Hook Parish Council: Monthly Bulletins 2000
The Dorchester Arms junction has been a cause of concern for many years, both for its accident
rate and because the layout encourages people to drive straight through Hook rather than to divert via
the M3 Junction. We have been advised that funding to install either traffic lights or a roundabout at
the junction is expected to be available in the 2001 / 2002 financial year. The next step will be for
the draft layout to be made available for public consultation.
The Dorchester Arms changes are part of an established medium term plan to
discourage use of the current A30 and encourage use of bypasses and the
M3. Changes in Hook so far include the provision of the roundabout at the eastern end of the
village and traffic calming in Station Road. These measures have considerably reduced North / South
traffic through the village. We are in regular discussion with the Highway Authority about further
steps to reduce North / South traffic, including reducing the width of Reading Road accompanied by a
reduction in the speed limit to 30mph, and possibly also traffic calming. Once the Dorchester Arms
Junction plans become firm it will be possible for us to further develop ideas to restrict East / West
traffic with the Highway Authority. These could include: changing the route of the A 30 to run
round Hook, rather than through the centre of the village; narrowing the road between the Dorchester
Arms and the railway bridge along with a reduction in speed limit and traffic calming. Unfortunately,
all these changes are subject to funding becoming available. The Parish Council will continue to take
every possible opportunity to press for changes to reduce traffic through the village.
The new Redwood Estate agency building is almost ready for occupation and a planning application has
been made for change of use of their existing building to a coffee shop and sandwich bar. The Parish
Council takes the view that this change will provide useful extra facilities in the centre of the
village, subject to conditions as to the evening closing time. A contractor is currently refitting the
former Lloyds Bank Premises but as yet no planning application has been made for change of use.
Our Parish Clerk recently held a meeting with the Highway Authority and the contractor for Southern
Electric to agree the work needed to reinstate the paving in Grand Parade and we expect the work to be
carried out shortly.
At a meeting with Hampshire County Council attended by Councillor Allen Saltmarsh and a number of
parents, just before this column went to press, the County agreed that it was not currently safe for
Hook children to walk to school at Robert May’s in Odiham. Hampshire therefore accept responsibility
for paying for transport from Hook to Robert May’s until a route that they judge as safe is established.
Further information on this good news will be sent direct to parents shortly.
The next meeting of the Parish Council is on Wednesday 20th December 2000 at the Community Hall at
Following discussions with a number of regular users of the new BMX Roller Skating Facility an
onsite meeting took place with the manufacturers who agreed that they need to make changes to the centre
section to improve safety. These will be carried out shortly.
For quite some time residents in the Ravenscroft area have expressed concern about disturbance from cars
in Hartletts Park late at night. Quotations have been obtained for the installation of a barrier at the
entrance to the car park which will be locked at night. Opening and closing hours will be published
before the change is made.
The path through Hartletts Park will be closed on Saturday 4th November which coincides, as usual, with
the annual Hook Schools bonfire and firework night. The closure is for safety reasons and to ensure
that the path does not become a Public Right of Way. Please remove all cars from the area by 3pm as
rocket sticks and other bits of firework will be landing in the car park.
On Sunday 8th October Southern Electric dug a large trench near the Station Road pedestrian crossing
to replace a length of faulty cable supplying the shops in Grand Parade, but filled in the trench
without replacing the paving. They have now made temporary repairs to the paving for safety reasons.
They accept that they are responsible for proper reinstatement of the paving to its original
condition and we are now waiting to be advised of the date they will complete the work.
Recent changes in national Planning Policy Guidelines require mobile phone operators to share sites
for their masts instead of all applying for different sites. It is possible that the proposed site
in Osborne Way will provide facilities for both Orange and One2One.
The Hampshire Wildlife Trust are in discussion with the freeholder of Hook Common to take a long
lease on the site. They will be attending our next Parish Council meeting to discuss the plans
they have in mind if the lease arrangement goes ahead.
It has been suggested that Arthritis sufferers in Hook might be interested in attending a self
help course. The aim of the course, which consists of a two hour session each week for six weeks,
is to help sufferers share experiences and take control of their own situation. Anyone interested
is asked to contact David Deadman on 762237 for more information.
