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.

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