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News Bulletin: December 2007

McCarthy and Stone, who are well known as developers of accommodation for the elderly, are preparing a planning application to demolish 25 to 31 Sheldons Road and build 41 units on the site. They exhibited their draft scheme to the public on 6th November. The main concerns mentioned at the well attended event concerned the bulk and mass of the proposed building which in places was designed to have three stories. The result would be a building with an overbearing impact on the other side of Sheldons Road and also, because of the lie of the land, on houses in Middle Mead. Concern was also expressed that, although people living in communities designed for the elderly tend to have fewer cars, one parking space per three units would not be sufficient. A planning application has yet to be submitted.

Some sixty residents attended an exhibition organised by Sentinel Housing who wish to build eighty-six units for the elderly on a Greenfield site off Owens Farm Lane. The first the Parish Council knew of the idea was just a week before Sentinel’s public exhibition. Whilst very sympathetic to the needs of elderly residents of Hook the gathering totally condemned the proposal for a wide range of reasons. The site, which is outside the Hook settlement boundary, is very remote with no facilities within realistic walking distance so hardly suitable for the elderly. The density of the eighty-six proposed dwellings is far too high and at almost fifty to the hectare is even denser than Holt Park. Access would be along Hop Garden Road, which was deliberately built as a narrow road with traffic calming and so hardly a suitable route to serve additional housing. At present there is no planning application on which comments can be made but if one is submitted we will arrange for the plans to be on show on a Saturday morning. In the meantime we are making our views known to Sentinel and to Hart District Council. Sentinel already own Gregory House in Elms Road which is within easy reach of all the facilities in central Hook so we hope they will take the logical route of providing modern accommodation for the elderly on that site.

The local press has carried comment about the six soldiers who died in 1940 attempting to defuse to defuse a wartime bomb by the railway in Nately Scures. South West Trains have agreed to the installation of a commemorative plaque in the Hook station ticket office which will be unveiled on Sunday 16th December at 11am.

We have had many favourable comments about the improvements to the footpath that runs from the back gate of the schools and into Hartletts Park. The previous sea of mud has now been replaced by a hard surface.

We would all agree that the recent level of antisocial behaviour has been totally unacceptable but on Halloween unacceptability reached a new peak when a number of youths smashed the window of a police car parked in Griffin Way South and pushed it into the railings above the underpass with the intention that it fall onto the footpath below. This is probably best described as “Criminal Damage with intent to Endanger Life.” As a result of swift police action one youth was arrested and charged within four days. Two further arrests have followed. The police action continues and letters have been sent to parents of some ten other young persons known to have been in the immediate vicinity to arrange interview appointments.

Some thirty people attended the short service at the War Memorial on Remembrance Sunday. Hampshire Constabulary joined us and laid a wreath for the first time. Following consultation we have decided that the installation of low level posts and rails would make the setting of the memorial more complete.

Our gardening contractor, Goslings, has made a superb job of the new landscaping by Casa Flora which has been generously sponsored by Bell Cornwell.

Antony Hunter – Parish Councillor