MINUTES OF MEETING OF STERT PARISH COUNCIL
held in Stert House on 4th March 2019
- 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.
- Apologies for absence
Ann Harris sent her apologies.
- Declaration of Interest
There were no declarations of interest.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- Next Meeting
The next PC meeting will be held in Stert House on 20th May 2019, at 6.30 pm.