Results of the Parish Council by-election on 2nd July were Andre Baronne 304, David Burke 279, Gordon Winter 269, David Hilton-Gee 262. Andre Baronne took his seat at our meeting on 5th August but David Burke did not do so citing a change in personal circumstances. This leaves a vacancy as posted on our notice boards on 6th August. Unsuccessful candidates at the July election do not simply “move up” so we expect to learn on 27th August if at least ten electors have written to Hart requiring a fresh election. If that number of letters has not been received the Parish Council will select a resident to fill the seat under the process known as co-option.
Until the early 1980s responsibility for providing street lights in residential roads lay with Parish Councils so as a result we own and maintain some 108 street lights in residential roads in central Hook. From the early 1980s responsibility for providing lights on new residential roads passed to developers who then handed them to Hampshire County Council to maintain. Almost all of our lights are well over thirty years old and will need replacing over the next fifteen years at a cost of just under £1,000 per column. We are taking the opportunity to join Hampshire County Council and a number of other Parishes in a private finance initiative which will replace all our lights over the next five years, remove the risk of a large number of lights needing replacement at once and spread the cost of replacing them and their maintenance over thirty years.
The design of the new Outdoor Gym was finalised in May and we had expected to install the ten pieces of equipment in Harletts Park, opposite the Community Centre in the school holidays. However each piece of equipment requires steel foundations that temporarily protrude through the safety surface during construction so for safety reasons installation was rescheduled and will now start on 7th September. Equipment from three different companies was considered and visits were made to two existing sites. Independent advice is that the chosen equipment provides an excellent range of exercises with capability for a thorough workout for an enthusiast. The cost of the equipment and installation is being met from money provided by Taylor Wimpey as part of the Planning Agreement in respect of Holt Park.
As previously reported Hampshire County Council has been studying the traffic flows using the route from Holt Lane to Griffin Way via Pantile Drive and Four Acre Coppice. Their findings and proposals for the way forward are written up elsewhere in Focus. Comments to the Parish Council are welcome, either now or when their Access Only proposals are published assuming the change is supported by the Police.
Well over a year ago Sentinel Housing displayed proposals to build a replacement for Gregory House on land off Newnham Road at Owen’s Farm. We expressed strong opposition to this idea of building on agricultural land. Not only would it have expanded Hook but it would have stranded elderly people in a remote location and a long way from any shops or medical facilities. Following a change in their management we have had a further meeting with Sentinel and are delighted that they have confirmed that they have now abandoned the idea.
Roads and street lights at Holt Park are still owned by Taylor Wimpey because they have not completed all the work that is needed before Hampshire Highways adopt them. Phase 1, which is the area off Great Marlow and as far as Sedges is probably about 90% to specification but there is a lot of work still to be done on Phase 2. We are working with Highways to try to push along completion of the roads and lighting. Street lights will become increasingly important over the next couple of months. Lighting faults can be reported to our office and we will take them up with Taylor Wimpey. When reporting a fault please help by quoting the column number, if there is one, or the number of the nearest house if there is no column number.
Antony Hunter – Parish Councillor