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News Bulletin: June 2003

At the first Meeting of the new Parish Council Tony Taylor was elected Chairman of the Parish Council, with Antony Hunter as Vice-Chairman. The Planning Committee elected Antony Hunter as Chairman and Fergus Kirkham as Vice-Chairman. The Amenity Committee elected Martin Whittaker as Chairman and Allen Saltmarsh as Vice-Chairman. All your Councillors look forward to working with all areas of interest in the Village over our four year term.

One of the key topics at the Annual Village Meeting was Policing in Hook. It was acknowledged that, due to a shortage of officers, recruitment difficulties and the attachment of P C Leighton Thomas to Aldershot C. I .D, Hook had been under policed during the last twelve months. Tribute was paid to Mattingley PC Martin Bowman and to Special Constable Steve White who have both worked hard to spread a thin resource as effectively as possible. Leighton Thomas was congratulated on his promotion to Detective on permanent transfer to Aldershot. Two new officers are to operate in Hook from mid May: Ruth Sealy and Daniel Green, and they will have the continuing support of Steve White. The existing Police House will be demolished in June and by October the new Hook Rural Police Centre, providing a base for a sergeant and ten officers, will be in action on the same site. Burglaries in Hook have fallen 30% year on year which reflects well on the effectiveness of Neighbourhood Watch. Police powers are limited in cases where under-age antisocial behaviour is taking place but no criminal offence is involved. A solution that has proved effective elsewhere is to send letters to parents and this scheme will now be introduced in Hook.

A lively informal meeting took place on 3rd April to provide an opportunity for villagers to look at drawings for a permanent traffic calming scheme in Reading Road. The exhibition was publicised in Focus and 56 letters were hand delivered to residents along with ten letters by post or email to people who had previously been in touch. Around thirty people attended the exhibition and expressed their opinion and written comments were received from fifteen people. There is broad agreement that permanent action to slow traffic is needed and indeed a number of residents favour much more restrictive measures than the proposed final scheme. These views are coupled with strong support for the 30mph limit that Highways have agreed to progress once the permanent scheme is in place. The two sided Build Out near Great Sheldon’s Coppice will be installed on a narrower basis than in the experiment and the Goose Lane Build Out will be installed closer to Hook than at present so as to avoid the blind bend. Work will start shortly on resurfacing the road and the permanent scheme is expected to be installed soon after the surface work has been completed. The Newnham Road changes will be installed as drawn.

The Parish Council owned “Kill your speed” signs have been on the A30 for quite some time and we are liaising with Hampshire Highways to arrange for them to be moved to Griffin Way South. The A30 will now be patrolled on a regular basis by a mobile speed camera.

Many thanks to the volunteers who gave up their time to construct the wooded footpath in Shirlen’s Copse so helping walkers to avoid a section that was previously a permanent bog.

Antony Hunter – Parish Councillor