The Annual Village Meeting took place on Wednesday 19th April and around 50 villagers attended. The evening included reports from the chairmen of the various committees.
The Hook Millennium Group gave a detailed presentation of the two public art designs being considered for the village centre and both designs were on display. The meeting was in favour both of the idea itself and the design by Maggy Howarth, which is the one favoured by the Millennium Group. They are now going to seek sponsorship to fund the project concentrating on the companies that have recently moved into the Bartley Wood Business Park. Road safety at the Dorchester Arms Junction attracted considerable comment. This project has been a Parish Council priority for a very long time. County Councillor Jonathan Glen explained that redesign of the junction was now much closer to being a real scheme and now has the full support of both Hart District Council and Hampshire County Council. However he mentioned that he was continually having to press Basingstoke and Deane not to move it down their list. There was also an opportunity to discuss the Holt Lane Housing Scheme. Following the Planning Inspector’s decision there is no doubt that 285 houses will be built. So far the Parish Council is having considerable success in establishing that the developers will make a significant financial contribution to village amenities. Full formal public consultation will take place shortly.
A planning application has been made to build a three-storey office building on the site of the Old Woodland Cafe. This site, next to the chemist, has been an eyesore for years. Although the Parish Council is keen to see the site put to proper use we feel the proposed building is much too big for the space available and we would wish the building to have retail use, not offices, on the ground floor. A considerable amount of traffic would be likely to enter the rear of the site using the public right of way at the side of the dentist’s surgery. This entrance is also a footpath and we are concerned over the safety of pedestrians. We have therefore recommended that the application be refused. As expected an application has been made for eight new bus shelters at various points in the village. Their cost will be covered by the advertising they will carry but we have requested that certain of them in rural areas are not illuminated.
It’s “good-bye and thank you” to Roberta Flowers who, as well as time on the Parish Council, served Hook for thirteen years as a District Councillor, including a year as Chairman. A by-election to elect a new District Councillor will be held on Thursday 4th May. Polling is at The Elizabeth Hall from 8am to 9pm. Don’t forget to vote!
Antony Hunter – Parish Councillor