Category Archives: Minutes of meetings

Minutes of PC Meeting, 13th July 2020

MINUTES OF MEETING OF STERT PARISH COUNCIL 

held in Stert House on 13th July 2020

Present:

  • Clive Boyes (CB), Chairman
  • Alick Edwards (AE), Dty. Chairman
  • Chris Lawrence (CL), Councillor
  • Ann Harris (AH), Councillor
  • Lucy Barker (LB),  Councillor/Treasurer 
  • William Howkins (WH), Councillor/Clerk

The meeting was held in Stert House with councillors and the public observing social distancing.

  1. Apologies for absence  

None.

  1. Declaration of Interest 

There were no declarations of interest.

  1. Minutes of previous meeting

The minutes of the previous meeting held on 11th May 2020 were approved (proposed by LB and seconded by AE) and signed by the Chairman.

  1. Treasurer’s Report

LB reported that since the last meeting there were 2 items of expenditure to report: £36 to Bill Howkins as reimbursement for our WordPress subscription to maintain our website address and £228.44 to Zurich insurance company for renewal of our parish insurance. Both these amounts are less than the budgeted figures.

The PC’s balance stands at £3577.53. This includes an ‘earmarked reserve’ of £50 for future renovation of the telephone box and also includes £500 for the further contribution towards the A342 speed limit project that Wiltshire Council have requested from Stert PC.

The accounts for 2019/20 have now been approved by Neville Burrell and they are now on the village website and are open for inspection by interested members of the public. LB requested approval to buy the usual gift for Neville Burrell in recognition of his helpful and thorough work which he does for free.

Now seems a good moment to compare the Stert parish precept with other local parishes. For a Band  D rated property in Stert the precept is £19.84 for the current year. If you lived in Urchfont that Band  D figure would be £93.38, and in Chirton it would be £68.85.

One of the reasons the precept is so low here in Stert is because, unlike those parishes, we have no paid employees. Bill, as clerk doesn’t even claim office expenses. However we are now facing 2 challenges which may result in us having to pay for technical help (with the obvious impact on next year’s precept) unless there are some kind volunteers in the village who feel they may be able to help. We are trying to research setting up remote access for our PC meetings, which is why this meeting is being held in person. Remote access is needed to allow members of the public to join our meetings, especially in winter when we can’t meet outside.  If anyone has experience of eg. Zoom/Microsoft teams and feels they could help us, we would be very grateful.

Secondly, we are required by law to ensure our website is accessible to people with various disabilities, such as impaired vision or learning disabilities. However there is a ‘get out’ in that we can plead this would impose a ‘disproportionate burden’ on our resources. To plead disproportionate burden we must first have carried out an assessment of the work involved to make  the website accessible. It is carrying out this assessment that the PC would appreciate help with. If anyone thinks they might be able to help, please contact Bill.

  1. Land at Stert

Three fields opposite Byde and Fullaway Farms have recently been purchased (April/May) by Miles Elderfield. He is presently based in Ludgershall from where he runs an agricultural contracting business.  In early June, he started clearing the brambles and undergrowth beneath the wooded area of the land. At subsequent meetings with the PC on site, he and his wife, Katie, explained that they intended “to give the woodland some much needed tlc by clearing the brambles and thorns that seem to be strangling the trees, encouraging them to grow and flourish for the future.” He said they will shortly be cutting the grass for hay and hoped to be able to graze a few cows on the land once all fencing etc is secure. Katie said her goal was to breed horses on the land. They said that they hoped to spend some time on the land and in the long term were hoping to live on site in a caravan or in a log cabin. To begin with,  they were planning to build a barn in the clearing within the wooded area for which they had applied to WC for planning permission.

The PC has been concerned that the Elderfields started clearing the undergrowth during the nesting season, which risked disturbing ground nesting birds. Bats and barn owls are regularly seen over the woodland.  LB had been in touch with the Forestry Commission, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and Louisa Kilgallen, the Wiltshire Council ecology officer, who had advised that Stert PC should be sure to request a full ecology survey when a planning application is submitted. Members of the parish expressed grave concern about possibly reckless disturbance to an area of high biodiversity, which almost certainly is a habitat to wildlife protected by the Wildlife and Countryside act of 1981. There is also concern about increased farm vehicle traffic on the narrow approach lane, which is also part of the Wessex Ridgeway. So far, no planning application has been registered by WC on its planning website: the PC is monitoring this daily. Until an application has been submitted, the PC cannot take any action. It was agreed that CB would send a email to the Elderfields asking them if they have had confirmation of receipt of their application from WC.

  1. Stert Website

WH reported that he had recently received a notification from the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) that, from September, all council websites would be required by law to be made accessible for handicapped users. The web sites should allow fonts, colour and contrast to be adjustable, the image to be zoomed to 300% without spilling off the page, the site to be navigable using the keyboard alone, with speech recognition and items to be audible using a screen reader. There was an opt out if “disproportionate burden” can be shown. This entails preparing an accessibility statement and an assessment of the costs and benefits of making the website confirm to the new requirements. The accessibility statement is estimated to take 1 to 3 days to prepare at a cost for an IT expert at £1,500 per day, or at a cost of £1,500 to £4,500.

The PC suggested that WH send an email to village residents asking whether anyone had any special accessibility problems with the current website so as to demonstrate the benefits or lack thereof of changing it.

  1. A342 Speed limit

WH reported that Community Area Transport Group (CATG) still had not met due to the corona virus since their meeting held on 28th April. No new date had yet been set for the next meeting and until then, there was no action taken on the implementation of the speed limit. WC Councillor Richard Gamble told the PC that he had just taken over as Chairman of the Group and confirmed that this item was still top of the agenda for the next meeting.

  1. Closure of the Church

CB stated that the church would remain closed until further notice. 

  1. Lockdown review

Members of the public present were asked if they had any problems with the lockdown restrictions. It was generally felt that everyone had managed well and the PC was thanked for its help in identifying local shops with a delivery service, click&collect etc.. Philippa Hatlapa’s local shop had also been a helpful source of groceries.  

