MINUTES OF SPECIAL MEETING OF STERT PARISH COUNCIL , 16/10/22

MINUTES OF SPECIAL MEETING OF STERT PARISH COUNCIL  

held in St. James’ Church on 16th October 2022  

Present:    

Chris Lawrence (CL) Chairman

Alick Edwards (AE) Vice Chairman

Ann Harris (AH) Councillor

Lewis Cowen (LC) Councillor

Lucy Barker (LB)  Councillor/Treasurer 

William Howkins (WH) Councillor/Clerk

  1. Attendance

All the PC members attended the meeting. The meeting was also attended by Mr. and Mrs Elderfield and several other members of the public.

  1. Chairman’s remarks

CL explained that he had called the meeting to discuss only the planning application (PL/2022/07031) for a new stables building to replace the one previously approved at Saddleback Farm. He had prepared a draft statement giving the reasons for complaint about this new application on which he sought the PC’s approval prior to submitting it to WC. Before reading out the statement, he invited the Elderfields to make any comments in support of the application but they declined to do so.

The following statement was read out by CL.

Stert Parish Council objection  to application PL/2022/07031

  1. The proposed new stables are contrary the Wiltshire Council’s Core Policy 51 in regard to the preservation of the landscape in that it is too large and poorly sited. There is an existing approved application for a stable block at 4.75m high. This application is for a much larger stable block at 6.075m high. By volume the proposed stables are an estimated 65% larger and the application is for 6 stalls rather than the 4 currently approved.  The proposed stable block has also been re-sited in that it is no longer screened from the village by a hedgerow. It is in a more prominent position closer to the village. The size and positioning of the stables compromises Core 51 (vi) ‘Important views and visual amenity.’
  2. Wiltshire Council in February 22 adopted  the ‘Climate Strategy and Green & Blue Infrastructure Strategy and Wiltshire’s Natural Environment Plan’. As quoted on the Wiltshire.gov website, Cllr Nick Botterill, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, said: ‘These two strategies show just how seriously we are taking the climate emergency and the need to safeguard Wiltshire’s countryside and support nature’s recovery. We know that we have much more to do, but these strategies will help to guide us as we ensure that environmental considerations and carbon reduction are at the core of everything we do. But we can’t do this alone, and I’d urge our town, parishes and communities to get involved and make changes that will help us to reduce carbon emissions across Wiltshire as we aim to make the county carbon neutral’. (Our italics)

The proposed Saddlepack stables are in the middle of a classic Green and Blue natural landscape, containing within it Worton stream, ponds, hedgerows and a small wood.

In line with the above policy, we would hope that Wiltshire Council would seek to reduce the deleterious impact on this environment and not increase it by approving substantially larger stables.

  1. There is representation from Stert residents that significant work has started on the proposed site in advance of planning permission, despite claims to the contrary in the application. The application states that no trees or hedgerows will need to be removed. This is because it is believed that they have already been removed by the applicants. As this contention is supplied by Stert residents, we would hope the Wiltshire planning department will verify this for themselves.

In view of the fact that these stables are for private use and that no livelihoods would be threatened and in light of the above, Stert Parish Council objects to this application.

  1. Discussion by the PC

This draft objection was discussed by the PC. LC held the view that the landscape could not be expected to remain the same indefinitely and that barns and stables were commonly seen in the Wiltshire landscape. He could therefore find no objection to the proposed building. WH asked the Elderfields why the proposed stables needed to be so high and the building so large. Mr Elderfield explained that the height and size was needed for the storage of hay and straw. WH said his objection was against the size and the building rather than its proposed siting which he thought would be screened from the village by the trees. CL said he would amend the text of the draft complaint to remove the siting as an issue.

There being no further comments from the PC, CL called for a vote to authorise sending the complaint in to WC. The result of the vote was that the majority (2 for, 1 against, 2 abstentions) was for the amended draft to be sent to WC on behalf of Stert PC.  

