We were pleased to see a larger attendance at this year’s Annual Village Meeting. Feedback from those who came has been very favourable. The various displays and the opportunity to talk informally with organisations such as the Police and Highways were well received, as was the opportunity to submit questions in advance. The most controversial question on the agenda related to the increase in Car Park charges. The removal of a price for one hour’s parking means that anyone wishing to visit the doctor, dentist or to make more than a swift visit to a shop or a school is now required to pay £1 to park for two hours rather than 30p to park for one hour under the old tariff. We are aware of considerable adverse reaction to the new charges and our District Councillors are addressing the topic with Hart. It’s clear that the impact of the change is to increase the number of cars parked in the roads round the centre of Hook which is a situation that is in the interests of no one.
Few can have failed to notice the larger Police activity about Hook in recent weeks. Their objective is to talk informally to people about their views so bringing our Police closer to the Community. The project has also given Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators the opportunity to see the Police at work. Police Officers have also been giving talks in all our schools.
The Parish Plan is progressing well and we will have a display on Saturday 16th July at the Community Centre to provide an opportunity for everyone to come and look at the proposals and comment on them. Hampshire Wildlife Trust will share the event with us because they are proposing to fence parts of Hook Common so as to balance the needs of animals and walkers.
South East Water has mounted a publicity campaign to encourage people to use water sensibly. They say that following a dry winter underground water resources are well below average for this time of year.
We have a responsibility to provide parking at the Community Centre for disabled badge holders and the yellow markings on the disabled spaces have recently been renewed, which we hope will deter able people from selfishly parking in those areas. In the short term, registration numbers will be logged and a note will be placed on the windscreen of those who park in disabled spaces without showing a disabled badge, but it may be necessary to introduce clamping.
Highways recently carried out speed checks in Newnham Road at our request and they advise us that traffic is travelling at acceptable speeds in relation to the speed limit. A recent check on traffic speeds in Reading Road has shown that speeds have now reduced to the level at which a reduction in the speed limit from 40mph to 30mph can be justified. Highways are now starting the necessary consultations, including contact with the Police, but it is likely to be some months before the lower limit could come into force.
Antony Hunter – Parish Councillor