Concern continues to be expressed about speeding in a number of areas of Hook. Griffin Way is the
area of greatest concern. Our local Police will be trained to use portable speed check equipment
very shortly and their efforts will concentrate on checking the fastest offenders and those who
speed in places that have a poor accident record. Lets be sure we watch our own speed so
encouraging others to drive within both legal and sensible limits!
The next meeting of the Parish Council is on Wednesday 1st November at the Community Hall at 8pm
Villagers who live near the station will all remember that One 2 One started to construct
a telecom mast at the end of the station car park without planning permission. Numerous
residents and the Parish Council objected and Hart then issued an enforcement notice
requiring them to reinstate the land to its original condition. They appealed against
the notice and succeeded in having the enforcement notice quashed on a technicality that
would take me a page to explain! The future of this site remains in the balance. (see footnote)
In the meantime Orange have applied for planning for a mast on a site in Osborne Way
well away from any housing and sharing the site with an existing mast. Recognising that
this site would meet local needs for mobile service from Orange, and that most other sites
would be more unsatisfactory, the Parish Council have raised no objection to this site but
have asked that Orange agree in principle that other operators be allowed to share this
mast. ( see footnote )
The continuing expansion of Fleet is now starting to put pressure on the rural area
near Crondall along the A287 near Mill Lane. A planning inquiry that lasted five days
recently considered an application to build a 200 meter deep leisure centre on land
between Bowenhurst Golf Club and the A 287. The Parish Council supported Crondall
Parish Council in opposing the application, adding that if the Inspector approved the
application a substantial contribution should be made by the developer to road
improvements. Within days of this inquiry an application was submitted by Redfields
Garden Centre to construct a new garden centre across the road from the proposed leisure
centre on land that used to be used as a garden centre. Redfields is a long established
business but their current site at Church Crookham is in an area zoned for housing and
industrial use and they wish to relocate. The Parish Council has expressed the view that
if permission is granted a significant financial contribution to road improvements is
needed from Redfields as well. The A 287 is very busy, particularly at peak hours, and
these two developments, if approved, will put a lot of extra pressure on the road.
The area next to 1 Sunnyside Cottages Newnham Road has long been used as a builders
yard and a coal yard. Two large Calor Gas tanks appeared on the site recently without
planning permission for change of use, though a planning application has now been made.
We have established that the tanks are for the use of a Basingstoke private hire firm to
refuel LPG powered cars that they mainly use for airport pickups. Some residents in the
Carlton Close area had expressed concern, but other people have said that they regard the
use as less of a nuisance than the coal yard or builders yard that preceded the tanks.
The tanks are installed to Calor safety standards. The Parish Council decided not to
object but to ask for conditions as to hours of use and the number of vehicle movements
as well a prohibition of gas sales to the public.
Although the Highway Department inspect street lights regularly they are very dependent
on people letting them know when a street light fails. The number to ring is
0800 50 60 60. When ringing please advise them of the road where the light is located and
the column number of the light.
The next meeting of the Parish Council is on Wednesday 18th October 2000 at the
Community Hall at 8pm
The original web version of this report, and the paper version in
Focus, was written in the mistaken belief that the telecom mast application in Osborne
Way replaced the one in the station car park and was from the same operator. The fault
was entirely mine and I apologise. The next paper edition of Focus will also contain a
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
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.
Around thirty villagers attended the Parish Council Planning Committee
meeting on 14th June at which the outline planning application for 285 houses
at Holt Lane was discussed.
Following the Enquiry Inspector's decision to allow development at Holt Lane,
the Parish Council has been working to obtain appropriate benefit for the community
from the developers. This includes funding for new children's play areas,
sporting facilities, youth facilities, an extension to the Community Hall and
finance for local schools. A key part of the plan is for the preservation of the
area nearest to the river for nature conservation along with public access to the
river. The documents provided by Hart earlier on the day of the meeting show that,
although the developer accepts the principle of funding this list of facilities,
the amount of money on offer is totally inadequate to allow these aims to become
Three other important issues mentioned by the Inspector are also not resolved.
