Minutes of PC Meeting, 13th February 2023


held in St. James’ Church on 13th February 2023  


  • Chris Lawrence (CL) Chairman
  • Lewis Cowen (LC) Councillor
  • Lucy Barker (LB)  Councillor/Treasurer 
  • William Howkins (WH) Councillor/Clerk
  1. Apologies for absence

Alick Edwards and Ann Harris sent their 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 was agreed, proposed by LC and seconded by LB, and signed by the Chairman.

  1. Treasurer’s Report

LB reported that since the meeting on 5th December 2022, there had been the following payments; 

  • £40 to Stert PCC for use of the church at the last meeting,
  • £29.80 for purchase of the apple tree to mark the retirement of the previous chairman,
  • £113.51 to LC for Christmas party costs. (The PC unanimously expressed their thanks to LC and Alex Cooper for arranging the party),
  • £77.88 for membership of Wiltshire Association of Local Councils. The PC had stopped being a member some years ago but rejoined this year as advice was needed on the freedom of information request received by the PC,
  • £500 to Wiltshire Council as the PC’s contribution to implementation of the A342 speed limit. This amount had been reserved in the accounts since 31/3/21.

The account’s balance currently stands at £3,537.30, confirmed by WH on LB’s phone.

  1. Previous chairman

The wording to be engraved on the plaque by the apple tree planted in acknowledgement of Clive Boyes’s long service as chairman of Stert PC was agreed as follows:

Planted in 2022 to mark 16 years of service by Clive Boyes, as chairman of Stert PC, ably assisted by his wife Georgie’.

  1. Coronation Party

It was unanimously agreed that the PC should hold a party to celebrate the coronation of HM King Charles on the day set by the Government for public celebrations, Sunday 7th May. It was suggested that a marquee could be set up in the church yard the residents asked to provide food. The PC would supply drinks up to a cost of £250. It is hoped that volunteers can be found to organise the party.

  1. PC Emails

LB suggested that the PC should have its own email address so as to separate the PC’s official correspondence from the clerk’s private mail. This would also facilitate future hand over of the PC’s correspondence to the Clerk’s successor in due course. WH agreed that this was a good idea and LB suggested that he ask Philip Normington if he could help in setting this up.

  1. Meeting protocol

The participation of the public at PC meetings was discussed. LB said that according to her understanding of government regulations, members of the public were only allowed to listen to the business being discussed at PC meetings, and were not entitled to speak unless specifically invited to do so by the Chairman. She suggested that the following clarification should be minuted:

‘Members of the public are welcome to observe at any PC meetings. They may raise questions by invitation of the Chairman during the time set aside at each meeting for public participation, but are otherwise not entitled to speak and should remain silent throughout the meeting. The public do not have a legal right to speak at parish council meetings.’

  1. Devizes Gateway Station

WH reported that he and LB had attended the AGM of the Devizes Development Partnership on 8th February at which Catherine Symington (CS), WC’s consultant for the Gateway Station studies, made a presentation of the progress to date. As a result of the submission of the Outline Business Case study last November, it was concluded that there was a good strategic argument for the station. Network Rail had therefore been appointed by the Department for Transport to undertake an Interim Feasibility Study to supplement these findings. The study will be submitted to DfT at the end of March 2023. At this stage, WC/DDP will present the findings of the study to stakeholders, including the parishes most affected by the proposed station. 

CS showed a tentative layout plan with access to the station from the A342 midway between the railway bridge and the Lydeway junction, and the station carpark to the south of the line. Further details of CS’s briefing are given on the Stert parish website, http://www.stertparish.com. 

  1. AOB

LB raised the question of the administration of the village marquees, tables and chairs. Quite a number of chairs had been broken over time and the marquees should be checked to see if all the components are complete. At present there are 37 chairs and 6 tables kept in the shed at Manor Farm. It was subsequently agreed that, in future, a deposit of £20 should be made to cover damage costs on top of a £20 donation to the PC for loan of the tables and chairs. LC offered to administrate the loan of the PC equipment and check it was returned clean and in good condition. 

  1. Next meeting

The next meeting was scheduled for 22nd May.

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