Category Archives: Parish Council

Minutes of Annual Parish Meeting of Stert PC, 23rd May 2022


held in St. James’ Church on 23rd May 2022  


Clive Boyes (CB) Chairman

Alick Edwards (AE) Vice Chairman

Chris Lawrence (CL) Councillor

Ann Harris (AH) Councillor

Lewis Cowen (LC) Councillor

Lucy Barker (LB)  Councillor/Treasurer 

William Howkins (WH) Councillor/Clerk

  1. Apologies for absence


  1. Chairman’s report

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


2021/2022 is a watershed year for Stert Parish Council as it marked a return to regular face to face meetings held in our Church for the first time since lockdown in March 2020.

As many other important changes have taken place, it seemed a fitting time now for your Chairman to step down which, although signalled to the Council in December 2019 had been postponed at the request of councillors.

Your present Chairman was appointed in 2006 and has therefore completed 16 years in this post. He feels honoured to have served  the Stert Community, supported at all times by a dedicated and talented team of Councillors. He leaves the Council confident that his successor will continue to ensure that Stert remains a quiet rural hamlet as set out in the Conservation Document agreed with the Authorities at the beginning of the present Chairman’s term in 2006.

Without going into detail, the Parish Council’s minutes during the Chairman’s term demonstrate the achievements by the Council in representing the resident’s wishes with various issues that otherwise could have  impacted adversely on their life in the village.

The Chairman thanks the present Council for all their help and hard work over the past year and wishes the incoming Chair every success for the future. Thanks also to our Wiltshire Councillor,Philip Whitehead, for his help and guidance.

2021/2022 Review

At our PC meeting in May 2021 following the local election, there being no other candidates putting their names forward, the present council members were duly elected.  Lewis Cowen was co-opted later in the year and his previous experience as a councillor  has already proved invaluable.

Our treasurer, Lucy Barker, has received compliments on her preparation  of the accounts by Neville Burrell, the PC auditor, who has approved PC accounts at no cost. We have duly thanked him and presented him an annual gift.

Throughout the year, Stert PC has been kept abreast of the possible development of Devizes Gateway Station which is planned to be developed in our parish near Lydeway. However at the time of writing, due to Covid, timing has slipped and no significant progress can be reported.

The Council successfully won a speed limit reduction for the residents of the Clock Inn for a section of the A342. This has now been followed by a restriction being planned for the roads in Stert Village with appropriate signage approved.

For all years starting in 2006, Stert House has been the venue at no cost for all PC meetings. However as Covid had meant that the Church had received a sharp drop in income it was decided to move PC meetings to the church accompanied by a donation for usage.

The annual Parish Christmas party, also held at Stert House for past 15 years was postponed due to Covid restrictions. This event will now be replaced by a village party on June 2 to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

After 16 years, this is my final Chairman’s report and again I thank all councillors past and present and wish Stert PC every success in the future.

  1. Financial Report

LB reported that the income received during FY 2021/22 was £1688.90 and the expenses incurred amounted to £776.35. The balance in the PC’s account on 31st March 2022 stood at £3964.35. Full details of the account have been posted on the PC’s website. This included the provision of £500 earmarked for the A342 speed limit implementation and £150 towards the cumulative reserve for the phone box renovation.

  1. Questions from the public

Miles Elderfield brought to the attention of the PC that he had been told by WC’s enforcement officer that a member of the PC had made a complaint to WC about matters relating to Saddleback Farm. He wished to raise his objection to this interference by the PC. WH denied that he had had any contact with WC about Saddlepack Farm and all the other PC members denied doing so as well. Mr. Elderfield would not say who the PC member was that had contacted WC or what was the complaint about. CL stated that the PC had kept strictly out of any matters of enforcement regarding Saddleback Farm.

There were no other matters raised by members of the public.

