Devizes Parkway: Meeting Notes 2, 8/3/18

DDP Meeting Notes 8-3-18


Devizes Parkway: DDP meeting 8/3/18


Peter Lay (PL),                    Chairman, Working Group
Simon Fisher (SF),             Devizes Town Council Acting Clerk
Richard Gamble (RG),       WC for The Lavingtons
Robert Gordon (RG)
Ceri Gosling (CG)
Simon Jacobs (SJ),              WC for Devizes
Paul Johnson (PJ),              TransWits
Tom Pagett (TP),                 Legal advisor from Awdry Bailey Douglas Chippenham office
Edward East (EE),              CPRE
Graham Day (GD),             Urchfont PC
Peter Hansen (PH),           Etchilhampton PC
William Howkins (WH),  Stert PC

The meeting opened at 10.30am.
PL opened by welcoming reps from Stert, Urchfont and Etchilhampton. He acknowledged that there was no pre-meeting agenda, and no agenda was tabled at the meeting, so matters proceeded at the Chair’s discretion

PL informed that Ceri had contacted 4 senior railway managers about the GRIP (Guide to Railway Investment Process). As a result, Peter L would seek the advice of consultants Ian Harmon, a private consultant with experience working with NetworkRail, on a goodwill basis. Simon Jacobs suggested the group should ask Catharine Symington, an independent consultant with special expertise in rail projects and familiar with the GRIP process and sources of finance. He stated that Peter Webb, a highways expert, had produced initial costings about the access road and junction with A342. He also mentioned improving access to Stert as part of the access road works. These costs were not presented to the meeting. PL then requested permission to start detailed consultant work on new road design.

PJ advised against a road study at this stage until alternative options were developed under subsequent phases of the GRIP process. First, the GWR/Network Rail process should be advanced to determine the viability of the new station before studying the access road. This required a demand analysis following the procedures set out by Network Rail. It has data, which need to be accessed to make this study.

PL has appointed Richard Hosta (or Hosker?) and PKA Architects to assist with the planning application with WC. They would advise on what type of housing should be built and the plans to extend Clock Inn Park. It was emphasised that WC would not approve the housing to go ahead without the station. SJ suggested that Catherine Symington could advise on sources of financing other than from a housing development.. So far £6,980 had been committed in fees out of the £9,000 available. SF queried whether these consultants were needed at this time. The need for the station should be the focus of attention at this stage.

Project development

PL said the aim was to complete the planning process and designs by 2022 in time for the new GWR rail franchise to be let in 2022/2024 so that the new station could be included in the new franchise. He said Network Rail supported privately funded schemes and housing development as part of station planning as this would support use of the station. RG said that the housing development not being in the WC Core Strategy was not a problem as the strategy was already out of date and an update would soon be needed. The station would not be built by GWR. PL said he wanted to proceed with the pre-planning application with WC in parallel with the GRIP process. The consensus was that this would be premature as the proposed plan had not yet been properly developed through the GRIP process. PL said the result of the GWR consultation was expected to be received by June.

PJ said the proposed timeframe for the planning process (ie. by 2022) was not realistic. Wilton Station had taken 5 – 6 years to plan and design. It had taken 2 years to promote the station with Network Rail. Construction of the station will take two years. The original scheme was quite different from that originally planned due to changes during the planning process. Network Rail can carry out the demand survey, but they are very expensive. We could appoint a Network Rail approved consultant (such as Atkins) who knows what procedures are to be followed and try to negotiate our own price to control costs. The new franchise needs to include the requirement that a satisfactory service will be provided to the new station. The new services would have to fit in with the regional timetable planning and strategic aspirations.

PJ emphasised that the GRIP planning process needed to be followed before going to WC for planning approval. There might be issues with the airfield being so close to the station (the carpark was at the end of the landing strip). SJ said expert help was needed to follow the GRIP process and he would ask Catherine Symington to come to the next meeting to brief the group on this. He would contact her to find out when she was available and set a date for the next meeting.

PJ advised all in the group to download the Network Rail guide to planning stations (found on the TransWilts website. (the link to this document was circulated to the group by SF subsequent to the meeting.) TP said he thought it would be helpful if a Ghant chart be prepared showing all the stages and deadlines for this planning process.

WH asked whether alternative layouts were being considered and was told that alternatives would be compared under the GRIP2 stage, selection of options. He also informed the meeting that Stert PC was totally opposed to the housing development immediately north of the Clock Inn Park within its parish boundary, in open countryside and within the AONB.