Minutes of Meeting of Stert PC on 22nd August 2022

MINUTES OF MEETING OF STERT PARISH COUNCIL  

held in St. James’ Church on 22nd August 2022  

Present:    

Chris Lawrence (CL) Chairman

Ann Harris (AH) Councillor

Lewis Cowen (LC) Councillor

Lucy Barker (LB)  Councillor/Treasurer 

William Howkins (WH) Councillor/Clerk

  1. Apologies for absence

Alick Edwards sent his apologies.

  1. Declarations of interest

There were no declarations of interest.

  1. Minutes of previous meeting

The minutes of the previous meeting of the PC were agreed, proposed by LC and seconded by AH, and signed by the Chairman.

  1. Treasurer’s Report

LB reported that the consultation period for members of the public to examine the PC accounts had expired. This means that the accounts for 2021/22 are now finalised.

The PC’s balance currently stands at £4,858.49, confirmed by WH on the printed statement.

Since the last meeting on May 23rd, receipts totalled £130 for various uses of the marquee, tables and chairs and £2.34 in interest.

Expenses included £236.41 to renew the PC insurance (inline with our budget) and £20 for the use of the church for the May PC meeting. The Stert Jubilee party expenditure came to a total of £481.85, the breakdown being: £100 to the Clock Inn Park as a contribution to their Jubilee party, £261.85 for alcohol and barbecue and £120 to LC to pay for the excellent musician. However this figure only represents half the cost of the musician, since LC had funded the balance. LB thought this was wrong as the musician contributed hugely to everyone’s enjoyment. She therefore asked for authority to pay LC the remaining £120 which was unanimously agreed. This would bring the total party cost to £601.85 which is over budget, but the PC accounts are in a healthy state and have received more than expected for use of the PC’s marquee etc.

LB said she had given the usual gift of 6 bottles of wine costing £59.94 to our auditor, Neville Burrell, in lieu of his fee. She asked for authority to pay Alick Edwards £400 being the annual reimbursement for his time and resources in maintaining the village verges etc. She also asked for authority to continue paying Stert PCC for the use of the church for these meetings. Both these requests were agreed.

  1. New banking arrangements

As LB explained at our previous meeting, Nationwide had advised they were closing all Parish Council accounts and Stert PC would have to find a new bank by July 30th 2022. Therefore on July 8th 2022, the PC’s account was closed and the money transferred to Lloyds Bank. This happened more smoothly than LB dared hope. She now holds a cheque book, cheques requiring 2 signatures (as agreed at our May meeting).

LB also holds a visa debit card and will also be able to do internet banking, once the extra paperwork has been completed.  She noted that she would be able to use either of these on her sole authority.

  1. Previous chairman

CL proposed that the PC should show its appreciation to Clive Boyes for his 16 years of service as chairman of Stert PC by planting a tree in his honour. It was agreed that this was a good idea and it was suggested that the tree could be planted in the field adjacent to the entrance to the village (subject to Alick Edward’s agreement) or in the field belonging to Stert House in the vicinity of the tree already there. CL said he would talk to Clive about what kind of tree and where he would like it planted.  

  1. Speed limit

WH said there was nothing further to report.

  1. Footpaths

WH had received a mail from Peter Newell of Urchfont PC about a sign that had been put up by Fullaway Farm indicating incorrectly that the footpath (Ster5) down to Ruddelbats Hanging is a “permissive footpath” rather than a full designated footpath. CL said he would talk to Amber House to get the sign corrected. WH would inform Peter Newell accordingly.

  1. Stert Jubilee Party

CL wished to express the PC’s thanks to LC and his team for the success of the Jubilee party which had been such a success and enjoyed by everyone. Special thanks should also go to Alex Cooper, and to LB and Philip Normington for hosting the party in their garden.

  1. 10. Devizes Gateway

WH reported he had spoken to Catharine Symington, Devizes Development Partnership’s consultant. She informed that the Strategic Business Case Study had passed its first assessment by DfT/Network Rail with the conclusion that more study was needed into the operational feasibility such as timetabling, required infrastructure, etc. It has also concluded that the Devizes station development is also linked to development of Westbury Station. DfT has made additional funds available for the further studies which are scheduled to be concluded by March 2023 so that DfT can make a final decision whether to go ahead with the scheme by next summer. This is taken as very encouraging news as it appears that DfT has accepted that there is a valid business argument for the new station. 

