Minutes of PC Meeting, 9th December 2019


held in Stert House on 9th December 2019


  • Clive Boyes (CB), Chairman
  • Chris Lawrence (CL), Councillor
  • Lucy Barker (LB),  Councillor/Treasurer
  • Ann Harris (AH), Councillor
  • William Howkins (WH). Councillor/Clerk
  1. Apologies for absence  

Alick Edwards (AE) and Wiltshire Councillor Philip Whitehead (PW) sent their apologies.

  1. Declaration of Interest 

There were no declarations of interest.

  1. Minutes of previous meeting

The minutes of the previous meeting held on 30th September 2019 was approved (proposed by LB and seconded by AH) and signed by the Chairman.

  1. Treasurer’s Report

LB reported that since the last meeting, there had been one payment of £300 to Alick Edwards for village maintenance as previously agreed.  The bank balance now stands at £2,782.07, verified in the passbook by WH.

  1. Precept for 2020/21

LB presented a sheet showing the receipts and expenditures for the past two years and her proposed budget for FY2020/21. It was agreed to set aside £500 for the expected payment to Wiltshire Council for implementation of the A342 speed limit (see next item). This brought the budgeted expenditures to £1420. In setting the coming year’s precept, LB recommended a 5.9% increase over last year’s precept to cover inflation and unforeseen costs bringing the new precept to £1,800. This would amount to an increase of £1.71 for a Band D council tax payer in Stert. It was noted that for Band D properties, last year Stert residents only paid £18, compared with £45 for Etchilhampton and £92 for Urchfont. In view of the above, the PC unanimously agreed to raise the precept to £1,800 (proposed by CL and seconded by AH).

  1. Speed limit on A342

WH had circulated to the PC an extract of the notes from the Devizes CATG meeting held on 5th November. Here it was recorded that the consultants, WS Atkins, had recommended that the speed limit from the entrance to Stert village to the railway bridge by Clock Inn be lowered from 60 to 50 mph. It also recommended that the stretch of the road past the railway bridge to the existing 50 mph limit at Lydeway also be lowered to 50 mph. The indicative cost to implement these changes was estimated at £6,000 of which parish councils concerned would be expected to pay 25%, ie. £1,500.

Following an enquiry by WH to Mr. Andrew Jack, WC’s Devizes Community Engagement Manager, to confirm if Stert PC’s contribution was expected to pay for the whole stretch of road as far as Lydeway, he replied that neighbouring parishes (Urchfont and Etchilhampton) would be asked to contribute. It was strongly felt by the PC that the responsibility for the safety of road users along this national trunk road should be the responsibility of the County Council and not be devolved to the parishes through which the road happened to pass. In view of these considerations, WH proposed that, as only half the stretch was within the Stert Parish boundary, the PC should write a letter to WC explaining that in view of our modest precept we should offer a contribution to the implementation costs of £500. It was agreed that LB should help WH draft this letter for CB to send to WC.

  1. Overhanging growth along Stert Lane

Mrs. Phelps and Mrs Lane had complained to CB that trees and bushes overhanging the lower lane past Orchard Cottage were scratching passing vehicles. CB said that he would get someone to cut the branches back.

  1. Tinkfield Recycling Centre

It was noted that there had been some progress since the last meeting towards completing the bund. The planting of trees was planned but had not yet started due to the recent wet weather.

  1. Lydeway Station update

It had recently been reported in the local press that all the Devizes parliamentary candidates had expressed support for the new station, but that there had been no further definite progress reported.

  1. Replacement of water main on A342

The PC noted that there had been no lengthy traffic delays due to the single lane operation along the A342  in spite of the very narrow passing lane down towards Clock Inn. The work was reported to be on schedule for completion by February.

  1. Damage to telephone box

The recent breakage of a pane in the telephone box was a mystery: no one had reported what had happened to cause the breakage. LB advised that there was a £100 deductible on the insurance policy coverage, so we need not report the damage to the insurer. WH had spoken to Neville Moody who said he could easily make the repair. CL said he would ask him to carry out the work.

  1. PC Christmas Party

CB reported that he had already received a lot of replies from residents wishing to attend the party. He asked for assistance with canapés and for CL to attend his usual barman duties.

  1. AOB

13.1  The street lamp by the phone box was reported to be flickering. WH said he would contact our Parish Steward at WC to see to its repair.

