Hook Heath Neighbourhood Forum

MAY 2013

Sincere thanks to all those people who attended the last meeting of the proposed Forum at Gorse Hill on 24 April and thanks too to those who sent apologies for being unable to be present.

It was a very good meeting in every respect. We welcomed two representatives from Woking Golf Club who attended for the first time together with Graham Cundy, one of our two local Woking Borough Councillors. Graham and Linda Kemeny, our local Surrey County Councillor, both made helpful contributions to our discussions.

Application for registration

You will see from the minutes of the meeting which accompanies this UPDATE that, with some minor amendments, the meeting approved the application for registration of the Forum together with the proposed constitution. The final document incorporating the amendments - which includes land at Brook Farm - has been submitted to Woking Borough Council.

Our application will be subject to public consultation for a period of six weeks in addition to being scrutinised by the Executive and ultimately by the full Council. The whole process could take up to fifteen weeks and, of course, there is always the possibility that the timetable will slip. We shall see.

Working groups and next steps

We had a thoroughly productive and constructive discussion about the issues which residents would like to see included in any Neighbourhood Plan that is prepared. As I have explained previously, we believe that it is desirable that development of the Plan is taken forward through the establishment of three working groups: Built environment; Local infrastructure and Open spaces.

Each of these working groups will require leadership, members and real involvement. I am mindful of the challenges that we shall face, given that people lead busy lives (even those who are retired from full-time employment), but with sensible and realistic objectives, we shall succeed.

Many useful suggestions were made by residents and they are listed in detail in the minutes of the meeting. I was struck particularly by the emphasis placed by residents on the need for the Plan to ensure that the unique character of Hook Heath is preserved for future generations. Allied to that objective, several residents expressed disquiet over the inherent weaknesses of the existing system relating to Tree Preservation Orders.

In short we have generated a pretty comprehensive list of topics in short order for each of the proposed working groups to address. A number of people have previously indicated their interest in becoming involved in one of more of the groups and I hope that we shall be able to establish the groups before our next meeting in July.

For the record

I am honoured to have been elected chairman of the proposed Forum and I look forward to working with my fellow officers who were also elected at the 24 April meeting: Dr David Dare, deputy chairman; Gerald Griffiths, treasurer; and Heather Mustard, secretary.

And finally

I anticipate that over the next few weeks we shall spend some time developing and refining an on-line questionnaire with our webmaster, Dr Neil Cryer. I hope that we shall be able to finalise and distribute it before the next meeting on 24 July at Gorse Hill. Who knows, we might even be able to report on the results of the survey.

Do try to log on to the Hook Heath Residents’ Association website (www.hhra.co.uk) regularly which links to the Forum website

Many thanks for your interest and support. Please contact me if you have any questions, and especially if you would like to join one of the Forum working groups.

Peter Hill
Chairman designate
Hook Heath Neighbourhood Forum

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