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News Bulletin: February 2009

The domestic battery recycling scheme which we introduced in late 2008 has proved to be very popular and the coming weeks will doubtless produce yet more batteries as the initial supplies bought with Christmas presents expire. Tesco, Londis and the three schools are proving to be the most popular collection points. The U.K is obliged by the E. U. to increase domestic battery recycling from its current level of 2.8% to 25% by 2012. Used batteries are taken to a recycling plant where the mineral content is stripped out and incorporated into new products. Do keep bringing your batteries along!

In the past rising house prices and the cost of moving house tended to produce an increase in the number of people deciding not to move but to extend their current home instead. The current situation with static or even falling house prices has also reduced the number of people aiming to extend their home due to overall lack of confidence. Hart’s Planning Committee is now meeting only monthly instead of twice a month but the drop in the number of planning applications we receive has been even deeper. Our survey in 2008 showed a significant number of hidden households in Hook, couples living with a parent for example, yet few of those involved have registered on Hart’s Housing list. It is important to register such a need, not just for personal reasons, but so as to ensure the local housing authorities have an accurate picture of the situation.

The government has changed the rules governing Planning Applications for domestic extensions. The stated aim is to “simplify” Planning Regulations and reduce the number of minor proposals requiring Planning Permission. In some ways the changes add complexity to the process rather than reduce it so it is very important not to just assume that Planning Permission will not be required for what may seem to be a small change to a private home but to take professional advice.

Tesco have applied for permission to put a wind powered electricity generating mastin their car park. The mast would be 14m high compared with the 18m high phone mast of the Rawlings tower and we advised those registered to receive Hook Announcements as the timing of our receipt of the application did not fit with the deadline for Hook Focus. Reaction from residents is broadly favourable although there are some concerns that the mast might not be placed at the specific point that would catch the maximum amount of wind. Although the proposal is for quite a tall mast that may not generate sufficient electricity to power all Tesco’s needs we have not objected to the proposal which surely marks an important step towards greener production of electricity.

The number of residents signed up for Hook Announcements continues to grow. We are sparing in the number of announcements we send out which are averaging two a month. The aim is to provide information on time critical items that cannot wait for the next issue of Hook Focus. To sign up just go to the Parish Council home page at www.hook.gov.uk.

A number of Parish Councils within Hart have been providing a subsidy towards the costs of the Call and Go transport scheme. We have declined to contribute in the past as the number of Hook residents who use the service is very low indeed and alternatives are available such as trains, buses and the service provided by the Care Group. We also have concerns as to the running costs of the scheme. We would welcome feed back from those who use the service. Does it meet your needs and, if not, how could it be improved? If you have registered but do not use it what are the reasons?

Antony Hunter – Parish Councillor