GD said that routing the access road from Lydeway would solve the road junction problem and would provide a shorter access to the station location with a car park on the south side of the railway. He also requested that the three parishes be fully and officially involved in the planning process, take part in all meetings and be given access to all the documents and minutes of meetings. This was agreed. He also requested that a secretary be appointed to take minutes of the meetings. SF said no minutes had been prepared to date but that members of the group relied on their own notes. GD thanked the group on behalf of the three parishes for being invited to the meeting.

PJ advised that meeting that he could not continue to participate as an active member because of his workload relating to Wilton and Melksham stations. He welcomed the proposed involvement of Catharine Symington.

SJ proposed that current activities should be paused, while a fundamental review of the approach to the project was undertaken, but thanked PL for driving the project forward to the current state. PL agreed that he would immediately notify all consultants to stop work immediately, and estimated that approx.. £3500 of the £7000 committed had been spent to date.

The meeting closed at 12.05pm

Note: GRIP = “Guide to Rail Investment Process”, Network Rail’s planning and implementation procedure. GRIP1: Project identification, GRIP2: Pre-Feasibility, GRIP3: Option selection, GRIP4: Single option development, GRIP5 to GRIP8: Design, Construction, Commissioning etc.



Minutes of Parish Council Meeting, 22nd February 2018

held in Stert House on 22nd February 2018

Clive Boyes (CB) Chairman
Alick Edwards (AE) Dty Chairman
Lucy Barker (LB)  Councillor/Treasurer
William Howkins (WH) Councillor/Clerk
1. Apologies for absence 
Councillors Sam Deacon and Chris Lawrence sent their apologies.
2. Declaration of Interest
3. Minutes of previous meeting
The Minutes of the PC meeting held on 11th December 2017 were approved (proposed by AE and seconded by LB) and signed by the Chairman.
4. Treasurer’s Report
LB reported there had been one payment of £197.87 to CB as reimbursement for the cost of the Christmas party that had been budgeted for £220.  The balance in the PC account now stood tab £2293.99, confirmed in the pass book by WH.

LB did not anticipate any further major spending for this financial year. Our total spending for the current year comes to £767.12, well within our budget and well below the precept. Excluding the Christmas party, total expenditures for 2017/18 has been £569.25. I therefore suggest we budget £600 for regular expenses for 2018/19 plus the cost of parties. This was unanimously agreed.

LB proposed that a donation of £40 be made to the PCC for use of the church for Monday’s special PC meeting. This was proposed by AE and seconded by WH. CB reported that one quote had been received for painting the telephone box. Two more will be sought before awarding the work.
5. Neighbourhood Watch
Nothing special to report apart from a few general theft/scam warnings from the police passed on by email.
6. Tinkfield Recycling Centre.
CB reported he had visited Tinkfield and had met Mr. Nigel Grist and Mr Jonathan Taylor. He reported that the second weigh bridge was being installed and work will soon start on concreting the internal roads within the site. In the meantime, the wheels of lorries are being pressure washed before leaving the site. CB was satisfied that everything possible was being done to reduce the mud being brought onto the main road. A great improvement should be seen when the concreting work is finished by the summer.

Work is continuing on construction of the bund and the sorting shed siding should also be completed by summer.
7. Claironailes
The house agents, Humberts, have advised that the sale of the property to a private owner is proceeding. The buyers have indicated that they plan to build an extension on the house subject to planning consent.
8. Speed Limits.
Requests have been sent by the PC to WC for a 40 mph speed limit on A342 between the Lydeway and Stert junctions and for a 20 mph speed limit in Stert Lane. No response has yet been received.
9. Crookwood MotoX
A retroactive planning application to allow agricultural land on Crookwood Farm to be used for Motocross meetings has been sent to WC. The deadline for public comments on this application is 7th March 2018. At a recent meeting of Urchfont Parish Council, Councillor Philip Whitehead stated that if permission was granted for one such meeting, then WC could not set a limit on the number of such meetings in one year. Urchfont PC strongly objected to the application on the basis of noise, traffic safety and environmental impacts. It was agreed that while Stert PC could not comment on traffic and environmental aspects, it should register its objections to the application due to noise disturbance to Stert residents. LB will post this objection on the WC website.