13.2  WH had just circulated a planning application WC  from Helena Carney at Rose Cottage to approve an extension at the rear of her property. As this would affect the neighbouring attached cottage (The Lofts), belonging to the Baggarleys, it was agreed that the PC should discuss the plans with them.

  1. Next Meeting

The next PC meeting is scheduled to be held in Stert House on Monday 24th February 2020, at 6.30 pm.

Events in Stert 2020

Friday 17th January, Stert Talk, 6pm in St James’ Church: by Lewis Cowen. “Twenty -four years before the masthead, (my brilliant career in local journalism)”.

Saturday 16th May, CRUK Car Boot Sale, at Manor Farm, Stert.

Minutes of PC Meeting, 30th September 2019


held in Stert House on 30th September 2019


  • Clive Boyes (CB),  Chairman
  • Alick Edwards (AE),  Dty Chairman
  • Chris Lawrence (CL),  Councillor
  • Lucy Barker (LB),  Councillor/Treasurer 
  • Ann Harris (AH),  Councillor 
  • William Howkins (WH),  Councillor/Clerk
  1. Apologies for absence 

Wiltshire Councillor Philip Whitehead (PW) sent his apologies.

  1. Declaration of Interest

There were no declarations of interest.

  1. Minutes of previous meeting

The minutes of the Annual and Annual Parish meetings held on 15th July 2019 were approved (proposed by AH and seconded by LB) and signed by the Chairman.

  1. Treasurer’s Report

LB reported that since the last meeting, the following payments had been made: £129.95 in cash to CB as reimbursement for the purchase of 20 folding chairs from Ikea, as agreed at the last meeting, and £40.50 for 6 bottles of wine as a gift in lieu of fee to our internal auditor. She reported two receipts: £1.21 as interest on the account and a £45 donation for the use of the village marquee and chairs. The balance in the account stood at £3,082.07 (confirmed by WH in the pass book).

LB asked for authority to pay £300 to AE for village maintenance (mainly verge cutting) during the last year. This is the same amount he has been paid since 2011, and therefore she saw no need to obtain alternative quotes as the PC has always felt that AE gave good value for money. She also said that there were many advantages in having maintenance done by a person in the village who is able to respond very quickly if, for example, a tree comes down. AE having confirmed that he was happy with the amount, the PC agreed the payment unanimously.

Now, halfway through the financial year and most of the expenditure has either been made or agreed upon, LB thought it timely to report on the PC’s finances. The income comes to £1,745 and, assuming a budget of £200 for the Christmas party, our expenditure should come to approximately £1,081 (including a £50 reserve for the phone box). This figure does not include the possible £500 that may be payable for the A342 survey. If we have to pay this in the current financial year, our expenditure would come to £1,581 compared to our budget of £1,530.

At our next PC meeting, we will need to agree the precept for 2020/21 and so it would be helpful to have an idea of any further contributions Stert PC may be asked to make towards implementation the possible A342 speed limit.

  1. Neighbourhood Watch

WH said, apart from some warnings from Wiltshire Police of computer fraud which he had circulated to residents, there was nothing to report. 

  1. Speed limit on A342

WH had received an email from PW giving an update on the result of the speed survey. He reported that Atkins had finished their survey at the time of the last CATg meeting but the results had not been released and no recommendation had been submitted. The results and Atkins’ recommendations will be discussed at the next CATg when a decision will likely be made. It is understood that the recommendation will be to extend the 50mph restriction westwards to include the bends and junction with Stert.  However, this has not yet been decided but will be presented to the CATg for approval.

  1. Tinkfield Recycling Centre.

CB reported that earthworks on the bund had at last been completed and some tree planting had been done. It was agreed that CB should write to Nigel Grist expressing the PC’s appreciation that this work had been carried out and asking when the landscaping of the bund would be completed.

  1. Claironailes update

CL said that there had been no further complaints about the burning of building refuse on the site. He had no complaints about the building which had largely been built according to the plans approved by the PC.

  1. Replacement of water main on A342

The PC agreed that there had been no significant traffic delays due to the single lane operation along the A342 during the course of the works. AE reported that the contractor had benefitted from the dry weather and the work was ahead of schedule. He thought the contractor was doing a good job.

