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News Bulletin: July / August 2011

Royal Mail plans to close Hook Sorting Office. The Parish Council have received a significant response to the news about the proposed closure of the sorting office. The Council agreed to make strong representation to Royal Mail to call for the sorting office to remain open or an alternative local collection point to be maintained. On Friday 10th June staff at the Sorting Office were told that a facility will remain in Hook, albeit not necessarily at the current location. We are awaiting formal confirmation of this.

The last loan repayment for Hook Cemetery and Garden was made at the end of May. As the cemetery has been in use since 1988, the council agreed to apply for permission from the Diocese to undertake safety testing on the memorials. The owners of the graves and associated memorial remain responsible for maintaining the headstones in good order and the Council will advise owners of any concerns that result from the safety testing.

With the warm weather in April and May it has been great to see so many residents of all ages, up to 90, making good use of the outdoor gym. The gym equipment is designed for adults. although we are delighted to see children making use of the facility, parents should ensure they are doing so appropriately. Each item has clear instructions on how to use it to get the benefit of the individual exercise. Families are exercising together and we hope, as summer progresses, adults and families alike will continue to enjoy the equipment.

Dog fouling. Sadly, there are still some dog owners not clearing up after their dog. Such behaviour is not only antisocial but is also an offence with a possible maximum £1000 fine. The dog warden has recently advised us of two prosecutions which are in hand. Free, biodegradable, dog waste bags are available from the Parish Council office and we would like to thank all those responsible dog owners who regularly use them.

In April and November 2010 we reported on the proposal to develop the site of Landata House on Station Road into residential accommodation. The planning application submitted is for 50 homes with parking. At the Planning Committee meeting on 15th July, the Council supported the application, this being a good use of a redundant commercial brown field site and provides much needed small houses and flat.

Fencing of Hook Common. The Hampshire Wildlife Trust has been working since 2000 to restore Hook Common to heathland. The nature conservation importance of Hook Common has been designated as a Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). To achieve an open heath environment and encourage more flowers and insects the area will need grazing, much as already happens on Bartley Heath. The grazing animals will need to be safeguarded from the adjacent A30 and Hook Road. A fencing application was made to DEFRA and The Parish Council, commoners and adjacent residents were consulted. Some changes to proposed access points were agreed and the Parish Council made no objections to the application.

Many residents enjoy a variety of walks around Hook. Over the past year there has been some conflict caused by walkers and groups of young people, straying from the official paths (Rights of Way) and trespassing onto private land. Some specialized crops have been damaged and made unfit for sale as a result of dog fouling. Not only should walkers ensure they stay on the definitive pathways, but dogs must be kept under close control at all times and they must not be allowed to stray from the path.

What appear to be well worn trails may not be rights of way and landowners have the right to close these routes and defend their property against trespass. Hampshire County Council are working with local farmers to better define public access on their land and walkers are reminded to make sure they know where they are allowed to go. Informative signage will be installed at local hot spots and a leaflet showing a number of circular walks is available from the Parish Council office or via our web site. For further information about Rights of Way go to Hampshire County Council – Rights of Way .

Grit Bins. The County Highways are still open to requests for grit bins for installation later in the year. Please contact the Parish Council with any requests as soon as possible.

Anne Atkins – Clerk