Events this autumn in St James’ Church

Saturday 14 October 6.00pm: Concert, Music for Awhile – “Bach & Sons”
Directed by Margaret Faultless – Violin
Tickets: £15 from Lucy Barker 01380 728459
All proceeds to benefit the church fabric fund

Friday 3 November 6.00pm: Stert Talk by William Howkins
“My world adventure as a civil engineer”
Admission free – refreshments – retiring collection for church funds

Sunday 12 November 10.45am: Remembrance Sunday Service

Sunday 19 November 3.30pm: Recital – 2 violins and organ
Daphne Moody, Moira Alabaster, Steve Hollis
Admission free – cup of tea – retiring collection for church funds

Sunday 3 December 6.00pm: Advent Evensong Service with Stertian Singers

Friday 8 December 6.00pm: Stert Talk by David Stephenson
“Hip replacement, technology in motion”
Admission free – refreshments – retiring collection for church funds

Monday 18 December from 6.00pm: Carol Singing at The Clock Inn Park and in the Village

Wednesday 20 December 7.00pm: Carol Service

Friday 22 December:  Village Christmas Party, Stert House





Notice of Conclusion of Audit 2017

To view the Notice of Conclusion of audit for year ending 31st March 2017, click pcaudit2017.

Minutes of Parish Council Meeting – 17th July 2017

held in Stert House on 17th July 2017

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

1  Apologies for absence
There were no apologies for absence.
2.  Declaration of Interest  
There were no declarations of interest.
3.  Election of Chairman and Deputy Chairman.
Having expressed their willingness to continue to serve, CB and AE were unanimously elected Chairman and Deputy Chairman respectively (both proposed by CL and seconded by SD).
4.  Minutes of previous meetings
The Minutes of the Annual PC meeting held on 22nd May were approved (proposed by CL and seconded by AE) and signed by CB. The minutes of the Special PC meeting held on 7th June were approved (proposed by LB and seconded by CL) and signed by CB.
5.  Treasurer’s Report
LB reported that since the Annual Meeting on 22nd May, a single payment of £212.25 had been made for the parish insurance, as approved at that meeting. £90 had been received from the Scotts and Herrod-Taylors as donations for the use of the PC’s marquees and £1.16 was received as interest of the parish account. The balance now stands at £2814.53, as confirmed in the passbook by WH.

LB reported she had checked what benefits there were from the PC’s membership of the Wiltshire Association of Local Councils. She could see none and therefore proposed that our membership should not be renewed for 2017/18. This was agreed.
6.  Neighbourhood Watch
AE had no incidents to report and WH reported that, apart from some routine warnings from Wiltshire Police, which he had passed on to residents, there was nothing particular to report.
7.  Tinkfield Recycling Centre.
Planning application documents had been received from WC for the retroactive approval of the revised plans submitted by Grist Environmental for the lean-to extension of the new sorting shed, extension of the existing baler shed and the relocation of the eastern bund some 40 metres from its original position into the adjacent field. This relocation is to allow for a 20 m emergency/fire protection lane behind the extended sorting shed as stated in the Design and Access Statement. The PC had been shown these plans at the Special Meeting with Grist Environmental on 7th June, previously minuted.

Following further discussion of the new application, the PC had no objection to the extensions of sorting and baler sheds, but were concerned about the screening of the site when viewed from A342 near the Lion Monument. The plans do not show the extent to which the site would be hidden by the proposed bund and planting, as commented by Charles Routh of Somerset, Avon and Wiltshire Area Team, Natural England. However, the PC felt that provided the bund was constructed as shown on the drawings, the view of the site would be greatly improved compared with the present situation.

It was therefore agreed that the PC should support the application subject to the following conditions:

  • The bund to the east of the site should be constructed to the lines and levels shown on drawing GE/TINK/NBE/05 within 12 months of approval by WC of this application.
  • Planting of trees on the bund should be done within 6 months of completion of the bund earthworks.
  • The planting should be a mix of native deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs.
  • The 20 m gap between the bund and the new sorting shed should be kept clear as the intended emergency/fire protection lane and not used for recycling/waste operations as it is outside the permitted operational boundary.

WH was instructed to submit these comments to WC before the deadline on 27th July 2017.

8.  A342 verge maintenance
CB reported that in response to the PC’s service request under the Parish Steward scheme in February and repeated emails from Mr. John Ericson of Clock Inn Park to WC’s Highways department about the restricted access along the footpath between Clock Inn Park and the village, Highways Councillor Bridget Wayman, had ordered the hedge around the dangerous blind bend to be cut back to allow safe pedestrian access along the footpath. She has also requested cutting back the encroaching bank and resurfacing the path to be undertaken as part of WC’s major works contract to be carried out in the coming months. The hedge cutting has been carried out at the bend, but further cutting needs to be carried out along the remaining sections of the footpath. This will be monitored by Mr. John Ericson who will keep the PC informed.
9.  AOB.
9.1 Last month, while walking with her dog along the road towards Byde Farm, LB was badly bitten by the black Labrador belonging to Fiona Squire and had to go to hospital to have the wound treated.
She has not reported the incident to the police as Fiona Squire was understandably shocked and apologetic that her dog caused this injury and has assured LB her dog will not ever be allowed onto the footpath or road unless on a lead. The PC has since heard that other village residents have felt threatened by her dog and no longer dare to use the footpath near Byde farm. To prevent any future incident, Fiona Squire has now installed an electric gate and dog-proof fencing around her property.

The PC acknowledges its responsibility to ensure that our village footpaths may be safely enjoyed by the community but feels that now the measures that Fiona has taken to prevent any future incident are in place, no further action need be taken by the PC at this time. The PC has sent an email to residents advising that if any walker sees the dog outside on the loose, or is threatened in the future, they should report it to one of the council members.

