held in St. James’ Church on 16th October 2022  


Chris Lawrence (CL) 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. Attendance

All the PC members attended the meeting. The meeting was also attended by Mr. and Mrs Elderfield and several other members of the public.

  1. Chairman’s remarks

CL explained that he had called the meeting to discuss only the planning application (PL/2022/07031) for a new stables building to replace the one previously approved at Saddleback Farm. He had prepared a draft statement giving the reasons for complaint about this new application on which he sought the PC’s approval prior to submitting it to WC. Before reading out the statement, he invited the Elderfields to make any comments in support of the application but they declined to do so.

The following statement was read out by CL.

Stert Parish Council objection  to application PL/2022/07031

  1. The proposed new stables are contrary the Wiltshire Council’s Core Policy 51 in regard to the preservation of the landscape in that it is too large and poorly sited. There is an existing approved application for a stable block at 4.75m high. This application is for a much larger stable block at 6.075m high. By volume the proposed stables are an estimated 65% larger and the application is for 6 stalls rather than the 4 currently approved.  The proposed stable block has also been re-sited in that it is no longer screened from the village by a hedgerow. It is in a more prominent position closer to the village. The size and positioning of the stables compromises Core 51 (vi) ‘Important views and visual amenity.’
  2. Wiltshire Council in February 22 adopted  the ‘Climate Strategy and Green & Blue Infrastructure Strategy and Wiltshire’s Natural Environment Plan’. As quoted on the Wiltshire.gov website, Cllr Nick Botterill, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, said: ‘These two strategies show just how seriously we are taking the climate emergency and the need to safeguard Wiltshire’s countryside and support nature’s recovery. We know that we have much more to do, but these strategies will help to guide us as we ensure that environmental considerations and carbon reduction are at the core of everything we do. But we can’t do this alone, and I’d urge our town, parishes and communities to get involved and make changes that will help us to reduce carbon emissions across Wiltshire as we aim to make the county carbon neutral’. (Our italics)

The proposed Saddlepack stables are in the middle of a classic Green and Blue natural landscape, containing within it Worton stream, ponds, hedgerows and a small wood.

In line with the above policy, we would hope that Wiltshire Council would seek to reduce the deleterious impact on this environment and not increase it by approving substantially larger stables.

  1. There is representation from Stert residents that significant work has started on the proposed site in advance of planning permission, despite claims to the contrary in the application. The application states that no trees or hedgerows will need to be removed. This is because it is believed that they have already been removed by the applicants. As this contention is supplied by Stert residents, we would hope the Wiltshire planning department will verify this for themselves.

In view of the fact that these stables are for private use and that no livelihoods would be threatened and in light of the above, Stert Parish Council objects to this application.

  1. Discussion by the PC

This draft objection was discussed by the PC. LC held the view that the landscape could not be expected to remain the same indefinitely and that barns and stables were commonly seen in the Wiltshire landscape. He could therefore find no objection to the proposed building. WH asked the Elderfields why the proposed stables needed to be so high and the building so large. Mr Elderfield explained that the height and size was needed for the storage of hay and straw. WH said his objection was against the size and the building rather than its proposed siting which he thought would be screened from the village by the trees. CL said he would amend the text of the draft complaint to remove the siting as an issue.

There being no further comments from the PC, CL called for a vote to authorise sending the complaint in to WC. The result of the vote was that the majority (2 for, 1 against, 2 abstentions) was for the amended draft to be sent to WC on behalf of Stert PC.  

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