NEIGHBOURHOOD FORUM UPDATE 10
It is traditional at this time of year to look back and review the successes and achievements recorded over the past twelve months. I have tried to reflect on the progress we have made in each issue of this monthly Update so, instead, my principal focus will be to look forward to the next year.
It promises to be a challenging year. We have our eyes fixed firmly on seeking to complete an initial draft of a Hook Heath Neighbourhood Plan. That is a tough and demanding objective given that everyone involved in the Forum’s working groups does so in an entirely voluntary capacity.
Our working groups have made useful progress in laying the foundations of policies for the built environment, our local infrastructure and open spaces. However, I do not underestimate the amount of much more detailed work to be undertaken.
Those of us who attended the policy writing workshop earlier this week led by our Locality consultant, Stella Scrivener, certainly now have a clearer understanding of what a Neighbourhood Plan should contain and how policies should be developed.
Save the date
Central to our programme over the first quarter of the year will be a Neighbourhood Forum ‘drop-in’ event.
This will be held at the Woking Tennis & Croquet Club in Pine Road, Hook Heath on Saturday 15 March 2013. Doors will open at 11.00 am and the event will be open through to 3.30pm; all residents - younger residents please note - will be most welcome.
This will be an opportunity for people to meet members of the Forum’s steering group, ask questions, learn more about the policies being developed and, most importantly, provide us with your thoughts, suggestions and ideas. Ultimate success in securing support for our Neighbourhood Plan will turn heavily on the input and support received from the whole community.
Invitations will be distributed to all 721 residential addresses in mid-February but be sure to enter the Forum ‘Drop-in’ date of 15 March - now - in your 2014 diary. Tea and coffee will be available.
Other diary dates
Make a note also of the two Forum meeting dates in the first half of next year:
- Thursday 10 April commencing at 7.30 pm, De Vere Venues, Gorse Hill, Hook Heath
- Wednesday 11 June, commencing at 7.30 pm, De Vere Venues, Gorse Hill, Hook Heath
Thanks to further data mining of the 2011 Census information by Peter Spreckley, we are building an interesting statistical profile of our Neighbourhood Area. I mentioned in the November Update that we are very keen to encourage greater involvement and participation of younger people in the work of the Forum.
Of course, it is well understood and appreciated that younger people have important family and professional priorities. However, if just a few younger residents - and please understand, I am not excluding older residents - were able to contribute a little of their time and expertise, it would really help to build momentum.
We know you are out there! Some 42% of our residents are aged between 30 and 59 and the median age in the Hook Heath Neighbourhood Area is 46 while 27% are aged between 60 and 75+.
If you would like to contribute your energy, enthusiasm and expertise to help shape the future development of this unique area of Woking for the benefit of future generations, send me an e-mail at:
Methodist Homes (MHA), which owns the Woodbank Care Home in Holly Bank Road, unveiled its plans for the redevelopment of the site on 19 December. At shorter notice than it would have wished (although we managed to publicise it on the HHRA website), MHA displayed an artist’s impression of the ‘assisted living scheme’ which will be constructed on the site. It appears to be an attractive replacement for the existing property which will be demolished. Subject to planning approval, work is expected to commence in July 2014.
De Vere Venues is also planning to activate an existing planning permission for development at Gorse Hill with some minor changes. The development includes the construction of a new building to accommodate the training rooms from the existing annex; the conversion of the existing annex space into bedrooms; and a new access to the building. The company has explained that there will be no significant change to the size or external appearance of the buildings or to activities on the site.
There is growing interest locally in the development of neighbourhood forums. Woking Borough Council this week began the six week public consultation period for the formal designation of the West Byfleet Neighbourhood Forum and Neighbourhood Area.
Closer to Hook Heath, more than 80 residents have agreed to form the Brookwood
& Bridley Neighbourhood Forum with local councillor, Kevin Davis, being elected as chairman of its management committee. Obviously, both areas face different issues from those we have identified in Hook Heath, but it is encouraging to know that residents are enthusiastic about making their voices heard.
On behalf of all the residents and businesses within the Hook Heath Neighbourhood Area, I record my sincere thanks to my colleagues on the Forum Steering Group, the Working Groups and the Management Committee for their hard work and their terrific contribution to the exercise over the past twelve months.
Meanwhile, please accept my good wishes for a very Happy Christmas and New Year.
Thank you for your interest and support.
Hook Heath Neighbourhood Forum
PS: Don’t forget to make a date to drop in at the Tennis Club on Saturday 15 March 2014.
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