  1. AOB

There were no items of the other business.

  1. Next Meeting

The Annual PC meeting is scheduled to be held in Stert House on Monday 7th September 2020, at 6.30 pm.

Proposed New Railway Station at Lydeway

Notes on Meeting of PC with Devizes Development Partnership (DDP)

held in Stert House on Monday 13th July at 6 pm

Present: 

DDP: Iain Wallis (IW), Richard Gamble (RG)

Stert PC: Clive Boyes (CB), Alick Edwards (AE), Lucy Barker (LB), Ann Harris (AH), Chris Lawrence (CL), William Howkins (WH)

The meeting was held between two members of the DDP and Stert PC. The meeting was called by DDP to update the PC on the status of the proposals for a new railway station at Lydeway.

Richard Gamble introduced himself as a director of the DDP, a Wiltshire councillor and chairman of the Devizes Community Area Transport Group (CATG). Ian Wallis is chairman of the DDP and a Devizes businessman.

In February 2018, when DDP (represented by Peter Lay) last briefed the village on their proposals, a plan was shown for a station, comprising two platforms with a foot bridge linking them and a large carpark adjacent to the station. The access road was shown branching off the A342 just below the Etchilhampton turnoff and after swinging in an arc northwards into the field belonging to Richard Hill, then running parallel to the railway line. The station and car park were shown on the north side of the railway by the existing airstrip. Also shown on the plans was a housing development in Richard Hill’s field. The proposal for the housing development was strongly opposed by members of the audience at that meeting. A response as part of the consultation for the renewal of the GWR franchise was submitted by DDP to Network Rail in February 2018 in which the new station was proposed.

At Monday’s meeting, RG summarised the changes that had occurred since 2018. Devizes was the largest town in Wiltshire which is not served by rail and DDP had received strong support for the proposal from Danny Kruger, MP for Devizes, who thought that it would stand a good chance to receive funding from the Government’s £500 million fund to help towns develop plans for new railway lines and stations. Devizes is estimated to have a population of 37,000 by 2026.

What is needed now is for DDP to complete the study to prove the economic and technical feasibility of the scheme. He explained that the developments in rolling stock offered an opportunity to achieve an hourly service for Devizes, The existing long distance trains were too heavy and slow to stop and start and were not suited for stopping at smaller country stations. A new generation of five coach binary trains, electric/diesel powered, which were lighter and more powerful, could operate an hourly service stopping at Gt. Bedwyn, Pewsey, Devizes, Frome and Westbury. This was entirely feasible and there was sufficient capacity on the line for such a service without conflicting with the through fast service London-Reading-Newbury- Westbury-Yeovil etc.

A key feature of the proposals was connectivity with the north/south services operating through Westbury. This would offer a service to Bath and Bristol,  as well as south to Southhampton. RG said that in discussions with GWR, they had shown interest in the proposed new station and saw an opportunity to take some of the traffic load off the congested Swindon line.

IW explained the need for businesses to attract skilled workers to work in Devizes. At present there was a definite constraint in attracting qualified staff due to the lack  of a rail service to the town. He also said that international visitors were put off attending meetings in Devizes as it was not served by a rail. RG said that from his time as WC Councillor for education, he found that a much smaller percentage of school leavers in Devizes went on to further education than elsewhere in Wiltshire due to the lack of a  rail service. He also stressed the importance of a rail connection for the development of tourism in Devizes, with its archeological sites, the canal and the open landscape. Whilst the station would serve commuters travelling from Devizes, that is not intended to be its primary function.

The Devizes station project is one of 10 schemes in the country that has been approved to make a ‘strategic outline business case’ for a station. RG informed that a consultant, WS Atkins,  had just been selected to carry our the feasibility study. DDP had received £50,000 from the Department for Transport (from a ‘Restoring your Railway’ fund) and Wiltshire Council  had pledged £25,000 towards the cost of the study. The study is due to be submitted by the end of September. He emphasised that at the present stage, no definite plans had been submitted and all options were on the table as far as layout, access road etc, was concerned.  The only thing fixed was the location of the station by the airfield opposite Lydeway as this was the nearest level straight section of track to Devizes. There would have to be access by sustainable means, so a cycle path between Devizes and the station would be essential. The route is currently undecided. 

He also stated categorically that the housing shown on the 2018 plans were not part of the project and there was no way that such housing would be considered in open countryside. Peter Lay is now only  involved peripherally. Danny Kruger has stressed that this project should be identified with community involvement and that was why DDP had wanted to meet with Stert PC. LB pointed out that the original plan, showing the housing development, were still shown on the website and suggested that this drawing should be removed so that it was quite clear that this was no longer being considered.

At this stage, it was thought that the project would cost around £15 million and that it could be built in five years.

Minutes of PC Meeting, 11th May 2020

MINUTES OF MEETING OF STERT PARISH COUNCIL 

held in Stert House on 11th May 2020

Present:

  • Clive Boyes (CB),   Chairman
  • Alick Edwards (AE),  Dty. Chairman
  • Lucy Barker (LB),  Councillor/Treasurer 
  • William Howkins (WH),  Councillor/Clerk

The meeting was held outdoors in the garden of Stert House with councillors observing social distancing.

  1. Apologies for absence  

Chris Lawrence and Ann Harris and Wiltshire Councillor Philip Whitehead (PW) sent their apologies.

  1. Declaration of Interest  

There were no declarations of interest.

  1. Minutes of previous meeting

The minutes of the previous meeting held on 24th February 2020 were approved (proposed by LB and seconded by AE) and signed by the Chairman.

  1. Treasurer’s Report

LB reported that since the last meeting in February there have been no payments and that the balance at the end of the 2019/20 financial year was £2041.97. This was confirmed by WH in the passbook. LB had since received email confirmation from Wiltshire Council that our account has been credited with £1800, being our precept for the current year. WH submitted an invoice for £36, the annual cost of the PC’s website. This was approved for payment.