10. Devizes parkway Station
Separate minutes have been prepared of the briefing on a proposal for a new railway station, held on19th February by two members of the Devizes Development Partnership working group. It was agreed to circulated these to Stert residents as well as posting them on the PC’s website. CB reported that he had already registered on behalf of Stert PC the following objection with the GWR Franchise public consultation:

“Stert residents have always welcomed the possibility of a train station for Devizes. However Stert village now has strong reservations about the funding of this particular scheme. We learnt that half the funding for the station will come from residential development adjacent to the station. We calculate this will involve building a considerable number of houses in open countryside and in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Furthermore, we understand the plan is to build the houses first, followed by the station but without any guarantees that the station is eventually built. There is no planned development at the proposed location in the Devizes or Wiltshire Council housing strategies.”

11. AOB
11.1 AE reported that he had received a supply of salt and that the salt spreader was ready in case of snow during the coming week. He and WH would keep an eye on the forecast.

11.2 WH had noticed that there were some potholes and surface deterioration down the village lane that he would bring to the attention of the Parish Steward.
12. Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held in Stert House on Monday 30th April 2018, at 7.30 pm.

Proposed Plan of Devizes Parkway Station

Devizes station

Proposed Plan of Devizes Parkway Station presented by Devizes Development Partnership  at meeting of Stert PC on 19th February 2018.











Minutes of Special Parish Council Meeting, 19th February 2018

held in St. James Church on 19th February 2018

Present:   Stert PC:
Clive Boyes (CB) Chairman
Alick Edwards (AE) Dty Chairman
Sam Deacon (SD) Councillor
Lucy Barker (LB)  Councillor/Treasurer
William Howkins (WH) Councillor/Clerk
Councillor Chris Lawrence sent his apologies.

Devizes Development Partnership:
Peter Lay (PL), Working Group Chairman
Simon Fisher (SF), deputy clerk Devizes Town Council

Also present were 42 Stert residents and other members of the public.

1.  Devizes Parkway Station
At the request of Mr Fisher, he and Mr Peter Lay came to brief Stert PC on the proposal for a new railway station to be located on the main line to the east of Clock Inn Park. Stert residents had been invited to attend the meeting.

CB opened the meeting by introducing SF and PL.

In 2022, a new franchise for the GW network is to be put out for bidding. This proposal, by Devizes Development Partnership (DDP), is being put together as part of the forward planning for improved services to mid Wiltshire to be included in the new Great Western Rail franchise. This meeting is part of a public consultation to determine the support for a new station at Devizes. Devizes is the largest town in Wiltshire without a train station. The town council has conducted an ‘assessment of need’ and concluded the need exists, specially since nationally. train travel is growing rapidly.

The present franchise provides inadequate service for the mid-Wilts region. It does not realise the potential of Westbury as a hub with connections to the north, south and west. Making Westbury a rail hub should be a key part of the future services to the SW region, requiring the provision of a fourth platform.

Current plans for the main line comprise electrification of the Berks-Hants main line only from Reading to Newbury beyond which the main line to the west will be served by diesel trains. The fast long distance service with limited stops will be provided by bi-modal trains.

DDP has submitted (subsequent to meeting) a Response to Public Consultation on the GW Franchise justifying the building of a new station for Devizes. The reopening of the branch line to Devizes was no longer feasible due to property encroachment on the old line.

PL showed a plan of the proposed station, access road and parking for 400 cars (see below). The station is proposed to be located ¾ mile east of the railway bridge at Clock Inn and would consist of two full length platforms connected by a footbridge. The access road is to branch off from the A342 just east of the Etchilhampton turning and traverse the field south of Wabi Farm. From the eastern end of Clock Inn Park, it is to run along the northern side of the existing railway line to the far end of the existing airstrip.

Stert residents were surprised and concerned to hear that, between the access road and Clock Inn Park, a 6.5 hectare area is to be designated as a site for residential development. This development will be used to generate funds to help pay for the station development.

PL said that a certain amount of land would need to be acquired for the access road, housing development and station facilities. He said he had already spoken to the 4 land owners affected and had had positive conversations about acquiring this land. He plans to establish an option to buy the relevant land at a pre-agreed pricing formula.

When asked about the funding for the scheme, PL said that 50 percent of the costs would be derived from profit from the housing development. The remainder would be met from public sources. When asked about the costs, he said that he had no estimates at present, but hopes to have them by the end of March. Members of the public stressed the need for a proper business case for the station.

Replying to a question about the implementation programme, he explained the first stage, GRIP1 – project scope, had been submitted on 20th February. The next steps, GRIP2, GRIP3, (project feasibility and assessment of project options) would follow. He said the whole project would have to be completed by March 2022. An impact study would be needed for the housing project addressing infrastructure needs, such as schools, health centres etc. Members of the public were assured that a full time-line, showing each step of the project, would be published.