  1. 11. AOB

A Stert resident had made a complaint to WH about having to jump out of the way of a speeding driver while walking his dogs down the narrow lane through the village. His wife had had a similar experience with the same driver. While it was agreed that such complaints be made to the police, the PC would send a message to residents asking that consideration be shown to walkers and horse riders using the village lanes. 

  1. 12.Next meeting

The next meeting was scheduled for 5th December.

Certificate of exemption, 2022

PC Accounts 2021/22

Minutes of Meeting of Stert PC, 23rd May 2022

MINUTES OF MEETING OF STERT PARISH COUNCIL  

held in St. James’ Church on 23rd May 2022

Present:    

Chris Lawrence (CL) Incoming Chairman

Clive Boyes (CB) Outgoing Chairman

Alick Edwards (AE) Vice Chairman

Ann Harris (AH) Councillor

Lewis Cowen (LC) Councillor

Lucy Barker (LB)  Councillor/Treasurer 

William Howkins (WH) Councillor/Clerk

  1. Apologies for absence  

None.

  1. Declaration of Interest 

There were no declarations of interest.

  1. Election of Chairman and Vice Chairman

CB informed the meeting that, having served the PC for 16 years as Chairman, he felt it was time to step down and hand over to a new candidate. He had made his intention to step down at his 80th birthday the previous year, but had been persuaded to extend his tenure for another year by his fellow councillors.

As CL had indicated that he was willing to stand as the new chairman, LC proposed that he be elected and was seconded by AH. This motion was unanimously agreed by all PC councillors. AE had indicated that he was willing to stand as Vice Chairman for another year. His nomination was also proposed by LC and seconded by AH and unanimously agreed.

Before leaving the meeting, CB thanked all the PC councillors for their hard work and the support shown to him over the years. WH expressed the PC’s indebtedness to him for his hard work and wisdom in guiding the PC in its representation of the village residents.

  1. Minutes of previous meeting

The Minutes of the PC meeting of 7th March 2022 were agreed (proposed by AE and seconded by LB), and signed by CL, the new Chairman.

  1. Treasurer’s report

LB reported that since the last meeting there had been two payments, £40 to Stert PCC for use of the church for our PC meeting on 7th March. This was the final payment for FY 2021/22. For the current year, there had been a payment of £240 for the purchase of 15 Ikea chairs for village use. She reported that this year’s precept of £1800 had been received and that the account’s balance now stood at £5524.35. This was confirmed by WH in the passbook.

LB requested authority to pay £236.41 for the parish insurance, £60 for a gift to our auditor, Neville Burrell, for auditing the accounts and £20 per hour or part thereof for use of the church for this meeting. These expenses were unanimously agreed.

  1. Review of budget for Jubilee party

AH had asked the PC if it could make a contribution to the party being arranged by the Clock Inn for its residents. It was agreed that £100 would be appropriate and LB was authorised to give AH the amount in cash. LB was authorised to increase the overall party budget from £350 to £450.

  1. PC audit for 2021/22

LB reported that Neville Burrell had carried out the internal audit and had signed the internal audit report..

  1. Certificate of Exemption from external audit 

As our annual expenditure was less than £25,000, no external audit is required. The certificate of exemption was therefore signed by LB and CL.

  1. Governance Statement

CL read out the various items of compliance with governance regulations all of which were found to have been met. The form was signed by CL and WH.

  1. Agree Accounts

LB handed out copies of the PC accounts for the year 2021/22.  The total receipts for the year had been £1688.90 and the total expenses £776.35, giving a surplus of £912.55. The balance at the end of March 2022 stood at £3964.35. Approval of the accounts was proposed by LC and seconded by CL and agreed unanimously. The accounting statements were therefore signed by CL and LB.

  1. Change of bank

LB reported that Nationwide had given noticed that it would soon no longer be prepared to continue as the PC’s bank. She therefore suggested that the PC should change to Lloyds Bank since their branch in Devizes continued to offer personal service. It was agreed that the choice of bank and when to move the account was entirely at LB’s discretion. The new account would be provided with a cheque book for making payments and it was agreed that CL, WH, AE and LB should be designated signatories (LC was also included after the meeting).

