Our May meeting marked the start of a new Parish Council year. Martin Whittaker was elected as Chairman of the Council and Tony Taylor as Vice Chairman. Antony Hunter was elected to Chair the Amenities Committee whilst Jane Bonnin and Nigel Carpenter will continue to Chair the Planning Committee and Development Strategy Committee respectively.
Councillor Matthew Campbell has found it necessary to resign his seat due to the demands of his day job. Our thanks go to Matthew for his work whilst on the Council, particularly in the Youth area. European and County Elections are to be held on Thursday 4th June from 7am to 10pm at the Elizabeth Hall. We had expected any Parish Council poll to be on the same day but unfortunately this is not possible for administrative reasons. There will be a Parish Council election for our two vacant seats and, if contested, the poll will now be held on Thursday 2nd July.
One hundred and fifteen residents and twelve exhibitors came to the Annual Village Meeting which was a better attendance than ever. Almost all the questions related to Highway issues including concerns over parking outside the schools, particularly in the afternoons. The Car Park in Reading Road is significantly underused yet surrounding residential streets are littered with parked cars. It is clear that people resent the cost of parking in this car park which is owned and operated by Hart. In some cases the prices are higher than for the same length of car parking in Basingstoke. We have started discussions with Hart about the idea of the Parish Council taking over this car park. If we are able to come to an acceptable arrangement we would probably allow free parking for cars for a limited period of time and provide a number of spaces for locally employed season ticket holders. This idea received a spontaneous round of applause at the Annual Village Meeting so we are working hard in order to find a way forward.
Highways expect to resurface the section of the A30 near the Crooked Billet in mid June. It seems likely that the work will take place at night and when final plans are available we will post them on Hook Announcements. If you are not currently receiving messages from Hook Announcements do go to the announcements list page and sign up.
Hook’s first two Community Awards were presented at the Annual Village Meeting. Terry Rawlings founded Rawlings Transport almost 40 years ago and continues as Managing Director to this day. The business which started with just one vehicle and a contract delivering nails for a firm based in Basingstoke diversified in the mid nineties with the addition of Rawlings Fuels which now supplies heating oil to over twelve thousand customers within a 25 mile radius of Hook. The business continues to be family managed and employs 90 people, many of them local. Support for the Community over the years includes a vehicle for the Christmas cracker, sponsorship of the local football team and numerous prizes for local events. The second award was presented to Ann Jacob who, along with a number of helpers, has been running a monthly lunch for senior citizens at the Scout HQ for ten years. These very popular home cooked meals attract a packed house of up to fifty people every month. The lunches are provided at a modest cost and profits donated to the Scouts for improvements to their facilities.
The three tennis courts next to the Community Centre have now been resurfaced. Bookings are not required and there is no charge for their use so just turn up with your rackets and tennis balls and play!
Antony Hunter – Parish Councillor