PC Meeting Agenda 23rd May 2022

Agenda for The Annual Meeting of Stert P.C to be held at Stert Church on Monday 23 May 2022

  1. Apologies
  2. Declarations of Interest
  3. Election of Chairman and Vice Chairman for 2022/2023
  4. Minutes of previous meeting
  5. Treasurer’s report
  6. Review of budget for Jubllee party
  7. PC audit for 2021/2022
  8. Agree certificate of exemption from external audit
  9. Agree governance statement
  10. Agree accounts
  11. Agree steps to change PC Bank account
  12. Speed limit within Stert village
  13. Parish steward update
  14. Platinum Jubilee celebration plans
  15. AOB
  16. Date of next meeting

Please would members of the public who wish to attend this meeting please
email the Chairman latest by 6.00pm Friday 20th May

Minutes of PC Meeting, 7th March 2022


held in St. James’ Church on 7th March 2022  


Clive Boyes (CB) Chairman

Alick Edwards (AE) Vice Chairman

Chris Lawrence (CL) Councillor

Ann Harris (AH) Councillor

Lewis Cowen (LC) Councillor

Lucy Barker (LB)  Councillor/Treasurer 

William Howkins (WH) Councillor/Clerk

  1. 1. Apologies for absence  

Wiltshire Cllr Philip Whitehead sent his apologies.

  1. 2. Declaration of Interest 

There were no declarations of interest.

  1. 3. Minutes of previous meeting

The Minutes of the PC meeting of 13th December 2021 were agreed (proposed by CL and seconded by LC), and signed by the Chairman.

  1. 4. Treasurer’s report

LB reported that there had been one item of expenditure since the last meeting, £40 paid to Stert PCC for use of the church for our last PC meeting. She requested authority to pay Stert PCC £20 per hour or part thereof for the present meeting. This was agreed. 

The account balance now stood at £4002.23. LB reminded the PC that this balance included £500 allocated to WC as Stert’s contribution to the cost of implementation of the A342 speed limit.

  1. 5. 5tatus of A342 speed limit

WH reported that he had received an email from WC advising that a notice of a public consultation for the proposed implementation of the speed limit on A342 would be gazetted on 17th March. The consultation period ends on 11th April. Comments on the proposal can be made to WC on

  1. 6. Repair of potholes on A342 near Grist Recycling Centre

CB reported that WC had carried out preliminary repairs of the potholed section of the road by Grist’s Recycling Centre. Further more permanent works are planned in the coming months.

  1. 7. Parish Steward

CB had met the Parish Steward when he made a routine visit to the village recently. They inspected the broken drain at the junction to Fullaway Lane and the PS agreed that WC would order the repair work. WH was asked to forward the schedule of visits of the Parish Steward to other PC members so that they could raise any issues with him when he came to Stert.

  1. 8. Future use of church facilities

CB opened a discussion on the proposal to rearrange the seating in the church to make it more suitable for use as a village hall as well as serving the religious needs of the parish by removing some of the pews and replacing them with chairs which could be rearranged to suit the different functions. He felt that the village needed to be consulted either by a questionnaire or by holding an open meeting of residents. LC said that we would get more feedback from a questionnaire than from a meeting which might be attended by only the regular churchgoers and therefore resulting in a biased opinion being given. CL said that  the PC should not get involved in discussions of what should be done to the church seating as it was up to the PCC to come up with definite proposals. The PC would then be able to offer its support to the church as decided at the previous PC meeting.

  1. 9. Devizes Gateway Station

WH reported that he had spoken to Catherine Symington who informed him that she expected to hear the DfT’s comments on the Strategic Business Case report prepared by WS Atkins at a meeting to be held on 14th March. She would then report these back to stakeholders including Stert PC.

  1. 10. Platinum Jubilee Celebrations

CB reported that he had received an email from Mervyn Woods, Etchilhampton PC, relaying notes from their meeting about their planning for the Platinum Jubilee celebrations on 2nd June and asking if Stert would build a beacon. They also asked whether Stert would be interested in joining their village party. AE said he would be happy to build the beacon to which Etchilhampton residents would have course be welcome. This offer was much appreciated by the PC. However, it was also agreed that Stert should hold its own village party rather than join in Etchilhampton’s celebration as we had not held a village party during the past year due to covid. WH would pass this decision on to Mervyn. 

CB asked LC if he would take on responsibility for planning the Stert celebrations to which he agreed.

  1. 11. Purchase of folding chairs for village events

CB asked for the PC’s approval to purchase some folding chairs for village events’ use to replace those that had been broken. It was agreed that LB be authorised to purchase 15 white wooden chairs from Ikea at a cost of £15 each. She said £200 had been allocated for such expenses in the budget for 2021.

Charges for the hire of the village’s marquees were also discussed as the present charges had not been raised for a number of years. To avoid the damage caused by hiring them to people outside the village, it was agreed to limit their hire to village residents. It was also agreed to raise the hire rates to £40 for a marquee and £20 for the tables and chairs.

