Those who attended the Annual Village Meeting will recall that the most controversial question on the agenda related to the increase in Reading Road Car Park charges. Hart’s decision to remove the opportunity to buy a ticket to park for one hour has meant that anyone wishing to visit the doctor, dentist or to make more than a swift visit to a shop or a school is now required to pay £1 to park for two hours rather than 30p to park for one hour under the old tariff. Following considerable adverse reaction to the new charges we have been lobbying our District Councillors to reintroduce the option of paying for one hour, removing the new charge for parking before 9am and removing the new charge for evening parking. It’s clear that, as we feared, the impact of the changes has been to increase the number of cars parked in residential roads round the centre of Hook whilst the car park remains underused. Hart Cabinet will revisit the topic of car park charges in early November and we are pressing for the new tariff to reflect the needs of users so as to encourage cars back into the car park and off the surrounding residential roads.
October Parish Council meeting included our quarterly meeting with Highways. Plans to reconstruct sections of Elms Road have been delayed but it is now likely that work will commence towards the end of October. The plans to reduce the speed limit in Reading Road from the junction with the A30 to the B3349 from 40mph to 30mph are progressing and expectations are that the reduction will not only reduce traffic speeds but also reduce the number of cars rat running at peak times. The new traffic scheme on the A30 at Water End has reduced speeds significantly from 72mph to 62mph. The Police are happy with the new layout but a safety audit will be carried out shortly. Highways are investigating concerns about speeds on Holt Lane because use of the lower end of the lane, which has no pavement, by pedestrians and dog owners is increasing as Holt Park becomes occupied. The woods at the far end are proving attractive to children and families and many believe there is a potential road safety problem. Regular flooding occurs at the bus stop near Geoffreys House as a result of inadequate work by Thames Water. Highways are pressing Thames Water to sort out the problem but will do a temporary repair in the meantime.
Antony Hunter – Parish Councillor