July and August tend to be the quietest months of the year for the Parish Council, but this year they have included developments on two major planning issues.
Shortly after the last issue of Focus was published, Berkeley Strategic Land, the applicant for Holt Lane, substantially improved their proposals for contributions to Hook.The package now covers all the aspects requested by the Parish Council. These include a new class room at each of our two schools, improved cycle links and the provision of open space and play areas on the Holt Lane development itself. The overhead electricity cables in the area will be placed underground and a new bus shuttle bus service will link that part of Hook with the village centre and rail station. Funds will also be provided for improvements to community facilities and for traffic calming. The area closest to the River Whitewater will be dedicated to open space and nature conservation with public access to the river itself. Outline Planning permission has been granted by Hart subject to the developer entering into the necessary legal agreements. It will be a little while before the detailed plans for the layout of the site and design of the houses become available.
The Old Foundry site, formerly occupied by Matthew Clark, is now empty. Although the activities carried out by the last tenant caused little inconvenience to those living nearby, some previous uses have been much less popular. At one stage the site was used for milk distribution complete with clinking bottles at four in the morning! The new local plan includes a preference for housing on the site bearing in mind that it is surrounded on three sides by houses. Both the Parish and District Council consider housing to be more suitable than industrial use, subject of course to suitable density, layout and access. The owners are looking for a short term tenant but we understand that a planning application for housing is being prepared. Once the application is made the plans will be available for Parish Council and public comment in the usual way.
At long last the weather has been dry enough for the Highway Department’s contractor to renew the stripes on the zebra crossing in Station Road!
The next meeting of the Parish Council is on Wednesday 20th September at the Community Hall at 8pm.
Antony Hunter – Parish Councillor