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News Bulletin: March 2007

The term of office of all twelve Parish Councillors expires in May and we know that at least two will not stand for re-election. Apart from that, new ideas are essential to ensure the Council meets the aspirations of our Community. We are holding an informal open session at the Parish Council Office in Ravenscroft on Saturday 10th March from 10.00 until 13.00. Please come along if you are interested or ring Anne Atkins or any Parish Councillor.

The Christmas Cracker was a huge success in 2005 and 2006 and many thanks are due to Sue Gibson who led the team of volunteers. However a new volunteer team leader is needed if the Cracker is to happen in 2007. Please see the item elsewhere in Focus.

Hart are currently finalising their budget for 2007/8. Because of their funding difficulties, yet despite the public concern over car parking charges in 2005, an increase in charges is on their table for consideration. As a result of opinions expressed by ourselves and others a proposal for Sunday charges has been withdrawn. We are hopeful that a plan for an increase in short term charges, which would impact on the school run in particular, will be dropped. We have suggested that if more revenue is essential it should be found by an increase in the longer stay charges.

Our second phase of Community Speedwatch is scheduled for March. Please see the separate item in Focus.

We have been working with Newnham Parish Council and Hampshire Highways to achieve an extension of the Hook 30mph limit on Newnham Road through the currently derestricted length near Owens Farm and right through Newnham. All involved are supportive of the change and the fact that the lower limit on the whole network will improve road safety in Hook. The change has the full support of our County Councillors who are working to ensure that a recent change in central government “guidelines” does not cause delay.

The recent application to demolish a number of homes in the Holt Lane area and build some 40 “affordable homes” on the site has been causing much concern. The proposal, which the Parish Council continues to oppose, would be totally out of keeping with the other homes in the area. Whilst there is no doubt that “affordable homes” are needed, the “affordable homes” concept is that such dwellings be spread within a Community and not bunched altogether. It seems likely that Hart’s Planning Committee will consider the application by April.

In early 2006 applications were made for two separate phone masts on the B3349. These were refused because the applicants had not attempted to share a single mast, had not shown that they had considered alternative sites and for landscaping reasons. Since then the applicants have been working on a proposal to share a single mast and to demonstrate that the site concerned is the most suitable. In the meantime customers who use those operators and live in North West Hook continue to suffer poor reception. Residents in homes near the B3349 have recently received an anonymous letter asking them to object to a new application, despite the fact that no new application has yet been made. That letter contains a number of inaccuracies and the author provides no contact details, so making the document illegal. If and when a new application is made Hart’s normal procedure would be to write to those who expressed an opinion on the previous application. Any new proposal will be published on Hart’s web site and listed on the Parish Council Planning Agenda.

Antony Hunter – Parish Councillor