Hart Cabinet reached a decision on Car Park charges at their January Meeting. Implementation date for the new charges at Crossways (Reading Road) is likely to be 1st April and will provide a choice of paying 30p for 30 minutes, 50p for one hour, £1 for 2 hours or higher charges for longer periods. There will be no charge before 9am or after 7pm. A proposal was put forward to charge for the six spaces outside the pharmacy but, after discussion, it was dropped so those spaces will continue to be free. One of the reasons that the issue has dragged on for so long is that Hart rely on the “profit” from Car Park charges to subsidise other services and to help balance their budget.
A new application for The Bungalow site in London Road has been received. The fundamental change is that 17 Birch Grove would be demolished and all traffic would be through the site of that house. The Parish Council Planning Committee will consider the application at its meeting on Wednesday 1st February. The meeting, which commences at 8pm, is not a public meeting but is open to the public.
The January Parish Council Meeting included our useful quarterly meeting with Hampshire Highways. They will be carrying out major work on the A30 between Hook Centre and Black Bridge from February until April. Work on the footpaths will start in early February. Some of the section is in very poor condition and needs to be completely re-laid. The footpath work will include changes to discourage motorists from driving over the pavement in a number of places, particularly near the junction of Memorial Road and the A30. Whilst that work is going on traffic on the section involved will be controlled by lights so journeys will inevitably take longer. The resurfacing of the road itself will take place in March or April. Highways are trying to time the work to take place during the school holidays. The entire section will be closed to through traffic for up to two weeks whilst the resurfacing takes place. Access for residents, at a safe and very slow speed, will be maintained but through traffic will be diverted round Hook via the junction with the M3 and the Dorchester Arms. Plans of the work can be viewed in the Parish Council Office from 9am until 12 noon on weekdays. As part of the programme Highways are including a number of measures to encourage drivers to respect the speed limit as they enter and leave Hook.
Despite a lot of time and effort by both the Parish Council and Highways to address speeding issues in Newnham Road residents still have a concern and it is clear that the problem has not been solved. Following an extensive discussion with Highways they are now looking at ways of changing the white lines to discourage speeding and protect pedestrians. We agreed that in the longer term a pavement is the best solution but it could well be up to three years before funding is available.
Although we do not yet have a date for implementation of the reduction in the speed limit in Reading Road from 40mph to 30mph we understand all the necessary administrative hurdles have been cleared so the change should be implemented very shortly.
Hart are carrying out a Housing Needs Survey to help them assess the local need for houses over the coming years. It is crucial for them to identify “hidden households”, such as couples who are continuing to live with parents because they cannot afford a home of their own. Elderly people living with their children come into the same category of those who would like to live independently but are unable to do so. If your home receives a questionnaire please complete and return it!
Antony Hunter – Parish Councillor