The Parish Council Annual Report and our website included a questionnaire asking villagers to let us know which topics they rated as most important. Although the number of replies was quite small, representing less than 1% of homes in Hook, the priorities identified were quite clear. Road Safety gained 22% of support, Traffic Calming 21%, Cycleways 16%, Parks and Gardens 13% and Playgrounds and Youth Facilities 11% each. Whilst Road Safety and Traffic Calming are Hampshire Highways responsibilities we do have a good working relationship with them and they try to respond to our needs, but obtaining funding for improvements is always a problem and road schemes tend to be expensive. For example the Dorchester Arms improvements will cost between £190,000 and £370,000 depending on which solution is finally chosen. Highways are now working on the design of a scheme to slow traffic in Reading Road to which the Parish will make a contribution, and we are also asking them to design improvements to the current Newnham Road scheme. At the inexpensive end of the scale the “Kill Your Speed” signs in Griffin Way do seem to have had an impact, though there is some evidence that drivers are now familiar with them and take less notice. We are suggesting to Highways that these signs are moved to a different road in Hook every few months.
Grass cutting in Wellworth Park got underway later than we would have liked this year because the contractor employed by Hart went out of business. The Parish has now taken on responsibility but it took a bit of time to get the necessary quotes and award the contract.
Planning Permission has existed for eight years for a 3,300 sq. metre extension to the Old Mutual building at Bartley Wood Business Park but the new owner of the site has applied to replace this permission with a separate 5,150 sq. metre building claiming that the staff will largely walk or cycle to work or use the “three separate rail services” and the “comprehensive and frequent bus services calling at Hook Bus Station”! We have submitted a lengthy document to Hart asking them to refuse the application on the basis of inadequate parking, the lack of realism of the claim that people will use public transport and the fact that Griffin Way is already solid with traffic at peak times. Regrettably there is nothing that can be done to revoke the original planning permission and the developer is highly unlikely to just let it expire at the end of this year.
Our advertisement for Deputy Clerk in Focus and the Basingstoke Gazette attracted four applications from Hook residents, interviewing is now taking place and we will announce the name of the successful candidate in September Focus.
The next meeting of the Parish Council is on Wednesday 18th July at the Community Hall at 8pm.
Antony Hunter – Parish Councillor