Minutes of Meeting of Stert PC, 23rd May 2022


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


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  


  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.

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