May 012009

When Nigel Carpenter was elected as our current Chairman he made it clear he would serve as Chairman for a single year so will not be seeking re-election in May. Fortunately he will remain on the Council itself and is prepared to continue as Chairman of the Development Strategy Committee. A new Chairman of the Council will therefore be elected. Regrettably, because of other commitments, Amanda Foot has found it necessary to resign her Parish Council seat. Our thanks go to Amanda for her contribution to the work of the Council since she was elected in 2007.

Although H.V.H.C.A. moved into the new Elizabeth Hall last summer the Parish Council has not yet been able to complete the under-lease of the land and buildings to this charity. Almost all the defects in the building have been resolved but two significant problems remain namely the environmental control system and the controls for the lights in the main hall neither of which are working correctly. The main contractor, who is naturally keen to be paid for the final stage of the building work, has undertaken to resolve these problems within the next few weeks.

The number of Household Planning Appeals has grown dramatically in recent years and the length of time taken by the Planning Inspectorate to resolve them has increased as a result. Even appeals against refusal on the smallest of proposals have been taking up to a year for a decision to be made. The process has therefore been changed and the Inspector will now make a decision solely on the basis of the case file and a site visit so there will be no scope for additional representations when the application goes to appeal. It is therefore crucial that both applicants and objectors carefully submit their entire case at the outset. Hopefully the change will speed up the entire appeal process.

The domestic battery recycling scheme we launched at the beginning of November is proving very popular. So far you have collected 160 litres of batteries which is roughly the same volume as two old style dustbins. The bulk of them have been collected through the tub at the customer service desk at Tesco but Londis and the schools have also proved to be popular collection points. The number collected continues to grow which is excellent news!

The vast majority of dog owners are very careful to clean up after their dogs but some are less careful. Bio-degradable dog litter bags continue to be available, without charge, from the Parish Council Office.

A number of residents in Four Acre Coppice have expressed continuing concerns about through traffic. One of the ideas that has been suggested is to block off the junction between Holt Way and Pantile Drive. This would eliminate all through traffic between Holt Lane and Griffin Way South. Residents in Holt Way and adjoining roads would only be able to access their homes via Griffin Way South whilst residents in Pantile Drive would only have access via Holt Lane. Opinions from residents of that area would be welcome to .

The Annual Village Meeting will have taken place just a couple of days before the May issue of Focus is published so I will report on the meeting in June Focus. A high proportion of the questions we have received ahead of the meeting relate to Highway topics.

Salaries and expenses of Members of Parliament along with allowances to the Chairman of Hart have been much in the news recently and this would seem a good moment to clarify the situation as regards the Parish Council. Parish Councillors are all volunteers, like so many in our community. None of us receive any salary or personal allowances but we are entitled to claim mileage for car journeys outside Hook for essential council business.

Antony Hunter – Parish Councillor

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