4.1   LB presented a spreadsheet summarising the PC accounts. The total receipts for 2019/20 were £1747.70 and the total expenditure was £1573.44.

4,2   LB presented the Certificate of Exemption which exempts the PC from an external audit, the internal audit being carried out by Neville Burrell. Both our income and expenditure are well below the qualifying threshold of £25,000. This certificate was signed by CB and herby minuted.

4.3   The Governance Statement was read out and all the ‘yes’ boxes were ticked. It was signed by CB and WH and hereby minuted.

4.4   The parish asset register was the same as for last year and signed by CB.

4.5   Finally, the Accounting Statement, derived from the PC accounts (from 4.1 above) was signed by CB and hereby minuted.

  1. A342 Speed limit review

WH reported that CATG meeting which was scheduled to be held on 28th April had been cancelled due to the corona virus and no new date had been set for the next meeting. Until then, there was no action taken on the implementation of the speed limit.

  1. Closure of the Church

CB brought to the PC’s notice on the state of the church’s finances which had been severely affected by the lock down due to the corona virus. With the closure of the church, no collections at services have been received and its main fund raising event from the sale of cakes and plants in connection with the car boot sale had to be cancelled. The PC has a vested interest in the state of the church’s finances as it provides a social meeting place for the village quite apart from its spiritual importance. The details of the church’s finances have been posted on the notice board in the porch of the church. 

  1. Lockdown restrictions

The PC welcomed the community spirit exemplified by the Thursday evening clapping for the NHS. The PM’s roadmap to the easing of restrictions did not result in significant changes to the lockdown requirements for Stert residents. The annual Cancer Research Car Boot Sale and the Classic Car Event had to be cancelled and no new events have been planned for the village in the foreseeable future.

  1. AOB

8.1  WH had notified the PC of an application to WC by Nick Herrod Taylor of Crookwood Mill Farm to convert a tractor shed into an apartment dwelling. WH said he thought the plans looked sympathetically drawn up, in keeping with the original building and he could see no reason not to approve the application. The PC agreed with his assessment and asked him to notify WC accordingly.

8.2  WH had passed on to LB a proposal from an alternative insurer for the parish. Although marginally cheaper than our present insurer, LB recommended staying with Zurich in view of its wide experience with parish insurance nationwide.

  1. Next Meeting

The next PC meeting is scheduled to be held in Stert House on Monday 13th July 2020, at 6.30 pm.

 

Minutes of PC Meeting, 24th February 2020

MINUTES OF MEETING OF STERT PARISH COUNCIL 

held in Stert House on 24th February 2020

Present:

  • Clive Boyes (CB), Chairman
  • Alick Edwards (AE), Dty. Chairman
  • Chris Lawrence (CL), Councillor
  • Lucy Barker (LB),  Councillor/Treasurer 
  • Ann Harris (AH), Councillor 
  • William Howkins (WH), Councillor/Clerk
  1. Apologies for absence 

Wiltshire Councillor Philip Whitehead (PW) sent his apologies.

  1. Declaration of Interest  

There were no declarations of interest.

  1. Minutes of previous meeting

The minutes of the previous meeting held on 9th December 2019 were approved (proposed by CL and seconded by LB) and signed by the Chairman.

  1. Treasurer’s Report

LB reported that since the last meeting, there had been three items of expenditure; £45 to Neville Moody for repair of the broken glass in the phone box, £196.59 to Clive Boyes for the Christmas party and £500 to Wiltshire Council as a contribution to the A342 speed survey. The account was credited £1.49 in interest. The balance stood at £2041.97, verified by WH in the passbook.

LB advised that since this was the last PC meeting before the new financial year, the budget for 2020/21 needed to be finalised. At the last PC meeting, it was agreed to increase the precept from £1700 to £1800. The expenditure for the current year will come to £1623.44 compared with the budget of £1600. LB therefore proposed to increase the budget for 2020/21 to £1700 to allow for unforeseen costs that seem to arise every year. This was unanimously agreed.

  1. A342 Speed limit review

WH reported that he had received the notes of the recent CATG meeting held on 4th February in which it was noted that there were no members of Stert PC present. The meeting reiterated an indicative cost of £6000 for implementation of the limit. It noted that Stert was a very small parish with limited resources and should not be expected to be the sole contributor to this cost as the speed limit affected several parishes. As agreed at the last PC meeting, WH had written to WC to say the PC was prepared to contribute a further £500 towards the implementation costs (on top of the £500 already paid for the survey). CATG were seeking a contribution of 25% of the cost from the affected parishes and concluded that the other affected parishes should also be asked to contribute. The matter was shelved until the next meeting which is to take place on 28th April.

  1. Railway station at Lydeway 

CB reported on the recent DDP meeting chaired by Mr. Iain Wallis that he and WH had attended at which progress on the proposed new railway station at Lydeway was reported. Mr. Noel Woolrych reported that meetings had been held with GWR who showed interest in the scheme and Devizes MP, Mr. Danny Kruger who actively supported the proposal and would try to obtain funding to develop the scheme from the Government’s new £500 million fund to help towns to reopen railway lines and stations closed by Dr. Beeching. Mr. Peter Lay said the next step was to raise £125,000 for a study to establish the technical and financial feasibility of the project. Mr. Richard Gamble explained that the new hybrid trains running between Paddington and Great Bedwin might be extended to Westbury and could also stop at Lydeway, allowing the fast long distance service to Devon and Cornwall to bypass these stations. These technical aspects would need to be addressed in the study. Mr Lay was asked if the housing development behind Clock Inn Park was still part of the proposal. He replied that he had received such a negative reception to this proposal at the meeting in Stert two years ago that this was not presently part of the project.

  1. Tinkfield Recycling Centre

CB reported that he had recently spoken to Mr. Nigel Grist. He told CB that work on the bund had been halted by the recent heavy rains but it was planned to complete the earthworks this summer and complete tree planting in August/September. There would be no more building on the site but concreting of the internal roads would be completed. They were presently concreting the floor of the big storage building. A new concreted entrance to the site would be constructed in the summer.

