We were delighted to welcome around sixty people to the Community Event on 16th July at which Sentinel Housing, Hart Voluntary Action and Neighbourhood Watch provided information desks. The organisations concerned and those who spoke to them all felt the event provided a useful communication opportunity. The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and Parish Council stands were designed as specific consultation displays. The Wildlife Trust’s plan to fence the main sections of the common, whilst preserving access for walkers and riders so as to allow grazing, was very well received. A number of helpful and supportive comments were made about the Parish Plan, both at the meeting and by the formal closing date of 31st July, which are now being incorporated into the final version. The plan is still on our web site for those who have not yet had a chance to read it.
The Police are currently moving their Beat Office into Dickson House in London Road. Hart Voluntary Action move in on 20th September and will operate from the front half of the ground floor and manage the reception desk. Hook will benefit because the Police will be more visible in the Community as they come and go and we understand they plan to run surgery sessions so that it will be possible to talk to an officer face to face.
The public footpaths around Shirlen’s Copse, the wood off Great Sheldon’s Coppice between Mead Hatch Gate and Washbrook, are popular with dog walkers. The copse itself is private property and there is no public right of way into it or through it. However as a result of vandalism by trespassers and lack of maintenance by the owners, certain of the trees may have become unstable.
All premises are required to apply for an amended or new licence if they wish to continue to sell alcohol after November. Licences will be granted by Hart District Council rather than by Magistrates, as was the case in the past. The new licensing regime allows applicants to apply for much longer and more varied hours, but there is much greater scope for residents, the Police and Environmental Health to ask for a licence to be reviewed if antisocial behaviour takes place. Licence Applications are being posted on the Parish Council notice board near Casa Flora as we receive them. As mentioned on the notices, comments should be sent to Hart with a copy to the Parish Council Office.
There have been a number of serious road accidents on the A30 at Water End, Nately Scures, recently including several fatalities. The stretch of road is in Newnham, rather than Hook, but is widely used by Hook residents so we have been taking an interest in plans to make the road safer. Highways have implemented the swiftest and cheapest solution by narrowing the road to one lane in both directions and providing turning lanes. Early indications are that some drivers are being taken by surprise despite the warning signs, so clearly this will take some time to settle down. We will be obtaining an update from Highways at our next meeting with them in October.
A number of pedestrians, particularly mothers taking children to and from school, have expressed concern that some vehicles entering and leaving the Total Garage in London Road do not appreciate that they are effectively crossing a pavement. The unusual kerb layout is probably the cause. Highways have painted dotted white lines across the entrances to make it clearer to drivers that pedestrians have the right of way. We would welcome feedback on this change.
Antony Hunter – Parish Councillor