Minutes of Meeting of Stert PC on 22nd August 2022


held in St. James’ Church on 22nd August 2022  


Chris Lawrence (CL) Chairman

Ann Harris (AH) Councillor

Lewis Cowen (LC) Councillor

Lucy Barker (LB)  Councillor/Treasurer 

William Howkins (WH) Councillor/Clerk

  1. Apologies for absence

Alick Edwards sent his apologies.

  1. Declarations of interest

There were no declarations of interest.

  1. Minutes of previous meeting

The minutes of the previous meeting of the PC were agreed, proposed by LC and seconded by AH, and signed by the Chairman.

  1. Treasurer’s Report

LB reported that the consultation period for members of the public to examine the PC accounts had expired. This means that the accounts for 2021/22 are now finalised.

The PC’s balance currently stands at £4,858.49, confirmed by WH on the printed statement.

Since the last meeting on May 23rd, receipts totalled £130 for various uses of the marquee, tables and chairs and £2.34 in interest.

Expenses included £236.41 to renew the PC insurance (inline with our budget) and £20 for the use of the church for the May PC meeting. The Stert Jubilee party expenditure came to a total of £481.85, the breakdown being: £100 to the Clock Inn Park as a contribution to their Jubilee party, £261.85 for alcohol and barbecue and £120 to LC to pay for the excellent musician. However this figure only represents half the cost of the musician, since LC had funded the balance. LB thought this was wrong as the musician contributed hugely to everyone’s enjoyment. She therefore asked for authority to pay LC the remaining £120 which was unanimously agreed. This would bring the total party cost to £601.85 which is over budget, but the PC accounts are in a healthy state and have received more than expected for use of the PC’s marquee etc.

LB said she had given the usual gift of 6 bottles of wine costing £59.94 to our auditor, Neville Burrell, in lieu of his fee. She asked for authority to pay Alick Edwards £400 being the annual reimbursement for his time and resources in maintaining the village verges etc. She also asked for authority to continue paying Stert PCC for the use of the church for these meetings. Both these requests were agreed.

  1. New banking arrangements

As LB explained at our previous meeting, Nationwide had advised they were closing all Parish Council accounts and Stert PC would have to find a new bank by July 30th 2022. Therefore on July 8th 2022, the PC’s account was closed and the money transferred to Lloyds Bank. This happened more smoothly than LB dared hope. She now holds a cheque book, cheques requiring 2 signatures (as agreed at our May meeting).

LB also holds a visa debit card and will also be able to do internet banking, once the extra paperwork has been completed.  She noted that she would be able to use either of these on her sole authority.

  1. Previous chairman

CL proposed that the PC should show its appreciation to Clive Boyes for his 16 years of service as chairman of Stert PC by planting a tree in his honour. It was agreed that this was a good idea and it was suggested that the tree could be planted in the field adjacent to the entrance to the village (subject to Alick Edward’s agreement) or in the field belonging to Stert House in the vicinity of the tree already there. CL said he would talk to Clive about what kind of tree and where he would like it planted.  

  1. Speed limit

WH said there was nothing further to report.

  1. Footpaths

WH had received a mail from Peter Newell of Urchfont PC about a sign that had been put up by Fullaway Farm indicating incorrectly that the footpath (Ster5) down to Ruddelbats Hanging is a “permissive footpath” rather than a full designated footpath. CL said he would talk to Amber House to get the sign corrected. WH would inform Peter Newell accordingly.

  1. Stert Jubilee Party

CL wished to express the PC’s thanks to LC and his team for the success of the Jubilee party which had been such a success and enjoyed by everyone. Special thanks should also go to Alex Cooper, and to LB and Philip Normington for hosting the party in their garden.

  1. 10. Devizes Gateway

WH reported he had spoken to Catharine Symington, Devizes Development Partnership’s consultant. She informed that the Strategic Business Case Study had passed its first assessment by DfT/Network Rail with the conclusion that more study was needed into the operational feasibility such as timetabling, required infrastructure, etc. It has also concluded that the Devizes station development is also linked to development of Westbury Station. DfT has made additional funds available for the further studies which are scheduled to be concluded by March 2023 so that DfT can make a final decision whether to go ahead with the scheme by next summer. This is taken as very encouraging news as it appears that DfT has accepted that there is a valid business argument for the new station. 

  1. 11. AOB

A Stert resident had made a complaint to WH about having to jump out of the way of a speeding driver while walking his dogs down the narrow lane through the village. His wife had had a similar experience with the same driver. While it was agreed that such complaints be made to the police, the PC would send a message to residents asking that consideration be shown to walkers and horse riders using the village lanes. 

  1. 12.Next meeting

The next meeting was scheduled for 5th December.

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