  1. 12. Village stream

A village resident had recently reported the discolouration of the village stream to the Environmental Agency. CB had informed village residents of this occurrence, advising them to keep an eye on the condition of the water.

  1. 13. AOB

13.1 AH reported that she had been in touch with WC to complain about the state of the footpath between Clock Inn Park and Stert village entrance as well as the blocked culvert pipe draining the main road in the dip near the entrance to the Park that had recently caused flooding of the road.  She was advised to contact Richard Dobson, Highway Engineer, in charge of the Parish Steward.

13.2 Steve Lanson-Dale, who lives in the Old SchoolHouse, has been trying to prevent his sheep from escaping from his field in front of his house. He should be contacted if they escape in future.

  1. 14. Date of next meeting

The next meeting was scheduled for Monday 23rd May 2022.

Agenda for PC Meeting 7/3/2022

Agenda for Meeting of Stert P.C. To be held at Stert Church on Monday 7 MARCH 2022 at 6.30pm

  1. Apologies
  2. Declarations of interest
  3. Minutes of previous meeting 
  4. Treasurers report
  5. Status of A342 speed limit near Clock Inn
  6. Update on repair of bad potholes outside Grist recycling centre.
  7. Parish Steward
  8. Future open meeting with residents to discuss future use of Church facilities
  9. Devizes Gateway railway station progress
  10. Suggested combined Platinum Jubilee celebration with Etchilhampton.
  11. Purchase of replacement folding chairs for village events
  12. Village stream
  13. AOB.
  14. Date of next meeting

Please would members of the public who wish to attend this meeting please

Email the Chairman latest by 6.00pm Friday 4 March.

Budget 2022/23

Minutes of PC meeting, 13th December 2021


Held at St James Church on 13th December 2021


Clive Boyes (CB) Chairman

Alick Edwards (AE) Vice Chairman

Chris Lawrence (CL) Councillor

Lucy Barker (LB) Councillor/treasurer

Lewis Cowen (LC) Councillor

Ann Harris (AH) councillor

William Howkins (WH), Councillor/Clerk

Two members of the public were also present.

1. Apologies for absence

Wiltshire councillor Philip Whitehead (PW) sent his apologies.

2. Declaration of interests

There were no declarations of interest.

3. Minutes of previous meeting

The minutes of the PC meeting of 11th October 2021 were agreed, proposed by WH and seconded by AE.

4. Treasurer’s report

LB reported that our balance stands at £4,042.23, verified by WH from the passbook. Since the last meeting there had been one payment of £400 to Alick Edwards for village maintenance. This had been authorised at the previous PC meeting. Also, as agreed at that meeting, LB will be making a payment of £20 per hour (or part thereof) to the PCC for use of the church for this meeting.

5. Agreement of precept 2022/23

LB distributed copies of a spreadsheet showing an update on the PC’s income and expenditure for the current year 2021/2 and showing projected expenditure for the coming year 2022/23. As agreed at the previous meeting, a figure of £200 is budgeted for the purchase of replacement chairs for the marquee.

It was also agreed to reserve £500 towards a possible future contribution to the cost of remodelling the church (see item 9 below).

The total budget for 2022/23 amounts to £2,050. However it was agreed to limit the increase in the precept from £1,500 to £1,800 (back to the same precept figure for 2020/21) as there will be a surplus on the current year’s accounts: the PC’s income has exceeded expectations and we will have spent less than budgeted. LB pointed out that Stert’s precept will still be one of the smallest in the county. For the current year (2021/2) Stert’s precept cost for a Band D property is £16.53. compared to Etchilhampton at £37.99 and Urchfont at £94.31.

The increase in the precept was agreed by the PC (proposed by CL and seconded by AH).

6. Status of A342 speed limit near Clock Inn

WH reported that he had spoken to Gareth Rogers at Wiltshire Council. He confirmed that implementation of the speed limit between Stert village entrance and Lydeway had been approved some time ago and had been scheduled under the current works program. He expected work to start on it within the next 3 months.

7. Update on A342 road repairs by Grist’s Recycling Site entrance.

WH had also spoken to Gareth Rogers about the dangerous condition of the main road outside Grist’s site entrance. He told him that the road surface was presently being surveyed to identify what temporary repairs were necessary. A permanent reconstruction work would be scheduled for later in the spring.  AE said that a number of vehicles had suffered from burst tyres or punctures from hitting the potholes including his own car. CL said the PC should make a formal complaint to WC about the state of the road but CB said he would contact PW to ask for his assistance in getting the work started. LC said he would contact the Wiltshire Herald to ask them to write a report about it in the local newspaper.