  1. AOB

10.1  Concerning the light shining across the valley,  LB said she had spoken to Mr Douse, the butcher at Market Lavington who owned the farm where the light was situated, and he agreed to try and adjust the lamp causing the complaint.

10.2  Footpath over the railway embankment: Network Rail had agreed to repair the rotten steps up the sides of the embankment.

10.3 Defibrillator. AH gave the PC an update on the defibrillator installed at Clock Inn. She said the unit had cost £750 with £130 for installation. Batteries and pads need to be replaced every 3 or 4 years and cost about £200. These prices are much lower than those from two years ago when last discussed by the PC. It was agreed that the acquisition of a defibrillator for Stert be discussed further at the next PC meeting.

  1. Next Meeting

The next PC meeting is scheduled to be held in Stert House on Monday 9th December 2019, at 6.30 pm.

Minutes of Annual Meeting of Stert PC,  15th July 2019  



  • Clive Boyes (CB), Chairman
  • Lucy Barker (LB)  Councillor/Treasurer
  •  Ann Harris (AH)Councillor
  •  William Howkins (WH)Councillor/Clerk
  1. Apologies for absence

Alick Edwards and Chris Lawrence sent their apologies.

  1. Declaration of Interest

There were no declarations of interest.

  1.  Election of Chairman and Vice Chairman

As both Clive Boyes (CB) and  Alick Edwards (AE) had agreed to stand again for election to the offices of Chairman and Vice Chairman, they were duly elected. CB’s nomination was proposed by LB and seconded by AH, AE’s nomination was proposed by WH and seconded by LB.

  1. Minutes of previous meeting

The minutes of the previous meeting held on 16th May 2019 were approved (proposed by LB and seconded by AH) and signed by the Chairman.

  1. Treasurer’s Report

LB reported that the  PC’s balance stands at £3206.31, and this was confirmed by WH in the pass book.

She had two expenses to report:  insurance renewal of £240.25, as agreed in item 4.5 at the last PC meeting (the budgeted figure for this was £260) and a cash payment to CB of £69.45 as reimbursement for purchase of 10 folding chairs for the village.  This item has not been budgeted for, but could be considered to be covered by the budget of £100 for miscellaneous.

She requested authority to buy the usual gift for our internal auditor and this was agreed by the PC. 

  1. Neighbourhood Watch

WH said there was nothing to report. CB raised the issue of alarms going off in properties whose owners were away from home. Residents are kindly reminded to make arrangements to leave a key with with a neighbour so that he can switch off a false alarm.

  1. Byde Farm planning application

Fiona Squire had submitted an application for change of use for one of the buildings at Byde Farm to convert it into an apartment. The PC had no objections to this application and WH had registered this with WC. 

  1. Speed limit on A342

WH had not received any news of the speed survey prior to the meeting. He subsequently learnt that at a CATG meeting on 25th June, it was reported that there had been a further delay by the consultants in completing the survey and results would now be given in the July CATG meeting. 

  1. Claironailes update.

There had recently been complaints from neighbours about the burning of building waste on the Claironailes site causing noxious fumes. CB had spoken to Mr. Lynch, the new owner, who assured him that he had been only burning wood offcuts and that he would be careful to watch the wind direction in future. Residents are reminded to show consideration to their neighbours when burning bonfires and only burn garden waste.

  1. Replacement of water main on A342

CB reported that he had been informed by David Tennant, Wessex Water, of their proposed schedule of works for the new water main along the A342 as follows: 

    • 22nd July for 7 weeks in the highway with two way traffic lights from near the Fox and Hounds Pub to Ridgecroft
    • 9th September for 6 weeks in the field north of the road from Ridgecroft to the Monument
    • 21st October for 3 weeks in the highway from the Monument to Monument cottages  
    • 11th November for 7 weeks in the field from Monument cottages to Stert village lane
    • 6th January 2020 for 7 weeks in the highway from Stert village lane to Clock Inn cottage

Letters to residents will be sent out around the end of June beginning of July.

  1. AOB

11.1  CB requested the PC ’s approval for buying a further 20 folding chairs to the 10 he had already bought last month from Ikea. He told the PC that the plastic backs on the existing chairs had become brittle and broken and were no longer fit for use. The PC agreed that although not budgeted, it could afford the outlay of approximately £140 for these chairs.