  1. Classic car event

CB reported that Paula Winchcombe of Devizes Rotary Club had recently asked Frank Edwards if he would be willing to host a classic car show at Manor Farm in aid of Cancer Research UK. She proposed it should be held on the day after the Car Boot Sale to avoid unnecessary duplication of site works and facilities. Frank Edwards agreed. He, AE, LB and WH had had a meeting last week with Paula Winchcombe and Alan Truscott who informed that they expected 150 classic cars to attend, if the weather was dry. The cars would arrive at 10 am and leave at 2 pm. The Rotary Club would supply their own volunteers to marshal the event and would not need assistance from Stert residents. AE did not foresee any significant additional work for him and said he was happy to agree to host the rally. CL suggested that the PC should approach the Rotary Club for a donation to the church as a way of generating good will from the villagers for similar events in future years, as the event will cause some disruption to the village. This was unanimously agreed and CB volunteered to contact the Rotary Club.

  1. Replacement of water main on A342

AE reported that he had been notified that the work would be completed by 9th March. Wessex Water had reinstated the fields where they had worked, but AE said it would take a year for the ground to settle down.

  1. AOB

10.1  WH reported that he had received two application for tree work. Mrs. Susan Phelps had requested approval for the felling of  five small trees near the back of her garden where they were causing the boundary hedge to die. Only one tree is of any size, a whitebeam. She proposes to plant fruit trees as replacements, but this is not mentioned in her application. He proposed that the PC agree to this application subject to the new trees being planted. This was agreed.

The second application was from Mrs. Linda Ball in the Burrow to fell two conifers and prune an apple tree. One conifer is blocking the light into her front room and the other is dead. WH proposed that the PC also approve this application and this was agreed.

10.2  Brian Phelps had raised concern over the subsidence of the outer edge of the paved roadway just opposite of Manor Cottage. WH had also noticed this and said it should be reported to the Parish Steward and scheduled for repair. He promised to take action.

  1. Next Meeting

The next PC meeting is scheduled to be held in Stert House on Monday 4th May 2020, at 6.30 pm.

 

Minutes of PC Meeting, 9th December 2019

MINUTES OF MEETING OF STERT PARISH COUNCIL 

held in Stert House on 9th December 2019

Present:

  • Clive Boyes (CB), Chairman
  • Chris Lawrence (CL), Councillor
  • Lucy Barker (LB),  Councillor/Treasurer
  • Ann Harris (AH), Councillor
  • William Howkins (WH). Councillor/Clerk
  1. Apologies for absence  

Alick Edwards (AE) and Wiltshire Councillor Philip Whitehead (PW) sent their apologies.

  1. Declaration of Interest 

There were no declarations of interest.

  1. Minutes of previous meeting

The minutes of the previous meeting held on 30th September 2019 was approved (proposed by LB and seconded by AH) and signed by the Chairman.

  1. Treasurer’s Report

LB reported that since the last meeting, there had been one payment of £300 to Alick Edwards for village maintenance as previously agreed.  The bank balance now stands at £2,782.07, verified in the passbook by WH.

  1. Precept for 2020/21

LB presented a sheet showing the receipts and expenditures for the past two years and her proposed budget for FY2020/21. It was agreed to set aside £500 for the expected payment to Wiltshire Council for implementation of the A342 speed limit (see next item). This brought the budgeted expenditures to £1420. In setting the coming year’s precept, LB recommended a 5.9% increase over last year’s precept to cover inflation and unforeseen costs bringing the new precept to £1,800. This would amount to an increase of £1.71 for a Band D council tax payer in Stert. It was noted that for Band D properties, last year Stert residents only paid £18, compared with £45 for Etchilhampton and £92 for Urchfont. In view of the above, the PC unanimously agreed to raise the precept to £1,800 (proposed by CL and seconded by AH).

  1. Speed limit on A342

WH had circulated to the PC an extract of the notes from the Devizes CATG meeting held on 5th November. Here it was recorded that the consultants, WS Atkins, had recommended that the speed limit from the entrance to Stert village to the railway bridge by Clock Inn be lowered from 60 to 50 mph. It also recommended that the stretch of the road past the railway bridge to the existing 50 mph limit at Lydeway also be lowered to 50 mph. The indicative cost to implement these changes was estimated at £6,000 of which parish councils concerned would be expected to pay 25%, ie. £1,500.

Following an enquiry by WH to Mr. Andrew Jack, WC’s Devizes Community Engagement Manager, to confirm if Stert PC’s contribution was expected to pay for the whole stretch of road as far as Lydeway, he replied that neighbouring parishes (Urchfont and Etchilhampton) would be asked to contribute. It was strongly felt by the PC that the responsibility for the safety of road users along this national trunk road should be the responsibility of the County Council and not be devolved to the parishes through which the road happened to pass. In view of these considerations, WH proposed that, as only half the stretch was within the Stert Parish boundary, the PC should write a letter to WC explaining that in view of our modest precept we should offer a contribution to the implementation costs of £500. It was agreed that LB should help WH draft this letter for CB to send to WC.

  1. Overhanging growth along Stert Lane

Mrs. Phelps and Mrs Lane had complained to CB that trees and bushes overhanging the lower lane past Orchard Cottage were scratching passing vehicles. CB said that he would get someone to cut the branches back.

  1. Tinkfield Recycling Centre

It was noted that there had been some progress since the last meeting towards completing the bund. The planting of trees was planned but had not yet started due to the recent wet weather.

  1. Lydeway Station update

It had recently been reported in the local press that all the Devizes parliamentary candidates had expressed support for the new station, but that there had been no further definite progress reported.

  1. Replacement of water main on A342

The PC noted that there had been no lengthy traffic delays due to the single lane operation along the A342  in spite of the very narrow passing lane down towards Clock Inn. The work was reported to be on schedule for completion by February.