8. Schedule works for Parish Steward

WH reported he had spoken to Richard Dobson, WC’s officer in charge of the Parish Steward team, to report the deteriorated roadway surface by Bitham/Orchard Cottage. He promised to look at it on his next visit to the area and add the work to his schedule. LB asked WH to inform the PC when the Parish Steward was scheduled to visit Stert so they could get him to include other works such as repairs to the village footpaths. AH asked that the work should include clearance of the footpath between Stert and the Clock Inn and cleaning the drain in the dip in the main road which had recently been flooded.

9. Update on plan to make space for village events in the church

CB briefed the PC on discussions held by the PCC to make alterations to the church seating to make it suitable for holding social events and for PC meetings. He said that several years ago the Bishop of Salisbury had visited the church and recommended removing the pews and replacing them with chairs which would facilitate changing the seating layout to suit the various events as had been done in many of the village churches. This would entail getting approval from the diocese and involve laying a new floor beneath the pews. Neville Moody had thought the cost of doing this would be at least £8,000. CB said that the church architect would need to be consulted to make a cost estimate. LB reported she had spoken to the Hopton reclamation yard who had indicated we could expect to receive a figure of about £100 for each pew sold. This would help to pay for the floor reconstruction.

CB said he was not sure whether there was a need to spend this kind of money in view of the small demand for having a village hall as most of the village activities took place informally in resident’s homes. LC strongly advised on looking at the project as a long term investment in the future. He offered to contact village residents to find out whether they would be willing to support the scheme. The question of whether the PC could support the scheme was also discussed. It was agreed that if there was a need for a place to hold village events, this could be considered as contributing to the wellbeing of the village and therefore could be supported by the PC. It was agreed that the PC set aside £500 per annum as its contribution to the church remodelling fund (see para 5 above).

10. Update on Devizes Parkway Station

WH reported that he had spoken to Catharine Symington who said that the revised Strategic Outline Business Case had bee submitted to Department for Transport (DfT) in the first week of November. She expected that comments would be received back by the end of January. This would enable the go-ahead to be given for the next stage of the detailed planning. She informed that she had attended regular monthly meetings to discuss issues arising from the submission. She promised to report back to us after receipt of the comments from DfT in January.

11. Christmas events in Stert. 

CB reported that the Christmas party in the church had been postponed due to the rapid spread of the new Omicron Covid variant. It was now planned to hold the party in the coming summer as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. The Carol service would be held in the church on 22nd December at 6:00pm.

12. Any other business

AH reported on the glamping site at Sunnyside Farm, just east of the railway bridge on A342 recently advertised on Facebook. A number of tents had been set up in the field opposite the Clock Inn and left there for several weeks. This field was in Urchfont Parish, so AH had called the Urchfont Parish Clerk and Steven Jenkins, Planning Officer at WC.who confirmed that planning permission was needed for a glamping site to operate for more than 28 days per year. As this had not been sought, the tents had now been removed.

13. Date of next meeting

The next meeting was scheduled for Monday 7th March 2022.

Agenda for PC meeting 13th December 2021



Stert Parish Council invites Stert residents to register their interest in being considered for cooption as a Parish Councillor. Length of residence in the village and previous council experience will be considered in selection.

Candidates should contact me by email ( no later than Sunday 3rd October. 

W. Howkins,

Parish Clerk

Minutes of PC Meeting on 16th August 2021


held in Stert House on 16th August 2021  

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

  • 1. Apologies for absence  

Alick Edwards and Philip Whitehead sent their apologies.

2. Declaration of Interest 

There were no declarations of interest.

  1. 3. Minutes of previous meeting

The Minutes of the PC meeting of 17th May 2021 were agreed, proposed by LB and seconded by CL, and signed by the Chairman.

  1. 4. Treasurer’s report

LB reported that there were two items of expenditure to record since the last meeting.  Renewal of the Parish insurance at a cost of £236.41. This was approved at the previous PC meeting and is just over the budgeted figure of £230. The second item is the Auditor’s gift costing £59.94. This was also approved at the previous meeting and is in line with the budgeted figure of £60.

Our Nationwide account has been credited with £1,78 in interest and the balance now stands at £4257.23, confirmed by WH in the passbook.This balance includes £500 reserve carried over from last year being the PC’s contribution to implementation of the A42 speed limit and £150 earmarked for the next phone box renovation.