11.2  Sue Bromhead had asked the PC if it could do something about a bright light shining across the valley from a farm in Urchfont disturbing the evening landscape. LB said she had also noticed this light and confirmed that it did cause a nuisance. She suggested that she could talk to the farmer concerned to see if he couldn’t do something to turn it or shield it. This was agreed.

  1. Next Meeting

The next PC meeting is scheduled to be held in Stert House on Monday 30th September 2019, at 6.30 pm.


Minutes of Annual Parish Meeting of Stert PC, 15th July 2019



  • Clive Boyes (CB, Chairman
  • Lucy Barker (LB),  Councillor/Treasurer 
  • Ann Harris (AH), Councillor 
  • William Howkins (WH), Councillor/Clerk
  1. Apologies for absence

Chris Lawrence and Alick Edwards sent their apologies.

  1. Chairman’s Report

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

The Parish Council was pleased to formally co-opt a new councillor, Ann Harris, whom the Clock Inn Park Residents Association unanimously agreed should be their representative on Stert Parish Council. 

There have been no  new  residents either leaving  or arriving during the past year although several houses are on the market.

The land opposite Fullaway Farm and purchased by Mr. Wynn-Williams at the end of 2017 is now being advertised for sale as the owner is moving to Yorkshire.

The Annual Christmas party at Stert House hosted by the PC was attended by approximately 60 residents.

Stert PCC has continued the  series of talks presented by local speakers which have been well received. In particular the talk given  by Mr. Quentin Goggs on Afghanistan has prompted a return engagement in 2020

Planning issues for the 2017/2018 year have continued to involve the Tinkfield Recycling Facility in which Stert PC is monitoring the work in progress compared to the approved plans. We have been advised by our District Councillor, Mr. Philip Whitehead, that Wiltshire Council is powerless to impose a  time limit on completion of works as there are no legal time constraints on ‘works in progress’.

The other planning issue has been the future of Claironailes. This property was purchased by Mr and Mrs Kevin Lynch. The existing property has been demolished and plans for  two storey house was approved by the PC and Wiltshire Council. It is hoped that construction will be completed by October 2019.

The Clock Inn Park Residents Association have requested the assistance of the PC to lobby for a reduction in the speed limit on the A342 between the entrance to Stert and the Clock Inn railway bridge. Wiltshire Council have advised that they will need to conduct a  survey costing £500 to justify this speed limit . Consultants for WC have been appointed and a report on their findings is due shortly.

Wessex water have advised they will be undertaking a major replacement programme of the mains water pipes along the A342 from near the Fox and Hounds to Clock Inn Cottage situated adjacent to the Lydeway railway bridge. The  work is scheduled to start 22 July 2019 and continue until end February 2020.

Finally, Stert’s major asset, the red telephone box, received its scheduled paint refurbishment – the last time was in 2010.

The Chairman would like to take this opportunity to thank all councillors for their support and hard work during the year.In particular the PC would like to thank Councillor Philip Whitehead, our Wiltshire Councillor  for his help and advice on matters pertaining to Stert.

  1. Financial Report

The opening balance of the PC’s account for the year was £2253.99 and the closing balance at 31/3/19 was £1867.71.  There had been one major expense during the year of £450 for the renovation of the telephone box. This needs to be done approx every 10 years and from now on £50 a year is being reserved for this to ensure there are sufficient funds for the next time.

The PC’s internal auditor has now approved the accounts, which are now available to the public on the parish website. The notice for the exercise of public rights of inspection of the accounts is also now on the website and on the village notice board. Both our income and expenditure are below £25,000, so the PC is no longer required to submit to an external auditor.

LB drew the PC’s attention to one figure on the parish asset register  that has changed since our last meeting. This concerns the telephone box, which until this year had been valued at £1, the acquisition cost. She suggested at the last PC meeting that it should perhaps be valued at £3,000, being the insured replacement value. It was agreed she should seek Neville Burrell’s advice and he said the correct valuation figure should be £451 (acquisition cost plus latest maintenance expense). It is quite standard for the stated asset value to be different to the insured value. So £451 is the figure that has been used.

  1. Questions from the Public

There were no questions from the public. 

Notice of Public Rights: 2019

Audit 4

Annual Governance Statement 2018/19

Audit 3