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News Bulletin: June 2008

The Annual Village Meeting was held in the Community Centre this year because the Elizabeth Hall was not available due to building work. Around 70 residents attended and visited the Exhibition which was followed by answers to questions. The minutes will be published on our website but there were a number of items raised on which we can provide an update:

  1. Comment was made that cars are still regularly parking on the verge by the Cemetery and that the result is that the grass is now severely damaged and becoming very unsightly. There had previously been doubt as to the ownership of the land concerned but we have been able to finally confirm that it is owned by Hampshire Highways so we can now agree a solution with them to keep cars off the grass and reinstate the verge.
  2. South West trains have cutback on the opening hours of the station ticket office after the morning peak due to staffing difficulties which they hope are temporary. We will keep in touch with them to ensure that the issue is not forgotten.
  3. A number of residents have requested allotments and we have made arrangements with Basingstoke and Deane so that Hook residents can rent an allotment in Basingstoke. Clearly this is not as satisfactory as an allotment in Hook. Unfortunately there is no land available and all the fields surrounding Hook are under option to developers in one way or another. We hope to find a landowner who would allow his land to be used for allotments, at agricultural rent, on an agreement that would return the land to him if Planning Permission were ever to be obtained.
  4. When Holt Park started to be developed Taylor Wimpey funded a traffic survey to assess the extent to which Four Acre Coppice was being used as a “rat run.” Now that the development is complete a follow up survey has just been undertaken and the results should be available shortly.

Work on the new Elizabeth Hall is progressing and various contractors are now completing the fitting out. After the move the old hall will be demolished and the landscaping completed. The main delay in moving across has been caused by the need to tackle water leaking into the area under the stage and basement. This is not an uncommon problem on clay soil and a technical solution has now been found.

Saturday 14th June promises to be an exciting day in Odiham and all are invited. Odiham Parish Council and the Town Manager Group, along with many other local bodies including ourselves, are supporting an RAF Heroes day. A Parade in the High Street and flypast at 11am will be followed by a “Blues and Booze” event in The Bury until 6pm. There will be plenty of signed parking.

The new skate park is under construction and will open on Sunday 8th June at 2pm. The project has been funded by money from Taylor Wimpey under a legal agreement connected to the Holt Park development and by a contribution from the Big Lottery Fund. A user group of skaters provided considerable help in agreeing the design and there is more information elsewhere in Focus.

A joint venture with Hampshire Wildlife Trust and Hampshire County Council has led to the planting of over 200 wildflowers at Coalhouse Corner by children from the Junior School. There is more news elsewhere in Focus.

Our May meeting elected Nigel Carpenter as Chairman of the Parish Council and Martin Whittaker as Vice-Chairman for the 2008/2009 Year. Jane Bonnin was re-elected as Chairman of the Planning Committee and Tony Taylor was elected as Chairman of the Amenity Committee. Our office is the focal point of all knowledge and information so it does help if questions or comments are directed to the office team in the first instance rather than to individual Councillors. In the past most issues have automatically rested with the Chairman but in order to spread involvement more widely and make better use of the skills of our Members we have agreed to specialise and work with the office team on our particular areas of expertise.

Antony Hunter – Parish Councillor