Police attendance at the Parish Council meeting on a quarterly basis is proving to be helpful and we welcomed Inspector Weston to our February meeting. He confirmed that Hart continues to be one of the safest places to live in the UK. Violent crime is minimal, but a third of the crimes reported in the last quarter involved criminal damage and public order offences. No one has been traced as responsible for the spate of egg throwing that has taken place in recent months, for the extensive graffiti or the incidents of antisocial behaviour. The police believe that a small number of regular offenders are responsible. However new powers will enable Police to confiscate aerosol spray paints from teenagers. The Inspector stressed the importance of providing a flow of information to our beat officers and through neighbourhood watch. Every piece of the jigsaw really matters. Our existing CCTV working party which regularly monitors reports gathered by Hart will now take on a broader role and also cover Community Safety.
Sadly, people have been parking on and driving over the edge of the landscaping at the entrance to Grand Parade and a metre of planting has been completely destroyed. We are contacting other interested parties to develop a way of protecting the area from further needless damage.
There have been complaints about use of scramble bikes on the open space in the Hop Garden Road, Church Path and Varndell Road areas. Part of the path is a Public Right of Way and it is an offence to use a motorised vehicle on the footpath. The Rights of Way Officer and Hampshire Paths Partnership have agreed to consider kissing gates and fencing to stop this antisocial practice.
Speed bumps were recently installed outside the Community Centre to overcome the problem of cars driving at excessive speeds and joyriding in an area popular with parents and young children. The bumps meet District Council standards and have been approved by two qualified vehicle engineers. They are designed to be approached at 5mph which is judged to be the safe speed for the area. 5mph speed limit signs will shortly be installed.
The New Covenant Church in Elms Road has submitted a revised planning application which has caused considerable concern to residents of Lynwood, Nightingale and Ferndale Gardens. The revised proposal is set further back at both the front and the rear but still represents a substantial two storey building to the detriment of adjoining houses. Access to the building is proposed to be from the rear which is likely to lead to a significant increase in traffic and parking. The Parish Council view is that the proposal is too big for the site and involves unacceptable intensification of use.
The owners of two houses adjacent to the Hampshire County Council depot near M3 junction five have applied to demolish the houses and construct an industrial estate comprising eighteen letting units and sixty three parking spaces. The Parish Council understands that the Highways Depot is part of the motorway system and not an industrial estate and therefore does not represent a precedent for industrial use in the area. Furthermore the houses adjoin a site of Special Scientific Interest and we believe that part of the land involved is actually part of the SSSI. We have therefore recommended to Hart District Council that the application is refused.
Antony Hunter – Parish Councillor