Although the enquiry recognised that cars rat-running through the Pantile Drive
area was a problem that would need to be addressed the arrangements currently on
the table do nothing to provide a solution. Earlier plans included putting all
the high voltage electricity cables in the area underground, but this issue is
still not resolved. Perhaps most important of all there is still no co-ordinated
approach for handling surface water run-off and foul water drainage. After a
discussion lasting an hour the Parish Council resolved to ask Hart to refuse
the application on the basis that local requirements were not being met and
that the proposed funding is inadequate.
Following the application to develop the old Woodland Cafe site, we have now
received an application for internal and external alterations to the Dentist's
premises next to the Chemist. Whilst the Parish Council is always keen to support
local business, the proposed parking arrangements at the rear of the building are
a source of great concern. Cars using the entrance down the side of the building
would be a hazard to pedestrians using the public footpath and several of the
proposed parking spaces would actually obstruct the Public Right of Way. The
footpath dates back well over a hundred years and is described in the original
documents as a "ten foot wide grassy track leading to arable fields!" We have
asked for the application to be refused. Hart share our concern and are in
discussion with the applicants for both sites.
Policing in rural communities like Hook is often raised as an issue of concern,
so the local Police and Community liaison group will be holding a public meeting
on Tuesday 11th July. Location and time will be confirmed on the Parish Council
notice boards. It is a chance to express your views so do please come along.
The formal opening of the new BMX facility has been arranged for 11am on Saturday
5th August and we hope to see many BMX fans at the opening and to be able to send
a photograph to the local papers.
The next meeting of the Parish Council is on Wednesday 19th July 2000 at the
Community Hall at 8pm.
At our meeting on 3rd May Chairmen for the current municipal year were appointed.
Peter Jennions is Chairman of the Parish Council with Tony Taylor as Vice-Chairman,
Colin Brown Chairman of the Amenities Committee, Gillian Morgan Chairman of the
Garden and Cemetery Committee, and Antony Hunter Chairman of the Planning Committee.
As is usual David Deadman is focal point of contact for Parish Council matters
apart from Garden and Cemetery issues where the main contact is Frank Sopwith.
As we go to press Hart have advised us that they are about to issue consultation
letters for outline Planning Permission at Holt Lane. We have yet to see the application,
but understand that as expected, it will be for the general layout of 285 houses and
in keeping with the overall brief for the site which Hart have prepared in conjunction
with the developers and a number of interested bodies including ourselves. Detailed
design of roads and individual houses will be provided later. The plans will be
available for inspection as usual at Hart District Council Offices in Fleet, but
in view of their importance to everyone in Hook and, particularly those who live
in that area, there will be an opportunity for villagers to see them at a special
meeting of the Parish Council Planning Committee. This is scheduled for
Wednesday 14th June at 8pm. The location will be confirmed on the Parish
Council notice boards.
Budgens new supermarket recently opened and put up their new signs prior to
obtaining Planning Permission. Planning for the somewhat garish signs has
been declined by Hart at the request of the Parish Council. We are in the
process of agreeing changes to the signs with Budgens to achieve a solution
that is more appropriate to the village centre.
The new BMX skating facility is complete and already being energetically used
by enthusiastic fans. A date for the formal opening of the facility is being
arranged for July. The date will be confirmed in the next issue of Focus and
we hope to see many skateboarders at the event.
A warm welcome to our new District Councillor Andrew Henderson who was elected
to represent Hook on 4th May. Andrew expects to attend Parish Council meetings
from time to time and we look forward to working with him and continuing to work
with Councillor Fergus Kirkham.
Finally we are still pressing the Highways Authority for renewal of the stripes
on the Zebra Crossing in Station Road.
The next meeting of the Parish Council is on Wednesday 21st June at the
Community Hall at 8pm.
Annual Village Meeting took place on Wednesday 19th April and around 50
villagers attended. The
evening included reports from the chairmen of the various committees.
