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News Bulletin: December 2011

The Vicar of Dibley has a lot to answer for – especially in confusing Ecclesiastical and Civil Parishes. Hook is a Civil Parish looked after by a Parish Council, which is the first layer of local government, nothing to do with the church. Hook Civil Parish was created in 1932. At the same time the Parish Council was established to administer the needs of the new community. The 80th Birthday of Hook is in 2012. We would like to hear from residents or community organisations if you would like to mark this event.

Hook Parish Council’s eight page response to the Core Strategy is on our website, or as a hard copy on request. Objections to the strategy are only valid on the basis that the document is not based on sound principles of development.

In summary, the Parish Council identified two areas where the reasoning and housing figures are unsound a) that the effect of the development on the character and functioning of the community has not been properly considered; and b) that there are inconsistencies in the number of houses proposed. The Parish Council were specific that:

  • The schools must remain on a single site;
  • The development site should form the new centre for outdoor sports and recreation;
  • Investment in indoor community facilities must enhance existing sites;
  • Retail development must be based around the existing Station Road/London Road nexus; there must be investment in transport3000 new houses in Hook. See letter from District Councillor Sean Haffey in this month’s Focus, regarding concerns over the effect the Government’s proposed Draft National Planning Policy Framework (DNPPF) may have on the number of houses that could be allocated to Hook. The policy could result in houses being built where there is demand rather than where development is currently planned. Residents are encouraged to write to Rt Hon James Arbuthnot MP at  asking him to oppose the draft DNPPF.

A new No 100 bus service running between Hook and Camberley, commenced on 1st November. This replaced the previous No 10 route from Odiham to Camberley. The timetable for this service is disappointing and we have been receiving information from residents about a number of issues with the service. The County Council and Stagecoach have been advised that the new service is inadequate and consideration is being given to improvements.

Due to government cutbacks, Parish and Town Councils are now being encouraged to develop their own transport schemes. In view of the reduction in bus service, the council will be reviewing its position and the needs of Hook residents in 2012.

Considerable progress has been made toward finalising designs for the refurbishment of Hook Community Centre. The work will see the whole building improved to ensure maximum usage, particularly redundant shower and changing areas. The acoustics and soundproofing in the halls will be improved and it is hoped that a Community Café will be opened. Based on these designs, the cost of the ‘makeover’ is likely to be between £800,000 and £1.2m. Since completion of Elizabeth Hall, Hook Village Halls Charitable Association has been working with the Parish Council on developing this project and the Council already has a sizeable reserve set aside for the work. There is still much work to be done and the final plans will be available to view early next year. Once the detailed specification has been agreed and tenders received for the build the actual cost will be known. It is hoped work will be underway in summer 2012.

As publicised in Hart News, Hart is running the “Give a Rescue Dog a Dinner for Christmas” campaign again this year. This self funding rescue centre is used by Hart while the dog warden tries to re-home the dogs. Residents who wish to donate dog food can drop it into the Parish Council office.

Lock up and keep property safe – The police have asked for our support in raising awareness of security, particularly in the run up to Christmas. Hook has seen a recent rise in burglaries again. New pvc doors are more likely to be targeted, but any property can be vulnerable. To avoid becoming a victim of such a distressing crime, please ensure you double lock doors and do not leave keys (both house and car) visible or within easy access of doors and windows, whether the property is occupied or not. High visibility patrols are being conducted within the areas that have already affected and potential vulnerable locations.

Hook Parish Council would like to wish all Hook residents a very Happy Christmas and New Year and looks forward to serving you in 2012.

Anne Atkins – Clerk