Most of Hook will be aware of the fire that took place at the Community Centre on Friday 19th September. Our thanks are due to the teenagers who spotted the fire and raised the alarm, and to local residents for an endless supply of tea and coffee. The Parish Council is working in support of the Community Association towards the aim of opening the damaged parts of the building as swiftly as possible.
On Friday 17th October the newly landscaped area at Grand Parade was formally declared open by our District and County Councillor Jonathan Glen. The tired and overgrown vegetation has been swept away and in its place is an imaginative fresh landscape by local designer and Ravenscroft resident, Rachel Burbidge. At the centre of the scheme is a mosaic created by Maggy Howarth along with a seating area that will quickly become popular as a place to sit, rest weary feet, and have a chat. The Parish Council, responding to local opinion, had long wished to refurbish the area and the overall scheme that is being implemented, including the mosaic researched by Hook 2000, was enthusiastically endorsed at the Annual Village Meeting as far back as 2000 but no funds were available. Now, thanks to a substantial donation by George Wimpey who are developing Holt Park, the scheme has become reality! Fencing has been erected along the edge of the car park to prevent the new planting from vehicle damage, but this is likely to be removed once the plants become established.
Police Inspector Weston attended the October Parish Council meeting and updated us on a number of local issues. It is encouraging that Hook has a relatively low crime rate, but the most common category is the type of crime we can all do the most to prevent, namely theft of laptops and mobile phones from motor vehicles. He stressed the need to take a commonsense approach and not leave these items in cars, particularly at night. Progress on the building of the new Police Station in London Road has been delayed, but it is now expected to open in Spring 2004 with part of the building let to Hart Community Partnership. The mobile speed camera on the A30 has been successful in reducing traffic speeds, because drivers have taken note of the signs and the camera and slowed down. The number of speeding fines has been small. The “Kill your Speed Signs” have been moved back to Griffin Way South, which although not part of the mobile camera route, has been part of the Police Road Safety Campaign in the past few months. Traffic Calming has recently been installed near the Community Centre. There had been a number of incidents of dangerous driving in this section of road which is regularly crossed by parents with young children and is close to the play area. The bumps are designed in accordance with Highway standards so as to slow traffic to 5 miles an hour which is judged to be the safe speed for the area. Additional signage will be installed shortly.
The Hook Schools Bonfire and Fireworks will take place on Saturday 8th November and, as in previous years Hartletts Park, which is where the remains of the fireworks land, will be closed. Marshals will escort people from the Community Centre to the schools before the fireworks start. Sadly in recent weeks there have been a number of complaints about incidents in which adults have set off large fireworks in their own gardens, or elsewhere, with no consideration for either neighbours or animals. The HSPA event however is a safe properly organised display for the enjoyment of the Community as a whole.
Antony Hunter – Parish Councillor