  1. Speed limit within Stert

Following the posting of notices by WC of a proposed 30 mph speed limit within the village, WH had expressed objection on behalf of the PC on the grounds that the limit should be set at 20 mph or not set at all. He was informed that the limit of 30 mph was a standard speed for built-up areas, and setting the limit at 20 mph would involve another traffic survey costing the village £5000. He had therefore withdrawn the objection.

  1. Parish Steward

WH reported he had circulated an email from WC giving the dates scheduled for the Parish Steward to visit Stert. These were 21st June, 19th July, 16th August and 13th September. PC members were asked to photograph anything they would like the Steward to look at and forward it to WH.

  1. Platinum Jubilee Celebrations

LC reported that he had received 50 replies to the invitation sent out to the village and had received plenty of offers of food. Katie Elderfield had offered to supply her home grown pork sausages for which LC thanked her for the generous offer. Miles Elderfield said he could lend his grill. 

  1. AOB

15.1 AE reported that a dangerous hole had appeared at the northwest corner of the old railway bridge opposite the phone box in the village. This needed to be fenced off to prevent someone falling into it.

15.2 It was agreed that CL approach Sam Deacon to ask if she would be willing to serve again as a councillor. 

  1. Date of next meeting

The next meeting was scheduled for Monday 22nd August 2022.

Minutes of Annual Parish Meeting of Stert PC, 23rd May 2022

MINUTES OF ANNUAL PARISH MEETING OF STERT PARISH COUNCIL  

held in St. James’ Church on 23rd May 2022  

Present:    

Clive Boyes (CB) Chairman

Alick Edwards (AE) Vice Chairman

Chris Lawrence (CL) Councillor

Ann Harris (AH) Councillor

Lewis Cowen (LC) Councillor

Lucy Barker (LB)  Councillor/Treasurer 

William Howkins (WH) Councillor/Clerk

  1. Apologies for absence

None.

  1. Chairman’s report

A Government directive requires that the Parish Council Chairman presents a report on Council activities at the Annual Parish Meeting.

Report

2021/2022 is a watershed year for Stert Parish Council as it marked a return to regular face to face meetings held in our Church for the first time since lockdown in March 2020.

As many other important changes have taken place, it seemed a fitting time now for your Chairman to step down which, although signalled to the Council in December 2019 had been postponed at the request of councillors.

Your present Chairman was appointed in 2006 and has therefore completed 16 years in this post. He feels honoured to have served  the Stert Community, supported at all times by a dedicated and talented team of Councillors. He leaves the Council confident that his successor will continue to ensure that Stert remains a quiet rural hamlet as set out in the Conservation Document agreed with the Authorities at the beginning of the present Chairman’s term in 2006.

Without going into detail, the Parish Council’s minutes during the Chairman’s term demonstrate the achievements by the Council in representing the resident’s wishes with various issues that otherwise could have  impacted adversely on their life in the village.

The Chairman thanks the present Council for all their help and hard work over the past year and wishes the incoming Chair every success for the future. Thanks also to our Wiltshire Councillor,Philip Whitehead, for his help and guidance.

2021/2022 Review

At our PC meeting in May 2021 following the local election, there being no other candidates putting their names forward, the present council members were duly elected.  Lewis Cowen was co-opted later in the year and his previous experience as a councillor  has already proved invaluable.

Our treasurer, Lucy Barker, has received compliments on her preparation  of the accounts by Neville Burrell, the PC auditor, who has approved PC accounts at no cost. We have duly thanked him and presented him an annual gift.

Throughout the year, Stert PC has been kept abreast of the possible development of Devizes Gateway Station which is planned to be developed in our parish near Lydeway. However at the time of writing, due to Covid, timing has slipped and no significant progress can be reported.

The Council successfully won a speed limit reduction for the residents of the Clock Inn for a section of the A342. This has now been followed by a restriction being planned for the roads in Stert Village with appropriate signage approved.

