Hook Heath Neighbourhood Forum

Neighbourhood Forum Update 1 - February 2013

It is now more than two months since we met at Gorse Hill to discuss plans for the establishment of the Hook Heath Neighbourhood Forum and to seek formal registration by Woking Borough Council (WBC). I was delighted to receive your support to take our plans forward.

The fact that you have heard nothing further since that meeting should not be taken to imply that we have sat on our hands in the intervening period. Much has happened and I thought that it would be helpful to provide you with a summary of developments.

Forum website

Many of you will already visit the Hook Heath Residents’ Association website (www.hhra.co.uk) which is regularly updated by our webmaster, Neil Cryer.

Neil has set up a sub-domain site (www.hookheathforum.hhra.co.uk) which I hope will become the principal information source for everyone to keep up to date with developments relating to the Forum. You can access the site by clicking through from www.hhra.co.uk.

Draft registration application and constitution

Meanwhile, we have produced a comprehensive draft registration application and constitution for submission to Woking Borough Council (WBC) later this year. I am indebted to David Dare, Caroline Cox and Heather Mustard for producing a first class document which is an excellent starting point. I record my sincere thanks to them on your behalf.

The latest draft is now with WBC planning department. We look forward to receiving the observations of Council officers before the end of February. Suggested amendments will be incorporated into a further (and hopefully final) draft so that this document can be circulated to Forum members towards the end of March. This will be your opportunity to comment on the draft before our next scheduled meeting on Wednesday 24 April.

Forward timetable

A further helpful and constructive meeting has been held with Ernest Amoako, WBC’s planning policy manager. He provided guidance on the process which will follow submission of our application for registration.

If it is decided to proceed with the application at our April meeting, there is a lengthy process to be followed, dictated mainly by the timetable of Council and executive meetings. WBC is also required to undertake a ‘public consultation’ embracing all residents living within the proposed neighbourhood area.

In that connection we may organise a workshop or open meeting in the summer so that residents have an opportunity to raise questions and to discuss any issues relating to the proposed Forum.

With a fair wind and assuming no serious glitches or other setbacks, therefore, it seems that autumn this year is a likely time for us to anticipate a final, formal decision from WBC. I did stress at our November meeting that we were embarking on a marathon and not a sprint.

Looking ahead

The meeting to be held at Gorse Hill on 24 April will be an important way point and I hope that we shall have a good attendance. In addition to considering the draft application and constitution, other agenda items will include the election of officers and discussion of the key issues which the community considers the Hook Heath Neighbourhood Plan should address.

It would be helpful if you could let me know what issues you would like to see tackled by the three (provisional) working groups which I outlined at the November meeting. They are:

Obviously there will be some overlap and clearly other issues will emerge which may be best addressed by further working groups. We need to identify the key issues and see how they fit within the terms of reference of each of the three initial working groups.

A number of residents have already indicated their areas of interest and in becoming involved. It would be much appreciated if you would contact me if you have not done so already. Development of the plan will depend heavily on the involvement and active support of members participating through these groups.

What next?

If you have any questions, would like to volunteer for membership of any of the working groups or wish to record the key issues you feel should be addressed in the Hook Heath Neighbourhood Plan, please be in touch with me at my e-mail address: The next Forum Update will be circulated at the end of March.

Thank you for your interest and support.

Peter Hill, vice chairman, Hook Heath Residents’ Association

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