  1. Damage to telephone box

The recent breakage of a pane in the telephone box was a mystery: no one had reported what had happened to cause the breakage. LB advised that there was a £100 deductible on the insurance policy coverage, so we need not report the damage to the insurer. WH had spoken to Neville Moody who said he could easily make the repair. CL said he would ask him to carry out the work.

  1. PC Christmas Party

CB reported that he had already received a lot of replies from residents wishing to attend the party. He asked for assistance with canapés and for CL to attend his usual barman duties.

  1. AOB

13.1  The street lamp by the phone box was reported to be flickering. WH said he would contact our Parish Steward at WC to see to its repair.

13.2  WH had just circulated a planning application WC  from Helena Carney at Rose Cottage to approve an extension at the rear of her property. As this would affect the neighbouring attached cottage (The Lofts), belonging to the Baggarleys, it was agreed that the PC should discuss the plans with them.

  1. Next Meeting

The next PC meeting is scheduled to be held in Stert House on Monday 24th February 2020, at 6.30 pm.

Minutes of PC Meeting, 30th September 2019

MINUTES OF MEETING OF STERT PARISH COUNCIL 

held in Stert House on 30th September 2019

Present:

  • Clive Boyes (CB),  Chairman
  • Alick Edwards (AE),  Dty Chairman
  • Chris Lawrence (CL),  Councillor
  • Lucy Barker (LB),  Councillor/Treasurer 
  • Ann Harris (AH),  Councillor 
  • William Howkins (WH),  Councillor/Clerk
  1. Apologies for absence 

Wiltshire Councillor Philip Whitehead (PW) sent his apologies.

  1. Declaration of Interest

There were no declarations of interest.

  1. Minutes of previous meeting

The minutes of the Annual and Annual Parish meetings held on 15th July 2019 were approved (proposed by AH and seconded by LB) and signed by the Chairman.

  1. Treasurer’s Report

LB reported that since the last meeting, the following payments had been made: £129.95 in cash to CB as reimbursement for the purchase of 20 folding chairs from Ikea, as agreed at the last meeting, and £40.50 for 6 bottles of wine as a gift in lieu of fee to our internal auditor. She reported two receipts: £1.21 as interest on the account and a £45 donation for the use of the village marquee and chairs. The balance in the account stood at £3,082.07 (confirmed by WH in the pass book).

LB asked for authority to pay £300 to AE for village maintenance (mainly verge cutting) during the last year. This is the same amount he has been paid since 2011, and therefore she saw no need to obtain alternative quotes as the PC has always felt that AE gave good value for money. She also said that there were many advantages in having maintenance done by a person in the village who is able to respond very quickly if, for example, a tree comes down. AE having confirmed that he was happy with the amount, the PC agreed the payment unanimously.

Now, halfway through the financial year and most of the expenditure has either been made or agreed upon, LB thought it timely to report on the PC’s finances. The income comes to £1,745 and, assuming a budget of £200 for the Christmas party, our expenditure should come to approximately £1,081 (including a £50 reserve for the phone box). This figure does not include the possible £500 that may be payable for the A342 survey. If we have to pay this in the current financial year, our expenditure would come to £1,581 compared to our budget of £1,530.

At our next PC meeting, we will need to agree the precept for 2020/21 and so it would be helpful to have an idea of any further contributions Stert PC may be asked to make towards implementation the possible A342 speed limit.

  1. Neighbourhood Watch

WH said, apart from some warnings from Wiltshire Police of computer fraud which he had circulated to residents, there was nothing to report. 

  1. Speed limit on A342

WH had received an email from PW giving an update on the result of the speed survey. He reported that Atkins had finished their survey at the time of the last CATg meeting but the results had not been released and no recommendation had been submitted. The results and Atkins’ recommendations will be discussed at the next CATg when a decision will likely be made. It is understood that the recommendation will be to extend the 50mph restriction westwards to include the bends and junction with Stert.  However, this has not yet been decided but will be presented to the CATg for approval.

  1. Tinkfield Recycling Centre.

CB reported that earthworks on the bund had at last been completed and some tree planting had been done. It was agreed that CB should write to Nigel Grist expressing the PC’s appreciation that this work had been carried out and asking when the landscaping of the bund would be completed.

  1. Claironailes update

CL said that there had been no further complaints about the burning of building refuse on the site. He had no complaints about the building which had largely been built according to the plans approved by the PC.

  1. Replacement of water main on A342

The PC agreed that there had been no significant traffic delays due to the single lane operation along the A342 during the course of the works. AE reported that the contractor had benefitted from the dry weather and the work was ahead of schedule. He thought the contractor was doing a good job.

  1. AOB

10.1  Concerning the light shining across the valley,  LB said she had spoken to Mr Douse, the butcher at Market Lavington who owned the farm where the light was situated, and he agreed to try and adjust the lamp causing the complaint.

10.2  Footpath over the railway embankment: Network Rail had agreed to repair the rotten steps up the sides of the embankment.

10.3 Defibrillator. AH gave the PC an update on the defibrillator installed at Clock Inn. She said the unit had cost £750 with £130 for installation. Batteries and pads need to be replaced every 3 or 4 years and cost about £200. These prices are much lower than those from two years ago when last discussed by the PC. It was agreed that the acquisition of a defibrillator for Stert be discussed further at the next PC meeting.

  1. Next Meeting

The next PC meeting is scheduled to be held in Stert House on Monday 9th December 2019, at 6.30 pm.

Minutes of Annual Meeting of Stert PC,  15th July 2019  

MINUTES OF ANNUAL MEETING OF STERT PARISH COUNCIL  held in Stert House on 15th July 2019

Present:

  • Clive Boyes (CB), Chairman
  • Lucy Barker (LB)  Councillor/Treasurer
  •  Ann Harris (AH)Councillor
  •  William Howkins (WH)Councillor/Clerk
  1. Apologies for absence

Alick Edwards and Chris Lawrence sent their apologies.

  1. Declaration of Interest

There were no declarations of interest.

