A reminder that Thursday 3rd May is Election Day and that our polling station is at the Elizabeth Hall in Raven Road from 7am to 10pm. There are two candidates for one District Council seat. There are twelve candidates for the twelve Parish Council seats, so we will all be elected unopposed, without a ballot, and the ballot on Election day will be for the District Council only.
The new Parish Council’s first meeting will be on Wednesday 16th May at 8pm. Members will sign their acceptance of office and the Council will then elect a Chairman and Vice Chairman for the first year of the new Council’s four year term. As previously mentioned Pete Comley, David Ridley and Janet Deller have not stood for re-election.
Pete Comley’s own business continues to grow fast and demands a very high proportion of his time. During his short time as a Parish Councillor he has contributed significantly on Green issues and he has kindly offered to continue to help us on an informal basis in that area. David Ridley faces ever heavier demands in his day job running a department at Waverley, whilst Janet Deller, in addition to a heavy day role at the Infants school, is spending much time as a Director of the Management Committee of the two merging Hook halls. As nominations closed Allen Saltmarsh also decided not to stand again. Allen has been a Parish Councillor for ten years and is a past Chairman of our Amenity Committee. Our thanks go to them all.
The new Council will be made up of eight re-elected members and four new ones: Matthew Campbell, Amanda Foot, Paul Lock and Jeanne-Marie Steels. We plan on providing a bit more detail on all individual Parish Councillors in Focus shortly.
One of the eight re-elected members is Jane Bonnin who celebrates twenty five years as a Parish Councillor. Over that time, as well a being a mother and handling a day job, Jane has been Parish Council Chairman and has chaired every Committee. She currently chairs our Planning Committee as well as managing our computer strategy and providing a technical solution whenever our computers go down. Jane’s long and in depth experience across all Parish Council issues is most valuable to us all. Thank you Jane!
Incidentally Parish Councillors, in common with other volunteers in our Community, receive no salary or allowances.
Over the past two years a number of applications have been made to redevelop The Bungalow site in London Road. Some of these applications involved access from the A30 and some via Birch Grove and all were refused by Hart. The appeal against refusal of the most recent application will be heard at Hart on 26th June. This particular application involves access from the A30 which would be widened at a point close to the existing access to the site. Points raised by objectors, including the Parish Council, included impact on the street scene, design of the dwellings, excessive massing, parking, Highway safety and the possible impact on the Special Protection Area. Hart’s actual reasons for refusal were Highway issues, the Spa and the lack of financial contribution to transport and leisure. The appeal Inspector’s decision is therefore likely to be based solely on the Highway and Spa issues.
As Focus goes to press both we and the Elizabeth Hall management are very close to signing the contracts and legal documents needed so that the rebuild can commence. Formal approval from the Charity Commission is still to come but is only dependent on the merger scheme for the Community Association and the Elizabeth Hall Charity being formally advertised. We are confident of a start date on site in early May. The new hall will be built before the old hall is demolished so that users will suffer minimum convenience.
Antony Hunter – Parish Councillor