Minutes of PC Meeting, 17th May 2021



held in Stert House on 17th May 2021  


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

The meeting was held face to face with 2 members of the public attending using Zoom.

  1. Reelection of PC members

The Clerk opened the meeting with the following statement. In the recent elections held on 6th May, there being no other candidates putting themselves forward for election to Stert Parish Council, the present council members were duly elected and will continue in their present positions on the Council for the coming term.

  1. Apologies for absence  

Alick Edwards and Philip Whitehead sent their apologies.

  1. Declaration of Interest 

There were no declarations of interest.

  1. Minutes of previous meeting

The Minutes of the PC meeting of 1st March 2021 were agreed, proposed by CL and seconded by LB, and signed by the Chairman.

  1. Treasurer’s report

LB reported that the annual precept of £1500 for the year 2021/2 has been received. The balance now stands at £4,551.80. confirmed by WH in the passbook. The balance includes the £500 already committed to Stert PC’s contribution to the A342 speed limit implementation. It also includes £150 earmarked for the next phone box renovation.

The parish insurance is now due for renewal. We are entering the second year of a 3 year long term agreement so the renewal premium is unchanged at £228.43. This includes insuring the phone box for the sum of £3000. The replacement value of red phone boxes is increasing and my research suggests we should insure it for the sum of £4000, which would cost approximately £8 more, making the renewal premium £236.41, slightly over the budgeted figure of £230. LB asked for authority to renew for the sum of £236.41. This was unanimously agreed.

LB informed that Neville Burrell, our internal auditor, had approved the accounts. She sought authority to buy him the usual gift of 6 bottles of wine to the value of approx. £60. This was also unanimously agreed.

  1. Approval of PC governance and accounts

LB had previously circulated a letter from Neville Burrell confirming the accounts have been prepared correctly. This letter was highly complimentary about how meticulously the accounts had been prepared, the the PC unanimously gave a vote of thanks to LB for her work.

6.1   Approval of certificate of exemption from an external audit, as both our income and expenditure are below £25,000. This certificate asks for a generic email address, which we don’t have. Instead LB gave her own (lucybarker23@hotmail.com)

6.2.   Approval of financial governance statement. CB read out the 9 questions the PC is required to answer, confirming that there is a sound system of internal control, including arrangements for the preparation of the Accounting statements. 

6.3.   Approval of the Accounting statements. LB handed each councillor a copy of the parish accounts, from which the accounting statement has been produced, and which has been approved by Neville Burrell.

Finally, LB pointed out that the internal auditor, when completing his form has new questions to answer this year. The most important one asks him to confirm: ‘ the authority publishes information on a website in accordance with the transparency code for smaller authorities’. LB has a copy of the transparency code. It is important that all documents relating to the PC’s accounts (including the notice re the exercise of the public’s rights to inspect the accounts) are published on the stertparish website.

  1. Stert Village Party

At the previous PC meeting, it was proposed to hold a village party to celebrate the release from lock-down sometime in July. However, in view of the uncertainty about the final opening up of Covid restrictions, it was agreed to postpone setting a date for the party until after the final milestone in the road  map on June 21st.

  1. A342 speed limit

WH reported that April’s CATG meeting had been cancelled and the next meeting was scheduled for 27th May. At the previous PC meeting, Philip Whitehead said he would attend this meeting and seek approval for implementation of the speed limit following the PC’s undertaking to contribute £500 towards the cost. AH said that Urchfont had recently obtained approval for a new speed limit to the east of the village in a few months whereas the present case had taken over a year and was still not approved by WC.

  1. Reopening of the church

CB informed that the church would reopen for services on this coming Sunday. Services would be held fortnightly. A wedding had been held at the church last weekend, the first in over a year. CB expressed his thanks to Richard Curtis for his excellent communications skills during the lockdown period. He also thanked LB for her fund-raising plant stall She has raised about £200 this spring.

  1. Planning matters

CB reported that there were no current outstanding planning applications.

11. AOB

11.1 CB referred to the minutes of the previous meeting giving the timeline for the proposed railway station studies at Lydeway. The current fact-finding phase was due to have been completed at the end of April. This will then be followed by a four month evaluation period by Network Rail and GWR before a decision is taken on whether to proceed with the detailed design phase. AH said that nobody at the Clock Inn had been contacted by the consultant’s team.

11.2  CB asked if anyone had been in touch with Sam Deacon about representing Stert at WC’s webinar on May 25 about  Wiltshire Green and Blue Infrastructure and Climate Strategies, Sam had applied for an invitation but was refused as not representing a stakeholder organisation. LB said she would contact Sam to see if she could represent Stert instead. Post meeting: LB applied to join the webinar but was also refused, the organiser explained the webinar is not intended for PCs!

  1. Date of next meeting

The next meeting was scheduled for Monday 16th August.

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