MINUTES OF ANNUAL PARISH MEETING OF STERT PARISH COUNCIL
held in Stert House on 16th July 2018
- Clive Boyes (CB) Chairman
- Alick Edwards (AE) Dty Chairman
- Lucy Barker (LB) Councillor/Treasurer
- Chris Lawrence (CL) Councillor
- William Howkins (WH) Councillor/Clerk
Apologies for absence
WC’s Cllr. Philip Whitehead sent his apologies.
A Government directive requires that the Parish Council Chairman presents a report on Council activities at the Annual Parish Meeting
Several changes have occurred during the past year. Valerie Fairbank of the Willows moved to Marlborough and she was followed by Lewis Cowen and Alex relocating from Urchfont to the Willows. Lewis was previously chief reporter for the Devizes Gazette and had been most helpful in promoting the Cancer Research Car Boot sale that is now an annual event in Stert.
After Peter and Helen Crook moved to Urchfont, Martin Arthur moved into Barn Cottage from Croydon.
Towards the end of 2017, the sale of land opposite Fullaway Farm was finalised and the new owner, Mr. Clyde Wynne-Williams has advised the PC that he intends to utilise this land as a Nature Reserve.
The sale of Claironailes completed in the Spring of 2018 and the new owners Mr. And Mrs. Kevin Lynch have submitted a Planning Application for a substantial extension that is currently being reviewed by the PC.
The revised planning application submitted by Grist Environmental with regard to the Tinkfield site was discussed directly with Grist management and later approved by Wilts Council. The new bund and concreting the loading area is a work in progress but was delayed unduly by the ” beast from the east ” in the spring.
At the urging of the Clock Inn Residents Committee, Wilts Council have done a fine job in clearing the footpath from the Clock Inn to Stert. We are now working on a reduction of the speed limit in this area.
In February, The Devizes Gazette reported that negotiations were well advanced by the Devizes Development Partnership to promote a railway station for Devizes. The proposed location chosen for Devizes Parkway railway station is to the east of the Clock Inn just before Lydeway. After a presentation to Stert residents from the promotors, the scheme was rejected by the PC on the basis that the station would only go forward provided permission would be granted for a major housing development to be built adjacent to the Clock Inn in the parish of Stert. The PC is keeping a close watch to ensure that the wishes of our residents are respected.
Another threat to our peaceful village was the planning application made by the owners of a MotoX course located in Potterne Wick to hold up to 14 events per annum which would mean that most weekends in the Summer would be accompanied by the noise of off-road motorcycles racing within one mile of our village. With the help of neighbouring parishes the application has been rejected.
Again the village came together at Christmas with the Annual Village party attracting approximately 60 residents.
The Stert Talks continued to be held in the Church over The Winter with interesting contributions from Bill Howkins, David Stephenson and Philip Normington and Lucy Barker. These talks have helped raise funds for our Church and more are scheduled for this winter.
My thanks to all Councillors for their voluntary hard work and dedication especially with the amount of time spent on planning applications in order to protect our village from unwanted development.
The PC accounts for the year ending 31.3.18 have been audited and approved by the internal auditor, Mr Neville Burrell. 2017/18 is the first year that we have not been required to have an external audit, since both our income and expenditure are below £25,000.
Our income for the year came to £1,037.54 and expenditure was £807.12. giving a surplus of £230.42. Our bank balance at 31.3.18 stood at £2253.99.
We have kept our precept at the same level for many many years. The Wiltshire Council website shows the precept charged for a Band D property for every parish in Wiltshire.
A band D property in Stert pays £9.90 in 2018/19.
A band D property in Urchfont pays £89.75
A band D property in Etchilhampton pays £41.45.
I could not find another parish with such a low precept! I mention this because, even though we had a surplus last year we may need to consider increasing the precept for 2019/20 when we discuss it in December. We have a major expenditure coming up (telephone box), we have made any economies we could (eg. not renewing WALC sub), and it doesn’t look like we’ll have any extra income this year from marquee use. A 5% increase in the precept may sound a lot but it would only generate another £45 and on a band D property it would be just another 49p.
Questions from the public
Mr John Clements asked if there was any further news about the proposed Devizes Parkway Railway Station. He was informed that the PC had not heard anything further from Devizes Development Partnership but WH undertook to ask for an update on progress if any.