When asked about the number of houses to be built as part of the project, PL said it depended on the type of houses, (high end or low cost), but this had not yet been decided. He said the houses would need to be built before the railway station so that the funds derived would be available for the construction of the station and roadworks. Concern was expressed that the housing might go ahead and then the station construction be cancelled after the houses had been built. PL assured the meeting this would not happen. Members of the village stressed they would want to see written guarantees that no houses would be built without full written approval and commitment to building the station.

Concern was raised about the junction between the proposed new station access road and A342 as it already carries a lot of traffic and the present Etchilhampton junction was on a blind bend and traffic passed at high speed. PL said that this would be studied as part of the scheme and could result in a combined junction to Etchilhampton, Stert and the new access road. SF pointed out that a highway consultant had recently reported that by national standards, this section of the A342 is ‘lightly used’. PL said he also hoped to incorporate into the project a safe cycle route between Devizes town and the station.

PL hopes soon to discuss the project with the Wiltshire Council. So far, the 3 county councillors involved in the project are: Richard Gamble, Simon Jacobs and Peter Evans.

As there were no further questions, CB closed by thanking PL and SF for a very interesting briefing.
Further information and drawings can be seen at, and follow the link to Devizes Parkway station.
2. Next meeting
The PC meeting scheduled to be held after the above briefing was postponed until 5 pm on 22nd February.

Plan of proposed new Parkway Station prepared by DDP.



Minutes of Parish Council Meeting, 11th December 2017

held in Stert House on 11th December 2017

Clive Boyes (CB) Chairman
Chris Lawrence (CL) Councillor
Lucy Barker (LB)  Councillor/Treasurer
1. Apologies for absence 
Councillor/Clerk William Howkins and Councillors Sam Deacon and Alick Edwards sent their apologies.
2. Declaration of Interest 
3. Minutes of previous meetings
The Minutes of the previous PC meeting held on 25th September were approved (proposed by CL and seconded by LB) and signed by the Chairman.
4. Treasurer’s Report
LB reported there had been one payment of £300 to Alick Edwards, as approved at the previous meeting.
The parish account now stands at £2490.53.  (CL verified this balance in the pass book).

LB reported that PC expenses so far this financial year come to £569.25, with the only further anticipated expense being the Christmas party. In April we budgeted £700 for expenses other than the Christmas party. The PC finances are therefore well below budget. It was agreed to budget £220 for the Christmas party.

Council Tax resolution: it was agreed to keep the PC precept at the same level as 2017/8, being £915.05. Proposed by CL, seconded by LB.
5. Neighbourhood Watch
Nothing to report.
6. Tinkfield Recycling Centre.
It was noted the planning permission decision has been postponed to December 20th. Subsequent to meeting: Planning application 17/05091/WCM was approved subject to conditions on 13th December 2017. Full details of the conditions can be seen on the WC website.

The PC was pleased to note that the building of the bund is progressing and that there is a wheel wash in operation most of the time.
7. Claironailes
The  property failed to sell at auction at the required price. It is therefore still for sale through Humberts.
8. Speed Limits.
A342: The Clock Inn Residents Assoc has requested Stert PC’s support for a 40mph speed limit between the Lydeway and Stert junctions. A letter was drafted to support this and will be sent by CB on behalf of Stert PC.

Stert village road: it was agreed an application for a 20mph speed limit should be submitted by WH.
9. Crookwood Motox 2018
One written complaint from a Stert resident was received about this in 2017.

It was agreed to advise Philip Whitehead/WC/Urchfont PC/Potterne PC that Stert Parish would tolerate the noise from one, or maximum two, such events per year but not more. Stert village is not affected by the traffic from such an event and so cannot comment on this issue.

10. Parish Christmas Party
To be held on December 22nd 6.30-8.30 by kind invitation of Clive and Georgie Boyes. Everyone in the parish is welcome. It was agreed to invite a number of non-residents.
11. AOB
Telephone box: it was felt this needs a new coat of paint and Neville Moody will be asked to quote.
12. Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held in Stert House on Monday 19th February 2018, at 7.30 pm.


Minutes of Parish Council meeting – 25th September 2017

held in Stert House on 25th September 2017

Clive Boyes (CB), Chairman
Sam Deacon (SD), Councillor
Lucy Barker (LB),  Councillor/Treasurer
William Howkins (WH), Councillor/Clerk

1. Apologies for absence 
Alick Edwards and Chris Lawrence sent their apologies.

2.  Declaration of Interest 
SD informed that she had recently applied to WC for permission to fell several trees on her property including the leylandii that were obscuring the view from the churchyard.