  1. 5, Approval of A342 speed limit

WH had received a copy of the notes from the CATG meeting held on 27th July as follows: 

WS Atkins have completed the Speed Limit assessment. It has concluded that a 50mph restriction can be considered. Indicative cost £6,000WH stated that the contribution which Stert PC agreed to make is £500 not £1,000 as listed within the budget. DM wanted to push through this project and was happy to accept this level of contribution from Stert PC. GR was happy to go ahead with this level.

Scheme has been added to 2021/22 Programme and will be developed.

It was agreed that the PC would only pay the agreed sum to WC on completion of the installation of the signage.

  1. 6. Clearance of footpath along A342

CB reported that he had received a complaint about brambles and hedge growth obstructing the footpath along  A342 between Clock Inn and the recycling centre. The footpath has become so overgrown that it is barely possible to walk along it without stepping into the roadway and hindering a Clock Inn resident from carrying out his routine litter picking. WH said that he would report this to WC’s parish steward scheme.

  1. 7. Dog fouling

The PC had received a complaint about dog fouling along the track to the north of the village along the route of the old railway line. Dog owners are urged always to carry a bag with them to pick up their dog’s mess. They are also reminded that this track is on Frank Edwards’s land and is not a public right of way. (Since the meeting, the owner has informed WH that he has no objection to villagers walking along this track.)

  1. 8. Reopening of the church

CB informed that the church had just had its first service after lockdown at which hymns had been sung. 

A discussion followed on whether the PC was able to support the church financially after a year during which it had been unable to generate any funds due to the Covid lockdown. CL said that PC funds could only be used to support secular activities such as social or cultural events held in the church and organised on behalf of all village residents.The replacement of  the church pews by chairs allowing them to be rearranged for concerts or events was discussed. This would make the church much more suited to uses other than just church services. The initiative for implementing such a scheme should come from the PCC and if so, the PC could consider contributing to it. CL said that if the PC wished to hold its meetings in the church, he would support paying the church to do so.

  1. 9. Local Covid review

CB reported that now government restrictions had been lifted, there was nothing to report..

  1. 10. Devizes Gateway Station

WH had spoken to Catharine Symington, consultant to Devizes Development Partnership, to get an update on progress with the station planning process.  She reported that the draft Strategic Outline Business Case document had been submitted to Department for Transport in May and comments on this have been received by WS Atkins, DDP/WC’s consultant, who are currently reviewing them.The revised submission date of the final document will be notified shortly. The final decision by DfT on whether to proceed with the project is expected within a month of resubmission. At this point, Catharine will arrange a meeting with Stert, Etchilhampton and Urchfont to present the findings.

  1. 11. Cancer Research Car Boot Sale

CB reported that the Car Boot sale will be held on Saturday 11th September. Village residents are encouraged to take a stall costing £25. LB said she would be taking a stall. CB will be grateful for volunteers to direct traffic and the PCC will be arranging its usual tea and cakes sale. 

  1. 12. Future Events

It was confirmed that the PC would hold its traditional Christmas party, the date and details to be arranged in due course.

  1. 13. AOB

13.1 HM’s Platinum Jubilee. WH had received notification from the Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire that the Queen’s platinum jubilee will be celebrated by lighting beacons on 22nd June 2022. Stert’s participation in this celebration will be discussed further at a future meeting.

13.2 It was decided to ask members of the public who wish to attend PC meetings to notify the Clerk of their intention to do so at least two days in advance.

13.3 LB asked for volunteers to help clear the footpath across the railway line to Urchfont which had become overgrown with brambles.

  1. 14.Date of next meeting

The next meeting was scheduled for Monday 11th October.

Agenda for PC Meeting on 16th August 2021

Agenda for Meeting of Stert P.C. To be held at Stert House on Monday 16 August 2021 at 6.30pm

  1. Apologies
  2. Declarations of interest
  3. Minutes of previous meeting 
  4. Treasurers report 
  5. Approval of A342 speed limit near Clock Inn
  6. Request to clear A342 footpath from Clock Inn to Recycling Centre 
  7. Complaint received re dog fouling 
  8. Reopening of church.
  9. Local Covid review
  10. 10.Devizes Gateway railway station progress
  11. 11.Cancer Research Car boot sale rescheduled to Saturday September 11
  12. 12.Future events
  13. 13.AOB
  14. 14.Date of next meeting

Any member of the public is welcome to attend