Around thirty villagers attended the Parish Council Planning Committee meeting on 14th June at which the outline planning application for 285 houses at Holt Lane was discussed.
Following the Enquiry Inspector’s decision to allow development at Holt Lane, the Parish Council has been working to obtain appropriate benefit for the community from the developers. This includes funding for new children’s play areas, sporting facilities, youth facilities, an extension to the Community Hall and finance for local schools. A key part of the plan is for the preservation of the area nearest to the river for nature conservation along with public access to the river. The documents provided by Hart earlier on the day of the meeting show that, although the developer accepts the principle of funding this list of facilities, the amount of money on offer is totally inadequate to allow these aims to become reality.
Three other important issues mentioned by the Inspector are also not resolved. Although the enquiry recognised that cars rat-running through the Pantile Drive area was a problem that would need to be addressed the arrangements currently on the table do nothing to provide a solution. Earlier plans included putting all the high voltage electricity cables in the area underground, but this issue is still not resolved. Perhaps most important of all there is still no co-ordinated approach for handling surface water run-off and foul water drainage. After a discussion lasting an hour the Parish Council resolved to ask Hart to refuse the application on the basis that local requirements were not being met and that the proposed funding is inadequate.
Following the application to develop the old Woodland Cafe site, we have now received an application for internal and external alterations to the Dentist’s premises next to the Chemist. Whilst the Parish Council is always keen to support local business, the proposed parking arrangements at the rear of the building are a source of great concern. Cars using the entrance down the side of the building would be a hazard to pedestrians using the public footpath and several of the proposed parking spaces would actually obstruct the Public Right of Way. The footpath dates back well over a hundred years and is described in the original documents as a “ten foot wide grassy track leading to arable fields!” We have asked for the application to be refused. Hart share our concern and are in discussion with the applicants for both sites.
Policing in rural communities like Hook is often raised as an issue of concern, so the local Police and Community liaison group will be holding a public meeting on Tuesday 11th July. Location and time will be confirmed on the Parish Council notice boards. It is a chance to express your views so do please come along.
The formal opening of the new BMX facility has been arranged for 11am on Saturday 5th August and we hope to see many BMX fans at the opening and to be able to send a photograph to the local papers.
The next meeting of the Parish Council is on Wednesday 19th July 2000 at the Community Hall at 8pm.