  1.  Election of Chairman and Vice Chairman

As both Clive Boyes (CB) and  Alick Edwards (AE) had agreed to stand again for election to the offices of Chairman and Vice Chairman, they were duly elected. CB’s nomination was proposed by LB and seconded by AH, AE’s nomination was proposed by WH and seconded by LB.

  1. Minutes of previous meeting

The minutes of the previous meeting held on 16th May 2019 were approved (proposed by LB and seconded by AH) and signed by the Chairman.

  1. Treasurer’s Report

LB reported that the  PC’s balance stands at £3206.31, and this was confirmed by WH in the pass book.

She had two expenses to report:  insurance renewal of £240.25, as agreed in item 4.5 at the last PC meeting (the budgeted figure for this was £260) and a cash payment to CB of £69.45 as reimbursement for purchase of 10 folding chairs for the village.  This item has not been budgeted for, but could be considered to be covered by the budget of £100 for miscellaneous.

She requested authority to buy the usual gift for our internal auditor and this was agreed by the PC. 

  1. Neighbourhood Watch

WH said there was nothing to report. CB raised the issue of alarms going off in properties whose owners were away from home. Residents are kindly reminded to make arrangements to leave a key with with a neighbour so that he can switch off a false alarm.

  1. Byde Farm planning application

Fiona Squire had submitted an application for change of use for one of the buildings at Byde Farm to convert it into an apartment. The PC had no objections to this application and WH had registered this with WC. 

  1. Speed limit on A342

WH had not received any news of the speed survey prior to the meeting. He subsequently learnt that at a CATG meeting on 25th June, it was reported that there had been a further delay by the consultants in completing the survey and results would now be given in the July CATG meeting. 

  1. Claironailes update.

There had recently been complaints from neighbours about the burning of building waste on the Claironailes site causing noxious fumes. CB had spoken to Mr. Lynch, the new owner, who assured him that he had been only burning wood offcuts and that he would be careful to watch the wind direction in future. Residents are reminded to show consideration to their neighbours when burning bonfires and only burn garden waste.

  1. Replacement of water main on A342

CB reported that he had been informed by David Tennant, Wessex Water, of their proposed schedule of works for the new water main along the A342 as follows: 

    • 22nd July for 7 weeks in the highway with two way traffic lights from near the Fox and Hounds Pub to Ridgecroft
    • 9th September for 6 weeks in the field north of the road from Ridgecroft to the Monument
    • 21st October for 3 weeks in the highway from the Monument to Monument cottages  
    • 11th November for 7 weeks in the field from Monument cottages to Stert village lane
    • 6th January 2020 for 7 weeks in the highway from Stert village lane to Clock Inn cottage

Letters to residents will be sent out around the end of June beginning of July.

  1. AOB

11.1  CB requested the PC ’s approval for buying a further 20 folding chairs to the 10 he had already bought last month from Ikea. He told the PC that the plastic backs on the existing chairs had become brittle and broken and were no longer fit for use. The PC agreed that although not budgeted, it could afford the outlay of approximately £140 for these chairs.

11.2  Sue Bromhead had asked the PC if it could do something about a bright light shining across the valley from a farm in Urchfont disturbing the evening landscape. LB said she had also noticed this light and confirmed that it did cause a nuisance. She suggested that she could talk to the farmer concerned to see if he couldn’t do something to turn it or shield it. This was agreed.

  1. Next Meeting

The next PC meeting is scheduled to be held in Stert House on Monday 30th September 2019, at 6.30 pm.

 

Minutes of Annual Parish Meeting of Stert PC, 15th July 2019

MINUTES OF ANNUAL PARISH MEETING OF STERT PARISH COUNCIL  held in Stert House on 15th July 2019

Present:

  • Clive Boyes (CB, Chairman
  • Lucy Barker (LB),  Councillor/Treasurer 
  • Ann Harris (AH), Councillor 
  • William Howkins (WH), Councillor/Clerk
  1. Apologies for absence

Chris Lawrence and Alick Edwards sent their apologies.

  1. Chairman’s Report

(A Government directive requires that the Parish Council Chairman presents a report on Council activities at the Annual Parish Meeting.)

The Parish Council was pleased to formally co-opt a new councillor, Ann Harris, whom the Clock Inn Park Residents Association unanimously agreed should be their representative on Stert Parish Council. 

There have been no  new  residents either leaving  or arriving during the past year although several houses are on the market.

The land opposite Fullaway Farm and purchased by Mr. Wynn-Williams at the end of 2017 is now being advertised for sale as the owner is moving to Yorkshire.

The Annual Christmas party at Stert House hosted by the PC was attended by approximately 60 residents.

Stert PCC has continued the  series of talks presented by local speakers which have been well received. In particular the talk given  by Mr. Quentin Goggs on Afghanistan has prompted a return engagement in 2020

Planning issues for the 2017/2018 year have continued to involve the Tinkfield Recycling Facility in which Stert PC is monitoring the work in progress compared to the approved plans. We have been advised by our District Councillor, Mr. Philip Whitehead, that Wiltshire Council is powerless to impose a  time limit on completion of works as there are no legal time constraints on ‘works in progress’.

The other planning issue has been the future of Claironailes. This property was purchased by Mr and Mrs Kevin Lynch. The existing property has been demolished and plans for  two storey house was approved by the PC and Wiltshire Council. It is hoped that construction will be completed by October 2019.

The Clock Inn Park Residents Association have requested the assistance of the PC to lobby for a reduction in the speed limit on the A342 between the entrance to Stert and the Clock Inn railway bridge. Wiltshire Council have advised that they will need to conduct a  survey costing £500 to justify this speed limit . Consultants for WC have been appointed and a report on their findings is due shortly.

Wessex water have advised they will be undertaking a major replacement programme of the mains water pipes along the A342 from near the Fox and Hounds to Clock Inn Cottage situated adjacent to the Lydeway railway bridge. The  work is scheduled to start 22 July 2019 and continue until end February 2020.

