MINUTES OF ANNUAL PARISH MEETING OF STERT PARISH COUNCIL
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
- Apologies for absence
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.