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News Bulletin: February 2005

Although the recent referendum in connection with the setting up of a Regional Assembly for the North East attracted national press publicity it is not widely known that the Government set up a non-elected South East Regional Assembly in 2000. The Assembly consisting of 111 members nominated by local councils, environmental, business and economic groups, reports to the office of the Deputy Prime Minster. A key responsibility of the Assembly is to prepare the South East Plan covering all aspects of life in the South East. County and District Councillor Jonathan Glen will describe the role of the Assembly and the Plan at an open meeting to be held at the Community Centre in Ravenscroft on Thursday 17th February starting at 8pm. Residents in Hook, Odiham and Hartley Wintney are all being invited.

The landscaping at the corner of Grand Parade has now been reinstated and we hope that the higher kerb and widened entrance will successfully protect the planting from vehicles. We are now trying to find a more durable type of bollard to place along the edge of the main garden area as the existing ones have been steadily losing the battle against the bumpers of four-by-four jeeps.

The first phase of eighty four houses at Holt Park is now complete and largely occupied but the twenty-six “affordable” houses and apartments in phase one have still to be constructed because Housing Associations, Hart and George Wimpey have yet to reach a joint point of view on a range of issues. We are keen to see the piece of land involved, which is at the very north of the site and part of the original Planning Permission, developed as soon as possible before it becomes an eyesore. Until it is developed the play and recreation areas close by which are funded by George Wimpey cannot be installed for safety reasons. The Planning permission for Holt Park included a shuttle bus service to link the development with Hook Centre, the station and Tesco but although the bus should already be running Hampshire County Council have yet to find an operator for the service. We are continuing to work with those involved to resolve these outstanding issues.

The Annual Village Meeting will be on Thursday 21st April at The Elizabeth Hall at 8pm. As mentioned in January Focus we will be trying out a new formula for this year’s meeting. More information and details of how to submit a question in advance of the meeting will follow in March and April issues of Focus.

The Elizabeth Hall Redevelopment Committee has successfully obtained outline Planning Permission for the new building and is now moving towards selecting Project Managers who will appoint a Design and Build Company so as to progress the project to the next stage. As always expected the next phase will require Parish Council funding so the Redevelopment Committee, with unchanged membership, has now become a Parish Council Working Party. An update on progress will be provided in the Parish Council Annual Report and at the Annual Village meeting.

We are delighted to welcome Tim Colman as our new Parish Councillor. Tim was elected unopposed.

Antony Hunter – Parish Councillor