For all years starting in 2006, Stert House has been the venue at no cost for all PC meetings. However as Covid had meant that the Church had received a sharp drop in income it was decided to move PC meetings to the church accompanied by a donation for usage.

The annual Parish Christmas party, also held at Stert House for past 15 years was postponed due to Covid restrictions. This event will now be replaced by a village party on June 2 to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

After 16 years, this is my final Chairman’s report and again I thank all councillors past and present and wish Stert PC every success in the future.

  1. Financial Report

LB reported that the income received during FY 2021/22 was £1688.90 and the expenses incurred amounted to £776.35. The balance in the PC’s account on 31st March 2022 stood at £3964.35. Full details of the account have been posted on the PC’s website. This included the provision of £500 earmarked for the A342 speed limit implementation and £150 towards the cumulative reserve for the phone box renovation.

  1. Questions from the public

Miles Elderfield brought to the attention of the PC that he had been told by WC’s enforcement officer that a member of the PC had made a complaint to WC about matters relating to Saddleback Farm. He wished to raise his objection to this interference by the PC. WH denied that he had had any contact with WC about Saddlepack Farm and all the other PC members denied doing so as well. Mr. Elderfield would not say who the PC member was that had contacted WC or what was the complaint about. CL stated that the PC had kept strictly out of any matters of enforcement regarding Saddleback Farm.

There were no other matters raised by members of the public.

PC Meeting Agenda 23rd May 2022


Agenda for The Annual Meeting of Stert P.C to be held at Stert Church on Monday 23 May 2022

  1. Apologies
  2. Declarations of Interest
  3. Election of Chairman and Vice Chairman for 2022/2023
  4. Minutes of previous meeting
  5. Treasurer’s report
  6. Review of budget for Jubllee party
  7. PC audit for 2021/2022
  8. Agree certificate of exemption from external audit
  9. Agree governance statement
  10. Agree accounts
  11. Agree steps to change PC Bank account
  12. Speed limit within Stert village
  13. Parish steward update
  14. Platinum Jubilee celebration plans
  15. AOB
  16. Date of next meeting

Please would members of the public who wish to attend this meeting please
email the Chairman clive.boyes@gmall.com latest by 6.00pm Friday 20th May

Minutes of PC Meeting, 7th March 2022

MINUTES OF MEETING OF STERT PARISH COUNCIL  

held in St. James’ Church on 7th March 2022  

Present:    

Clive Boyes (CB) Chairman

Alick Edwards (AE) Vice Chairman

Chris Lawrence (CL) Councillor

Ann Harris (AH) Councillor

Lewis Cowen (LC) Councillor

Lucy Barker (LB)  Councillor/Treasurer 

William Howkins (WH) Councillor/Clerk

  1. 1. Apologies for absence  

Wiltshire Cllr Philip Whitehead sent his apologies.

  1. 2. Declaration of Interest 

There were no declarations of interest.

  1. 3. Minutes of previous meeting

The Minutes of the PC meeting of 13th December 2021 were agreed (proposed by CL and seconded by LC), and signed by the Chairman.

  1. 4. Treasurer’s report

LB reported that there had been one item of expenditure since the last meeting, £40 paid to Stert PCC for use of the church for our last PC meeting. She requested authority to pay Stert PCC £20 per hour or part thereof for the present meeting. This was agreed. 

The account balance now stood at £4002.23. LB reminded the PC that this balance included £500 allocated to WC as Stert’s contribution to the cost of implementation of the A342 speed limit.

  1. 5. 5tatus of A342 speed limit

WH reported that he had received an email from WC advising that a notice of a public consultation for the proposed implementation of the speed limit on A342 would be gazetted on 17th March. The consultation period ends on 11th April. Comments on the proposal can be made to WC on trafficorderconsultation@wiltshire.gov.uk

  1. 6. Repair of potholes on A342 near Grist Recycling Centre

CB reported that WC had carried out preliminary repairs of the potholed section of the road by Grist’s Recycling Centre. Further more permanent works are planned in the coming months.

