Minutes of PC Meeting 5th December 2022


held in St. James’ Church on 5th December 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

Also present were several members of the public.

  1. Apologies for absence

There were no apologies.

  1. Declarations of interest

There were no declarations of interest.

  1. Minutes of previous meeting

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

  1. Treasurer’s Report

LB reported that since the meeting on 22nd August, there had been the following payments; £120 to LC for the balance the PC agreed to pay for the hire of the musician at the Jubilee party, £400 to AE for village maintenance, and £40 to Stert PCC for use of the church for the previous PC meetings. 

The PC’s balance currently stands at £4,298.49, confirmed by WH on the printed statement.

LB raised the question of the budget for the Christmas party. She proposed a budget of £150 and this was agreed.

LB also sought approval for the purchase of a tree to acknowledge the service of Clive Boyes to the village on his retirement as Chairman of the PC. He wished for an apple tree to be planted for future residents of the village to enjoy. LB had done some research and estimated the cost would be about £50, and sought agreement to spend this amount. 

The speed limit signage had at last been put up and LB requested approval to pay WC the £500 previously approved when it requested payment. This was agreed.

  1. Precept

LB presented a spreadsheet showing the receipts and payments made during the past year 2021/22, and the budget for the current year 2022/23. It also showed a proposed budget for the coming year 2023/24 totalling £1685. She therefore proposed that the precept be kept at £1800, which is far lower than Urchfont or Etchilhampton. It was unanimously agreed to keep the precept as LB proposed.

  1. Planning application PL/2022/07031 Saddlepack Farm

CL explained why he was opposed to the application. He said that he did not blame the applicants for pursuing their various planning applications but rather he blamed Wiltshire Council for not following the guidelines set out in its core strategy regarding protection of the landscape, it being classified as prime woodland/hedgerows, and for not following up on enforcement of the conditions set for the approval of the applications. Regarding the present application, his objection was that the proposed stables building was much larger than the previously approved building and was not justified just for personal use, as stated in the application. CL said he would circulate to the PC a draft comment to be submitted to WC. He then invited the applicants to respond to his statement. Mrs. Elderfield explained that they had always planned to keep 6 horses, but had previously thought that two could be kept outside. However, the ground had proved too wet for this, so they now needed stabling for all six horses. Mr. Elderfield also disagreed that the proposed revised building was significantly higher than the one previously approved by WC.

WH said he was opposed to the application on the basis of its size and LC stated that although he was aware that many people in the village opposed the application, he could see no reason not to support it.

CL, having asked if there were any further comments, called for a vote on whether the PC supported the application. The vote was two to one objecting to the application with two abstentions.

  1. Previous chairman

CL had discussed with Clive Boyes the planting of a.tree in acknowledgement of his service to the village as chairman of the PC. It was agreed that a suitable place for the tree was on the bank of the lane next to the bench just before Manor Cottage.  LB offered to purchase the tree and CL said he would draft a text for a plaque to be attached to the tree. 

  1. Tree work

Should the PC be involved in applications for tree work in the village? This was discussed and it was agreed that the PC should retain its right to object to trees being felled in the village preservation area, but would routinely leave applications to be decided by WC’s tree officer. Tree work applications would be circulated to the PC by the Clerk and commented on by email.

  1. Stert party

The party is set for 7 pm on13th December. LC reported that he would set up a marquee for the party but if the weather turned inclement he would hold the party in doors where there was room for 40 to 50 people. All the arrangements were under control.

  1. Devizes Gateway Station

WH had not been able to get an update from Catherine Symington so there was nothing new to report.

  1. AOB

11.1 Flood damage to the footbridge at the end of the village had been reported but this had since been fixed by the Greenberg’s gardener.

11.2 WH reported that Ian Roberts had offered to run a Facebook page for the village where resident could post notices of relevance to the village. The PC welcomed this initiative providing that he would set it up and run it.

  1. Next meeting

The next meeting was scheduled for February 6th, 13th or 20th, to be confirmed at a future date.

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