Over the last year we have been working very closely with HVH (Hook Village Halls) on ideas for essential repairs and improvements to the Community Centre. Given that the building is over twenty years old it quickly became clear that a significant amount of money needs to be spent on aspects of the building that either do not meet the requirements of today’s community or are worn out. The entrance door has already been replaced but substantial expenditure is still needed on the roof and on the heating. The acoustics are currently so poor that the main hall is unsuitable for music events or large meetings so they need to be improved. Some will recall that it was necessary to hold the Annual Village Meeting at the Community Centre for a year whilst the Elizabeth Hall was being rebuilt and the considerable difficulty we all had in following the proceedings! There is currently massive duplication of facilities such as showers and toilets so many of these can be removed to free up space. A proposal that the football club relocate to a new pavilion in Hartletts Park is under discussion with club members. Their current space can then be more effectively utilised. Outline ideas include moving the Parish Council office to the front of the building whilst our current office would revert to Meeting Room space. An extensive wish list has been developed as a result of feedback from the Community and there is now a need to translate this into a practical affordable project for review by the Parish Council. Much of the cost of building the Elizabeth Hall and indeed the current Community Centre was met by contributions from developers, but there is no developer money available to help with this project so the bulk of the cost will need to be met by borrowing money to be repaid from the Parish Council precept over a number of years. Given that building work is expected to take place in mid 2011 it is expected that draft proposals will be displayed around the turn of the year.
The Parish Council is in the process of undertaking a review of the Parish Plan in order to update it in advance of pressure to build further houses in Hook. In order to have a valid review it is essential that residents take the opportunity to express their opinions. We will be posting a questionnaire which can either be completed online at www.hook.gov.uk or downloaded and printed. Paper copies can be obtained by contacting the Parish Council office. We urge residents to complete and return the questionnaires to us by 1st December 2010.
Hampshire Wildlife Trust, which manages Bassetts Mead on our behalf, continues to make improvements to the condition of the park compared to when we took it over from Taylor Wimpey. The standard of the fencing, particularly near the Whitewater, was poor and the layout of the posts did not allow the wire between them to be sufficiently taut so it has been necessary to replace many of them. Many of the bridges have been improved for the convenience of walkers and we expect to improve the path through the copse in places where the bark has worn thin. Unfortunately it is necessary to mention the need for owners to pick up after their dog in Bassetts Mead as everywhere else! Not only have there been instances of dog fouling in the park but some people have even left used dog litter bags hanging from tree branches instead of taking them to a bin. There is a crucial difference between the output of dogs and that of cows in that cows have only eaten grass but dogs have eaten a wide variety of things which means that their output can be as bad for fields as it is for human beings! We much welcome the return of Lynn Byfield as our dog warden and she will spend some time in Bassetts Mead.
Antony Hunter – Parish Councillor