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Minutes of PC Meeting, 13th February 2023


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


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

Alick Edwards and Ann Harris sent their apologies.

  1. Declarations of interest

There were no declarations of interest.

  1. Minutes of previous meeting

The minutes of the previous meeting of the PC was agreed, proposed by LC and seconded by LB, and signed by the Chairman.

  1. Treasurer’s Report

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

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

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

  1. Previous chairman

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

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

  1. Coronation Party

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

  1. PC Emails

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

  1. Meeting protocol

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

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

  1. Devizes Gateway Station

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

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

  1. AOB

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

  1. Next meeting

The next meeting was scheduled for 22nd May.

PC Accounts 2021/22

Minutes of PC meeting, 11th October 2021



Held at St James Church on 11th October 2021

Present: Clive Boyes (CB) Chairman

Alick Edwards (AE) Vice Chairman

Chris Lawrence (CL) Councillor

Lucy Barker (LB) Councillor/treasurer

Lewis Cowen (LC) Councillor

Philip Whitehead (PW), Wiltshire councillor for Urchfont and the Cannings, was also present as were two members of the public.

1. Apologies for absence

William Howkins and Ann Harris sent their apologies.

2. Declaration of interests

There were no declarations of interest.

3. Minutes of previous meeting

The minutes of the meeting of 16th August 2021 were agreed, proposed by CL and seconded by LB.

4. Treasurer’s report

LB reported that our balance stands at £4,442.23, verified by LC from the passbook. Since the last meeting the council has received income to the total of £185 from various people for the use of the marquee, tables and chairs during the last few months.

There were no items of expenditure to report.

At this time of year we normally approve an amount to pay the Edwards family for the cutting and clearing of the village verges etc. We have budgeted a figure of £400. AE indicated this was acceptable. This sum was proposed by CL, seconded by LB and approved unanimously.

At the next PC meeting we need to fix the precept for the financial year 2022/23. LB said she would prepare a budget to enable members to agree a suitable amount. If any councillors are aware of any possible expenses due next year, they are asked to let LB know by December 1st.

5. Co-option of new councillor

Before being officially co-opted LC described his background as a newspaper reporter over 24 years and a member of Urchfont Parish Council between 2017 and 2021. He did not stand for re-election in Urchfont this year because he had moved to Stert three and a half years ago and didn’t feel it fair to represent a parish in which he no longer lived.

6. Status of A342 speed limit near Clock Inn

CB reported that he had tried to make contact with the department at Wiltshire Council on this matter and had been told that Gareth Rogers was the person to contact. PW reported that the Community Area Transport Group (CATG) has put it on their programme for 2021/22, but that announcements advertising the proposal had not yet been published. He did not expect there to be any objections to it, however. The 50mph speed limit should start just before the turning to Stert village and end beyond the Clock Inn.

7. Update on clearance of footpath on A342

It was reported that residents of the Clock Inn had complained that the footpath opposite the entrance towards the Stert junction was covered in brambles and very difficult to walk along. CB had spoken to the parish steward and been told that the tractor that normally cuts the undergrowth there was not available. PW said he would email Richard Dobson but that the parish steward was the correct person to speak to and that the PC should make a list for him of all the jobs that need doing.

He added that the road outside the recycling centre has been described as ‘atrocious’ and it is scheduled for repair in November.

8. Future of church as a parish asset

CL began the discussion by saying that the church has trouble raising money for its running costs and there was a risk that the diocese might consider declaring it redundant and selling it off. It is an important asset for the village and he has had a discussion with Neville Moody, the PCC’s treasurer, to consider ways forward. It has been suggested removing the pews and replacing them with chairs to make the church a more flexible space for events. CL said he would have another meeting with Mr Moody to get some facts and figures.

9. Devizes Gateway railway station progress

CB said that, according to press reports, the decision of whether to go forward with this has been pushed back six months but that it is under review by the Department of Transport. PW said it was good news that they were asking for more information as it meant they were looking for reasons to make it happen. He explained that the train operators were looking for ways to shorten the journey times on the service to Cornwall and extending the service between Great Bedwyn and Westbury to include a stop at Lydeway could speed up the mainline service.

10. Notice of discharge – PL/2021/08472 – Saddlepack Farm

Councillors noted this document. Any further enquiries regarding this application should be addressed directly to Wiltshire Council’s planning department. The applicants confirmed to the parish council that that they were working with Wiltshire Council to ensure that everything was in accordance with permissions gran

11. Stert Village Party. It was agreed that the party should take place in the church and the date chosen was Friday 17th December.

12. Any other business

A budget for buying new chairs for the marquee was discussed and LB agreed she would put a sum of £200 in the budget for this.

It is proposed that all future meetings of the parish council will be held in the church, and a fee of £20 per hour would be paid.

13. Date of next meeting

The next meeting was scheduled for Monday 13th December.

Signed………………………………. Dated……………………………….


Agenda for PC Meeting 1st March 2021

The meeting will commence with a presentation on the Devizes Gateway station project from Tamara Reay and Catharine Symington representing Devizes Development Partnership.

  1. Apologies
  2. Declarations of interest
  3. Formal complaint to Stert Parish Council
  4. Minutes of previous meeting
  5. Treasurers report 
  6. A342 speed limit progress
  7. Devizes local plan
  8. Works needed to repair bridge subsidence over stream
  9. A342 needs remedial works to potholes near recycling centre
  10. Reopening of church scheduled May 17.
  11. Local Covid review
  12. Census 2021
  13. Cancer Research Car boot sale rescheduled to Saturday September 11
  14. Future events
  15. AOB
  16. Date of next meeting

This meeting will be recorded