Finally, Stert’s major asset, the red telephone box, received its scheduled paint refurbishment – the last time was in 2010.

The Chairman would like to take this opportunity to thank all councillors for their support and hard work during the year.In particular the PC would like to thank Councillor Philip Whitehead, our Wiltshire Councillor  for his help and advice on matters pertaining to Stert.

  1. Financial Report

The opening balance of the PC’s account for the year was £2253.99 and the closing balance at 31/3/19 was £1867.71.  There had been one major expense during the year of £450 for the renovation of the telephone box. This needs to be done approx every 10 years and from now on £50 a year is being reserved for this to ensure there are sufficient funds for the next time.

The PC’s internal auditor has now approved the accounts, which are now available to the public on the parish website. The notice for the exercise of public rights of inspection of the accounts is also now on the website and on the village notice board. Both our income and expenditure are below £25,000, so the PC is no longer required to submit to an external auditor.

LB drew the PC’s attention to one figure on the parish asset register  that has changed since our last meeting. This concerns the telephone box, which until this year had been valued at £1, the acquisition cost. She suggested at the last PC meeting that it should perhaps be valued at £3,000, being the insured replacement value. It was agreed she should seek Neville Burrell’s advice and he said the correct valuation figure should be £451 (acquisition cost plus latest maintenance expense). It is quite standard for the stated asset value to be different to the insured value. So £451 is the figure that has been used.

  1. Questions from the Public

There were no questions from the public. 

Minutes of PC Meeting 16th May 2019

held in Stert House on 16th May 2019

Present:

  • Clive Boyes (CB),  Chairman
  • Alick Edwards (AE), Dty Chairman
  • Lucy Barker (LB),  Councillor/Treasurer 
  • Ann Harris (AH),  Councillor 
  • William Howkins (WH),  Councillor/Clerk
  1. Apologies for absence  

Chris Lawrence (CL) sent his apologies.

  1. Declaration of Interest  

There were no declarations of interest.

  1. Minutes of previous meeting

The minutes of the previous meeting held on 4th March 2019 were approved (proposed by LB and seconded by AE) and signed by the Chairman.

  1. Treasurer’s Report

LB reported that she had received the precept in the sum of £1700. There had been one payment to WH in the amount of £51.00 for the cost of the website. The balance now stood at £3516.71, and verified by WH in the passbook. 

4.1 The accounts for FY 2018/19 were now ready to be sent to our internal auditor, Mr. Neville Burrell. We were no longer required to send our accounts to an external auditor, but a certificate of exemption certifying that our annual income was less than £25,000 needed to be signed by CB. This he did.

4.2 LB tabled a governance statement which CB read out loud. Each paragraph was agreed and ticked off. This document was then signed by CB and WH.

4.3 LB tabled a statement of assets . The major item was the telephone box set at a value of  £3000, the sum for which it has been insured. The total value of assets stands at £5203.90. The statement was signed by CB and WH.

4,4 LB circulated a spreadsheet showing the accounts for the past year, and comparing these with the previous year. Comparing the two years, income was slightly down due to fewer donations for use of the marquee and expenditure was considerably up due to the one off payment for renovation of the telephone box. The balance at year’s end stood at £1867.71. The accounting statement was signed by CB.

4.5 LB reported that she had been quoted £240.25 by Community First to renew the PC’s insurance coverage. This was slightly up on £236.25 for last year. The new premium covers the salt spreader and £3000 for the phone box but excludes the marquees. All risks cover for the newer marquee at a value of £450 would amount to £15.74. It was agreed not to include this cover. LB was therefore instructed to renew the insurance in the sum of £240.25 (proposed by WH and seconded by AH).

  1. Neighbourhood Watch

WH said there was nothing to report.. 

  1. Claironailes: update

The PC noted that the doors and windows on the storage building had been changed from the layout shown on the plans. WH had called the planning officer at WC to ask whether new plans had been approved and was informed that this was not the case. He was informed that any objections from residents concerning the non-conformance should be directed to enforcement@wiltshire.gov.ik. However, the PC felt that as the building was built sympathetically to the surroundings, it would not take further action. 

  1. Speed limit on A342

WH informed the meeting that he had received a copy of the minutes of the recent CATG (Devizes Community Area Transport Group) meeting in which the speed limit survey on A342 between the entrance to Stert and Clock Inn had been shown as No. 2 on the list of surveys being implemented. The consultants, WS Atkins, had been engaged to carry out the assessment and were due to report their findings at the June CATG meeting.

  1. Tinkfield Recycling Centre.

There was no new news to report concerning the works at Tinkfield. Work on the bund had not progressed this year with the section next to the main road yet to reach full height. 

  1.   Railway Station at Lydeway

There was no further news to report concerning the proposed Lydeway Station. CL had agreed to attend a meeting of WC’s Spacial Planning Team on 4th June to be briefed on developments under WC’s Core Strategy and would raise the subject then.

  1. Replacement of water main on A342

AE had had a meeting with David Tennant of Wessex Water about its plans to replace the water main between the Fox and Hounds and the railway bridge by Clock Inn. Most of the new main would be laid in the fields north of the main road, but there were three sections where it would be laid in the roadway: from the Fox & Hounds to Tinkfield, from the Monument to just past the cottages, and from the village entrance to the railway bridge. The work will require in single lane traffic control in these sections for the duration of the work which is due to begin in July. CB said he will arrange a meeting with Mr. Tennant to be briefed on the work schedule.

  1. Village events for 2019

As previously noted Maggie Faultless has kindly agreed to return with her Music for Awhile ensemble to St James’s Church on 28th September. 

The date for the Christmas party was set on Friday 20th December.

  1. AOB

The PC wished to thank to the Edwardses for their hosting of this year’s car boot sale. The site was immaculate as always.

  1. Next Meeting

The next PC meeting and the Annual  Parish Meeting will be held in Stert House on Monday 15th July 2019, at 6.30 pm.