3.  Minutes of previous meetings
The Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting and the previous PC meeting held on 17th July were approved (proposed by LB and seconded by SD) and signed by CB.

4.  Treasurer’s Report
LB reported that since the last meeting, there had been a single expenditure of £54 for a gift to Mr. Neville Burrell in lieu of fee for the internal audit. A donation of £30 had been received for use of the village chairs for a wedding. The balance now stands at £2790.53, as confirmed in the passbook by WH.

Our income for the current year is £1036.21 compared to £1018.03 this time last year. Our expenditure this year totals £269.25 compared to £570.92 for this time last year.

LB was pleased to report that the 2016/17 accounts had been approved by the external auditor. She requested approval to pay Alick Edwards £300 for the past year’s verge maintenance and this was unanimously approved.

5.  Neighbourhood Watch
WH had circulated a report to residents from Wiltshire Police about thefts from parked cars especially at out-of-the-way sight-seeing spots, giving advice on how to take precautions. Apart from this, there was nothing specific to report.

6.  Tinkfield Recycling Centre.
CB reported that WC’s decision on the revised planning application had recently been postponed until 20th October to allow Grist Environmental to clarify further aspects of their application following the receipt of comprehensive comments from North Wessex Downs ANOB and Etchilhampton Parish. These mostly concerned the construction of the proposed bund along the eastern boundary to mitigate the negative visual impact of the site and the timing of these works. Concerns were also raised about congestion on A342 due to site traffic and the mud it brought onto the road. The application should clarify where the material for the construction of the bund would be sourced and give a definite time scale for its completion.

SD suggested that the problem of the mud on the road should be directed to the Environment Agency.

7.  A342 verge maintenance
It was noted that work had started on clearing and resurfacing the footpath beside A342, starting opposite the Fox and Hounds pub and working towards the Tinkfield Recycling site. When this section was finished, work would start on the section between Stert Lane and Clock Inn.

8.  Sale of Land at Stert.
CB said he understood that the contract for the sale of the land opposite Fullaway Farm was signed last week. The new owner intends to use it as a nature conservation area.

9.  Claironailes
The new owner of Claironailes has said he intends to put the property up for auction in the near future. The PC will carefully monitor any future planning applications for the development of this property.

10.  AOB
10.1 Discharge into Stert Brook. Last month, Rachel Lawrence reported a bright orange discharge which she noticed in the stream at the ford by Mill Cottage. LB and SD traced this upstream to the discharge point from below the old WC landfill site (now beneath Grist Environmental waste transfer station). LB took a sample of the water from the stream (although this was not analysed) and reported the incident to the Environment Agency. The EA did not consider the incident to require emergency response and instead referred the matter to WC. Neither the EA or WC have taken any action, nor WC responded to the PC’s detailed questions regarding the incident. It appears that the sudden discharge may have been caused by work done by a WC’s field maintenance contractor while replacing the old pipework at the discharge point.

After much discussion, it was concluded that this was probably an isolated incident and whilst the PC sought action, the regulators considered no further action was required. Residents are asked to report any reoccurrence of water pollution incidents immediately to the EA Pollution Incident Hotline 0800 80 70 60 and then to the PC so that the matter can be pursued further.

10.2 Motocross. CB reported that a Motocross (dirt biking) event had been held in Potterne Wick on two occasions, the latest on 26th August from 9 am till 6pm. Because of the noise disturbance, Potterne PC had tried to prevent these meets, but WC had issued a licence some years ago. Stert PC had also received complaints from residents about the noise. Potterne PC was presently discussing the future of the event with WC with a view to have the licence revoked.

10.3 The Christmas Party will be held on 22nd December at Stert House. The PC thanked CB and Georgie Boyes for again offering their house for the occasion. CB added that the carol singing around the village would be on 18th December and the carol service in the church would be on 20th December.

Other village events in the near future are:
Sat 14th October Concert in St James’: Music for Awhile, Bach and Sons
Fri 3rd November Stert Talk by W. Howkins: “My world adventure as a civil engineer”
Sun 19th November Recital in St James’, 2 violins and organ, Daphne Moody et al.
Fri 8th December Stert Talk by David Stephenson, “Hip replacement, technology in motion”
For further details, see Parish Website “”.

11.  Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held on Monday 11th December at 7.30 pm in Stert House.