Elections to the Parish Council will take place on Thursday 5th May at the same time as the District Council Election and Alternative Vote Referendum. There are thirteen candidates standing for the twelve seats. This is the first time for twelve years that there has been a contested Election for the entire Parish Council so do please take this opportunity to vote for the candidates of your choice! Voting is at the Elizabeth Hall between 7am and 10pm. It does help if you take the official poll card that you have received in the post but it is not essential to do so. It is likely that the candidates will work together so that you receive details about them all so look out for information on your doormat! Names and addresses of all the candidates for both the District and Parish Council Elections are on the Hart web site at www.hart.gov.uk and then follow the link to Elections.
We had originally expected to be able to display plans for renovation of the Community Centre early this year. However we are still working on ways to meet the needs of all current and future uses of the building. Although we never expected this to be an easy design project the “end game” is proving harder to reach than we might have expected and it follows that some compromises will be inevitable. The final plans must also be capable of being achieved within available funds! Around half of the cost of the Elizabeth Hall was funded by contributions from developers but no developer funding is available for work to the Community Centre which means that the entire cost has to be funded from any grants that we can obtain and from your money through the Parish Council precept. It now seems clear that work is much more likely to be carried out in 2012 than 2011.
The parking restrictions near the schools which are designed to encourage safe parking at school run times have now been in force since the end of January. Until now Hart has done little to enforce them both to allow school runners to become accustomed to the restrictions and because of staffing changes in the department concerned. Hart Enforcement Officer staffing has been reorganised which means that those ignoring these restrictions now face the very real possibility of finding a £70 Penalty Charge Notice on their vehicle when they return to the car. Please respect these restrictions which are designed for the safety of our children!
Residents in the Raven Road area have had the opportunity to comment on the planned parking restrictions in the area which are designed to improve safety by reducing the number of places where all day parking is permitted. The traffic order that is needed is in the process of being authorised by Hampshire County Council which means that yellow lines and restriction signs will be installed within the next couple of months.
The first meeting of the new Parish Council will take place on Wednesday 11th May. At that meeting the Council and Committee Chairmen will be appointed along with the various portfolio holders. Seven or more of the Councillors will be new as only five members of the retiring council are standing again. Because an Election campaign is under way the photographs of the existing Councillors and their contact details are not included this month. After twelve years as a Parish Councillor I have decided not to stand again at the Election so this is my last monthly bulletin on behalf of the Parish Council! A member of the new Council or the Parish Council office will adopt responsibility for writing this column along with all other Council Public and Media Relations from Monday 9th May. My personal involvement with Focus as a magazine continues unchanged.
Antony Hunter – Parish Councillor