Attendance at the Annual Village Meeting increased yet again to 130 people.Community Awards were presented to Ted and Kate Blackman in recognition of their many years of managing and caring for the old Elizabeth Hall and to John Clements in respect of his work as a founder of Hook Bowling club and to Irene Clements for her key contribution to Hook Brownies.
The two issues that attracted most interest at the Annual Village meeting were Hart’s possible ideas for new housing in the District up to 2026. Various developers hold options to purchase almost all the fields around Hook and around every other settlement in Hart. They are all trying to persuade Hart that their ideas are the perfect solution for possible new housing. Once Hart have evaluated all the sites and proposals there will be a period of public consultation which is not likely to start until the autumn.
The second issue of key importance at the Annual Village meeting was Parking. Following a residents’ petition last year Hart have been working on plans for restrictions round the schools particularly at school drop off and pick up times when parents and carers park in Church View and Bell Meadow Road. Consultation with residents in that area, initially on an informal basis, is now taking place.
We are working with Hart to address three other Parking issues in central Hook. The same consultants are about to start on a project to address the problems caused to residents by all day commuters obstructing drives in Raven Road. Following the necessary advertising a traffic order has been made to place a time limit on waiting at Fairholme Parade. Consideration will be given to restricting waiting in the lay-by outside the London Road shops. The objective in all these cases is to give parking preference to residents and shoppers, not to commuters.
A rather different issue is antisocial, illegal and potentially dangerous parking on the pavement outside St Michael’s Hospice Charity Shop in Station Road. This sort of parking does not become permissible simply because the driver is making the laudable effort of a donation to charity! We are working with Hart, Highways and the Police as well as the shop to find a solution.
Hart’s intention to close the Hook public toilets as a cost saving measure unless the Parish Council agree to take them over has been mentioned in Focus on a number of occasions. Whilst we all believe that such a facility should continue to be available to our community and that it is particularly valuable for events our Members are currently almost evenly split on the community, business and financial merits of the idea that we are currently investigating of converting most of the building to two small retail units whilst retaining one multi-use toilet. We are still working on the legal issues and obtaining firm costings so as to report to Members for a final decision. The toilets are currently closed and that situation will be permanent unless we decide to take them over. This is the very last opportunity for residents to express an opinion!
At our Annual Meeting in May Martin Whittaker was re-elected Chairman of the Council and Gordon Winter was elected Vice Chairman. Jane Bonnin, Antony Hunter and Nigel Carpenter will continue to Chair the Planning, Amenity and Development Strategy Committees respectively.
Antony Hunter – Parish Councillor