  1. 7. Parish Steward

CB had met the Parish Steward when he made a routine visit to the village recently. They inspected the broken drain at the junction to Fullaway Lane and the PS agreed that WC would order the repair work. WH was asked to forward the schedule of visits of the Parish Steward to other PC members so that they could raise any issues with him when he came to Stert.

  1. 8. Future use of church facilities

CB opened a discussion on the proposal to rearrange the seating in the church to make it more suitable for use as a village hall as well as serving the religious needs of the parish by removing some of the pews and replacing them with chairs which could be rearranged to suit the different functions. He felt that the village needed to be consulted either by a questionnaire or by holding an open meeting of residents. LC said that we would get more feedback from a questionnaire than from a meeting which might be attended by only the regular churchgoers and therefore resulting in a biased opinion being given. CL said that  the PC should not get involved in discussions of what should be done to the church seating as it was up to the PCC to come up with definite proposals. The PC would then be able to offer its support to the church as decided at the previous PC meeting.

  1. 9. Devizes Gateway Station

WH reported that he had spoken to Catherine Symington who informed him that she expected to hear the DfT’s comments on the Strategic Business Case report prepared by WS Atkins at a meeting to be held on 14th March. She would then report these back to stakeholders including Stert PC.

  1. 10. Platinum Jubilee Celebrations

CB reported that he had received an email from Mervyn Woods, Etchilhampton PC, relaying notes from their meeting about their planning for the Platinum Jubilee celebrations on 2nd June and asking if Stert would build a beacon. They also asked whether Stert would be interested in joining their village party. AE said he would be happy to build the beacon to which Etchilhampton residents would have course be welcome. This offer was much appreciated by the PC. However, it was also agreed that Stert should hold its own village party rather than join in Etchilhampton’s celebration as we had not held a village party during the past year due to covid. WH would pass this decision on to Mervyn. 

CB asked LC if he would take on responsibility for planning the Stert celebrations to which he agreed.

  1. 11. Purchase of folding chairs for village events

CB asked for the PC’s approval to purchase some folding chairs for village events’ use to replace those that had been broken. It was agreed that LB be authorised to purchase 15 white wooden chairs from Ikea at a cost of £15 each. She said £200 had been allocated for such expenses in the budget for 2021.

Charges for the hire of the village’s marquees were also discussed as the present charges had not been raised for a number of years. To avoid the damage caused by hiring them to people outside the village, it was agreed to limit their hire to village residents. It was also agreed to raise the hire rates to £40 for a marquee and £20 for the tables and chairs.

  1. 12. Village stream

A village resident had recently reported the discolouration of the village stream to the Environmental Agency. CB had informed village residents of this occurrence, advising them to keep an eye on the condition of the water.

  1. 13. AOB

13.1 AH reported that she had been in touch with WC to complain about the state of the footpath between Clock Inn Park and Stert village entrance as well as the blocked culvert pipe draining the main road in the dip near the entrance to the Park that had recently caused flooding of the road.  She was advised to contact Richard Dobson, Highway Engineer, in charge of the Parish Steward.

13.2 Steve Lanson-Dale, who lives in the Old SchoolHouse, has been trying to prevent his sheep from escaping from his field in front of his house. He should be contacted if they escape in future.

  1. 14. Date of next meeting

The next meeting was scheduled for Monday 23rd May 2022.

Agenda for PC Meeting 7/3/2022

Agenda for Meeting of Stert P.C. To be held at Stert Church on Monday 7 MARCH 2022 at 6.30pm

  1. Apologies
  2. Declarations of interest
  3. Minutes of previous meeting 
  4. Treasurers report
  5. Status of A342 speed limit near Clock Inn
  6. Update on repair of bad potholes outside Grist recycling centre.
  7. Parish Steward
  8. Future open meeting with residents to discuss future use of Church facilities
  9. Devizes Gateway railway station progress
  10. Suggested combined Platinum Jubilee celebration with Etchilhampton.
  11. Purchase of replacement folding chairs for village events
  12. Village stream
  13. AOB.
  14. Date of next meeting

Please would members of the public who wish to attend this meeting please

Email the Chairman clive.boyes@gmail.com latest by 6.00pm Friday 4 March.

Budget 2022/23