Minutes of PC meeting, 4th March 2019

MINUTES OF MEETING OF STERT PARISH COUNCIL 

held in Stert House on 4th March 2019

Present:

  • Clive Boyes (CB), Chairman
  • Alick Edwards (AE), Dty Chairman
  • Lucy Barker (LB),  Councillor/Treasurer 
  • Chris Lawrence (CL), Councillor
  •  William Howkins (WH), Councillor/Clerk

also present was Mr. Philip Whitehead (PW), Wiltshire Council’s councillor for Urchfont and the Cannings and 2 members of the public.

Prior to the meeting, PCSO Georgina Dodd, our local police community officer, introduced herself to the PC and outlined her role in liaising with local communities in the Pewsey Vale area. Her badge number was 8229 and she could be contacted by dialling 101. She would be assisted by her colleague Lucy after she returned from maternity leave in June. She said that the police made regular patrols around the area. She asked if we had seen any signs of hare coursing, typically using 4x4s with lurchers. When asked about travellers squatting on private property, she explained that was WC’s responsibility but that the police could be called in to assist with their removal. She was also asked about recent instances of off-road bikes speeding through the village. She said the police have their suspicions about who the culprit might be and would welcome any information that might help them apprehend him or her. She said next time it should be reported by calling 999, if possible giving the registration number of the bike. 

CB thanked PCSO Dodd for coming to the meeting and making her presentation. He then opened the PC meeting.

  1. Apologies for absence 

Ann Harris sent her apologies.

  1. Declaration of Interest

There were no declarations of interest.

  1. Minutes of previous meetings

The minutes of the previous meeting held on 10th December 2018 were approved (proposed by CL and seconded by LB) and signed by the Chairman.

  1. Treasurer’s Report

LB reported that since the last meeting we have received one item of income, £1.17, interest on the account, and one item of expenditure, £197.57, for the Stert residents’ Christmas party. Our balance stands at £1867.71 (confirmed by WH in the passbook). No further income or expenditure is expected for this financial year.

Since this is the last PC meeting before the end of the financial year, this year’s and next year’s budget should be reviewed. At the PC meeting on 1st May 2018, a budget for the year 2018/2019 of £1300 was agreed.  Actual expenditure amounted to £1333.76, ie. £33.76 over budget. Our expenditure exceeded income by £386.28, due to the cost of the phone box renovation, which happens about every 10 years and for which we make an annual reserve of £50.

At the PC meeting on 10th December 2018, it was agreed to offer WC a contribution of £500 towards a speed survey on the A342. This figure is now shown in the budget for 2019/20, which means our current budget for the coming year stands at £1530. WH proposed that the budget for the coming year be rounded off to £1600 and this was seconded by AE and agreed unanimously.

LB said she had submitted a request for a precept increase to £1700 for the coming year (up from £915), which means we should have a reasonable margin for any unexpected expenses.

It was agreed to buy 10 new folding chairs to replace those broken having become brittle. CB undertook to purchase these. 

  1. Neighbourhood Watch

Apart from a number of circulars from the police concerning cybercrime which WH had relayed to the village, he had nothing to report concerning our village.

  1. Claironailes: Work in Progress

LB and WH had visited the works in progress and noted that the placement and dimensions of the openings in the new shed were not as shown on the plans approved by WC. There were now two garage doors and two windows in the east facade and a new door opening in the north facade. They mentioned this to the owner’s son whom they met on site. While noting that the new shed was in keeping with the village landscape, the PC were concerned that the approved plans were not being followed. It was agreed that WH would contact WC to query whether it had approved these changes. 

  1. Speed limit on A342

WH confirmed that he had written to WC on 18th December explaining that in view of the constraints of Stert PC’s limited budget, it was prepared to pay £500 towards the cost of the survey. So far, he had received no reply from WC. 

PW informed that the request for a speed survey would be discussed at the next CATG meeting to be held on Wednesday 6th March. It was one of a number of schemes which would be considered and prioritised for implementation. He thought it would be realistic to expect it to take 6 – 8 months for the scheme to be given priority and another 6 – 8 months to be implemented.

  1. Tinkfield Recycling Centre.

CB reported that he had spoken to Jonathan Taylor about the continued mud on the main road. He had told CB that they expected the concreting of the internal roads to be completed this summer as well as work on the bund. 

Regarding the suggestion that the 40 mph speed limit be extended from the roundabout on A342 by the Coach and Horses Pub to the Lion Monument opposite Manor Farm, PW said that this might aggravate the danger of the mud on the road by encouraging overtaking from the top of the hill and risking a head-on collision. He said that Grist was doing everything it could to mitigate the mud on the road, and until the internal works were completed, WC could take no action against Grist.

  1.   Railway Station at Lydeway

PW informed the meeting that he had heard that Peter Lay of Devizes Development Partnership was still trying to promote the housing development at Lydeway in support of the proposed Devizes Parkway Railway Station scheme. He reiterated that he could see no justification for the housing to be set in open countryside when it could be located within the towns environs. He had been informed that the planning for the station was proceeding to GRIP2 or 3, but the studies would need to prove the station could lead to a significant increase in the town’s GDP.

   10.  Village events for 2019

The Cancer Research Car Boot Sale is set to take place on 11th May. Volunteers are needed for traffic management, so please contact CB.

Maggie Faultless has kindly agreed to return with her Music for Awhile ensemble to St James’s Church on 28th September.

  1. AOB

11.1  AE informed the PC that he had applied for an environmental grant which required the sowing of wild flowers along the margins of the field between the village and the main road. This would entail the removal of the saplings in the corner of the field by the entrance to the village. This initiative was welcomed by the PC.

11.2  Lewis Cowen had sent an email to CB and WH drawing attention to  a swastika painted on the old railway bridge which he found deeply offensive. AE and CL said the swastika had been there for at least 10 years, possibly even 40 years. The PC expressed its sincere regret for the offence caused to Lewis Cowen and Alex Cooper and welcomed their offer to remove it.

  1. Next Meeting

The next PC meeting will be held in Stert House on 20th May 2019, at 6.30 pm.