LIFE-SAVING equipment has finally been installed near shops in Hook after the county council apologised for a delay in giving it the green light.

Hook and Odiham Lions bought a defibrillator, and it has now been installed near Grand Parade, in Station Road, in the village centre.

Terry Cheesman, a former president of the group, said an application was made by Hook Parish Council, on behalf of the group, to install the defibrillator on the land in October.

But Hampshire County Council, which owns the land, admitted three weeks later that it had lost the application.

Mr Cheesman said this mistake came after three months were spent in the summer trying to get the county council to say if a licence was necessary.

Permission was granted in December, after The Gazette made enquiries about the application’s progress.

Mr Cheesman, of Ravenscroft, Hook, said: “We are very happy now but disappointed about the delay as I think we are all agreed that it may have been used before now if it had not been for the delay.”

The equipment can be used by anyone and contains a recording of instructions. It works when a member of the public calls 999, and, if appropriate, the call-handler will advise where the equipment is and give a code to use it. After it is used, it will be checked by South Central Ambulance Service employees to make sure it is still working.

Councillor Seán Woodward, executive member for economy, transport and environment at Hampshire County Council, said: “The addition of a defibrillator on Station Road will be an invaluable life-saving piece of equipment, and I can only apologise for the delay in processing the planning application.

“It was unfortunate that the first application was misplaced but also, due to the specialist nature of this request, we needed to verify that the standard licensing processes applicable to other equipment on the highway was appropriate here.”