Hook Millennium Group gave a detailed presentation of the two public art
designs being considered for the village centre and both designs were on
display. The meeting was in favour both of the idea itself and the
design by Maggy Howarth, which is the one favoured by the Millennium
Group. They are now going to
seek sponsorship to fund the project concentrating on the companies that
have recently moved into the Bartley Wood Business Park.
Road safety at the Dorchester Arms Junction attracted considerable
comment. This project has
been a Parish Council priority for a very long time.
County Councillor Jonathan Glen explained that redesign of the
junction was now much closer to being a real scheme and now has the full
support of both Hart District Council and Hampshire County Council.
However he mentioned that he was continually having to press
Basingstoke and Deane not to move it down their list.
There was also an opportunity to discuss the Holt Lane Housing
Scheme. Following the
Planning Inspector’s decision there is no doubt that 285 houses will be
built. So far the Parish
Council is having considerable success in establishing that the developers
will make a significant financial contribution to village amenities.
Full formal public consultation will take place shortly.
A planning application has been made to build a three-storey office building
on the site of the Old Woodland Cafe.
This site, next to the chemist, has been an eyesore for years.
Although the Parish Council is keen to see the site put to proper
use we feel the proposed building is much too big for the space available
and we would wish the building to have retail use, not offices, on the
ground floor. A considerable
amount of traffic would be likely to enter the rear of the site using the
public right of way at the side of the dentist’s surgery.
This entrance is also a footpath and we are concerned over the
safety of pedestrians. We
have therefore recommended that the application be refused.
As expected an application has been made for eight new bus shelters
at various points in the village. Their
cost will be covered by the advertising they will carry but we have
requested that certain of them in rural areas are not illuminated.
It’s "good-bye and thank you" to Roberta Flowers who, as well as time on
the Parish Council, served Hook for thirteen years as a District
Councillor, including a year as Chairman.
A by-election to elect a new District Councillor will be held on
Thursday 4th May. Polling is at The Elizabeth Hall from 8am to 9pm.
Don’t forget to vote!
It is almost a year since you elected your Council and time for the Annual Village Meeting which
will take place at the Elizabeth Hall at 8pm on Wednesday 19th April. It's your chance to hear
what your Council have been doing during the last year as well as an opportunity for questions.
In addition to the usual reports from the various committees there will be updates on Odiham
Cottage Hospital and the Holt Lane Development. The Hook 2000 group will be presenting their
ideas for restoration of the Newnham Road Pond and a new sculpture in the village centre.
Last year's meeting was well attended, and the minutes are on the Parish Council Notice Boards.
The Parish Council's annual report will be distributed to all houses in Hook and posted on our
The new BMX facility is now being installed in Hartletts Park but work has temporarily stopped
while we wait for Southern Electric to disconnect the existing lighting so the lamp post
can be moved. Health and Safety regulations do not allow any other contractor to cut
off the power.
The Parish Council has held a meeting with the Holt Lane Developer and Hart District
Council. We have subsequently provided detailed comments covering the protection of
the River Whitewater itself and public access to the river. We believe that vehicle
access to the development should be from a new roundabout on the A30 near the Crooked
Billet, not by a right turn across the carriageway.
The cycleway to Murrell Green Business Park is almost complete and the contractor will
put back the Hook village sign which has been missing during the work. Warning signs
have now been put up on the approach to both the pedestrian crossings. Work to move
the beacons on the Station Road crossing to the roadside and to improve the visibility
and safety of the surface of the crossing is still due to take place at the end of March.
A number of villagers have suggested that the other pedestrian crossing outside the butchers
should be converted to a traffic light controlled Pelican Crossing. We are supporting the
investigation of this idea by the Highway Authority and will jointly evaluate the findings
with them. We are told, however, that experience shows that Pelican Crossings are not
necessarily safer than traditional Zebra crossings.
The Highway Authority are carrying out a study on the Dorchester Arms junction, so
although there are still many steps to be taken before the layout might be changed,
a solution to this longstanding road safety problem is getting closer!
The next meeting of the Parish Council will be on Wednesday 5th April 2000 at the
Community Hall, beginning at 8pm. The Annual Village Meeting will be at the Elizabeth
Hall on Wednesday 19th April 2000