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News Bulletin: February 2007

We have received very favourable feedback about the new Christmas lights in the centre of Hook. The lanterns on the lampposts, lights on the buildings in Grand Parade, in the trees and lights on Boots are all funded by the Parish Council. We own the lights which were the winners of the 2005 children’s competition and lease the others. The lampposts now have a permanent power supply so minimising the work and cost involved in putting the lights up and taking them down. The great advantage of the leasing arrangement is that we do not have to store or maintain the lights and that every few years we can change them for a different design.

Regrettably, Hart District Council has granted permission for a tyre and exhaust centre on the Wellworth site. The applicant did take some of our comments on board which has resulted in a change in design which should improve insulation and reduce noise. He has also dropped plans to open on Sundays which will benefit those attending services at St John’s as well as visitors to the cemetery and Wellworth Park.

Thefts from cars continue simply because people continue to leave valuables inside the car in full view and laptop computers in the boot. Professional thieves carry a device that can trace a computer in the boot even when it is switched off!

The grass on the popular Varndell Road kick about area next to the Bowling Club has become badly worn largely due to the incredibly dry summer in 2006. We will shortly turf it which will involve closure of the area for up to 6 weeks. It will be fenced off during this period so it would be helpful if passers by would report any damage to the fencing to the Parish Council Office.

January Parish Council Meeting approved the budget proposals for 2007/8 submitted by our Finance Working Group. Depending on the exact number of houses in Hook on the billing date the increase in the Parish Council part of your Council Tax bill will be about 1.5%. Our small team successfully obtains value for money on everything we buy and we have an excellent relationship with all our contractor partners. As we end our financial year it is an appropriate moment for me, as Chairman, to thank Anne, Christine and Marian for their help, support and enthusiasm in all the work they do.

Antisocial behaviour by a couple of dozen teenagers is a serious and continuing problem. Although it has little impact on the vast majority of residents it is disrupting the lives of those who live in certain areas. We recently met with the Police, Hart Community Safety, Neighbourhood Watch and The Base to discuss steps we could take. Actions we agreed included viewing of CCTV tapes by local people who would be most likely to recognise trouble makers and more frequent patrols by Hart’s Community Warden in conjunction with the Police. Parents have a key role to play as it seems clear that a number of teenagers claim that they are going to The Base but do not do so, preferring instead to maraud through central Hook. A number of Police CCTV cameras are now operating in undisclosed locations across Hook. The good news is that the transfer of one of our Police Officers to another location has now been confirmed as temporary and only for skill enhancement purposes.

The term of office of all 12 Parish Councillors expires in the spring and we know that at least two existing Councillors will not be standing again. Do please consider standing and ring Anne Atkins or any Councillor for a chat. We will be holding an informal open morning on Saturday 10th March at the Parish Council Office from 10.00 to 13.00 to provide those who might stand with an opportunity to talk to our Officers and some existing Councillors.

Antony Hunter – Parish Councillor