9.2 CB reported that he had met the new owner of the land adjacent to Fullaway Farm, Mr. Clyde Wynn Williams. He told CB that he has purchased the land to make a nature reserve for his daughter.

9.3 LB advised the PC that the footpath from Crookwood Mill Farm to Bridge Farm has been cleared by the Urchfont volunteer rights of way team who have also installed 3 new stiles with materials supplied by WC.

9.4 LB passed on a copy of the New Verge Guide to AE setting out the times of the year for cutting verges and hedges.
10.  Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held on Monday 25th September at 7.30 pm in Stert House.



Signed    ………………. Dated  …………….

Minutes of Annual Parish Meeting – 17th July 2017

held at Stert House on 17th July 2017

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

1. Apologies for absence  
There were no apologies for absence.
2. Chairman’s report
CB read his Chairman’s report as follows:
Elections were held in May 2017 resulting in all existing Stert councillors being returned unopposed. This would imply that Stert residents have confidence in the present Council who will continue to carry out their wishes to the best of their ability.

Several changes have occurred during the past year. Walter Fairbank of the Willows and Julie Godfrey of Crookwood Mill sadly passed away. Peter and Helen Crook of Barn Cottage have moved to Urchfont. Both Peter and Helen provided enormous support for our village in recent years: Helen recently served as Treasurer of the PC and Peter as Treasurer of the PCC. Again Stert was extremely grateful for their fundraising efforts – they were active in promoting the Stert Produce Day at the Brittox in Devizes which helped considerably in raising funds for the Church.

The PC held a Summer party at Stert House in July 2016 utilising the PC’s marquee at which the Stertian Singers performed and refreshments provided.The Annual Christmas party, hosted by the PC, was attended by approximately 60 residents with entertainment again provided by the Stertian singers. Stert PCC has introduced an innovative series of talks given by residents which have been well received. In particular our Emmy award winning composer, David Mitcham, gave a talk on his very interesting career which was moved at the last minute to Stert House in February as the Church had to be closed for repairs over a 2 month period.

The main planning issue of the past year has involved the Tinkfield Recycling Facility in which Stert PC have been closely involved with both Grist Environmental and Wiltshire Council. Negotiations are still ongoing, as minuted in the previous meeting. The other has been the future of Claironailes – Stert PC and Wiltshire both objected to plans submitted that did not conform to WC’s core strategy 2015 – 2026 and policy HC25 , adopted by Kennet Council and incorporated into WC’s planning policy in 2004.

The residents of Clock Inn Park have had access to the Stert village lane severely curtailed by the poor maintenance of the verge and hedgerows on the A342. This came to a head when John Ericson, representing the Clock Inn Residents Association, had a letter published in the Gazette complaining that WC were not acting on their urgent request. Eventually Councillor Bridget Wayman, the newly appointed WC cabinet member responsible for Highways, intervened and the verges etc have been cleared. Councillor Wayman has also indicated that she intends to have the pathway between the Clock Inn and Stert upgraded within the next 3 months. This will be monitored by John Ericson and reported upon to the PC.

Although the footbridge near Byde Farm, used by many walkers, was repaired temporarily, it finally collapsed due to heavy winter rains and had to be closed to walkers . It was rebuilt satisfactorily in the Summer of 2016. Footpaths in the vicinity of Crookwood Mill Farm have also been surveyed and cleared.

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.
3.  Financial Report.
The PC accounts for the year ending 31st March 2017 have been audited and approved by the internal auditor, Mr. Neville Burrell. As reported at the Annual Meeting of the PC held on 22nd May, the annual income for the year was £1020.30 and the expenditure was £1073.42, giving a shortfall of £53.12. The balance in the account on 31st March 2017 stood at 2023.57.

Details of the income and expenditure are given in the minutes of the Annual Meeting and posted on the PC’s website,

4.  Questions from the Public.
There were no members of the public present at the meeting.


Minutes of Special PC Meeting, 7th June 2017

held in Grist Environmental’s offices, Nursteed Road, Devizes on 7th June 2017

Clive Boyes (CB), Chairman
Alick Edwards (AE), Dty Chairman
Chris Lawrence (CL), Councillor
Lucy Barker (LB)  Councillor/Treasurer
William Howkins (WH), Councillor/Clerk
Nigel Grist (NG),  Owner, Grist Environmental
Jonathan Taylor (JT),  Grist Environmental

1.   Apologies for absence  
Sam Deacon sent her apologies.
2.  Planning Application for new building  
CB had asked for the meeting with Grist Environmental so that the PC could be briefed on the revised plans for the new sorting shed and bund wall. The PC had raised their concerns to WC’s planning officer that the new sorting shed had been extended beyond the limits shown on the approved plans and the existing bund was being moved some 30 metres into the field to the east of the site. WC had instructed Grist Environmental to submit revised plans for the works to seek retroactive planning approval. The application would be handled by WC’s building planning department.
CB opened the meeting by thanking NG and JT for seeing the PC and stressed that the PC was there to seek clarification on the revised plans and assurance that they would meet the concerns about the visual and environmental impact of the new building and bund construction which had been raised in the previous planning application.
3.  Revised Drawings.
JT presented a new set of drawings which he said had been submitted 2 weeks ago electronically through the National Planning Portal. These would then be forwarded to WC and published in due course on its planning website. The new layout showed the lean-to extension of the new sorting shed which had already been constructed and the location of the new bund, with its crest centreline 40 m east of the back of the lean-to extension. This would allow a 20 m clear fire break behind the shed, a recommendation of best practice made by the Environmental Agency.

The new bund would extend the entire length of the eastern boundary of the site and extend around the southern boundary. The height of the bund is shown as 9.6 m high (the ridge height of the new shed being 11.5 m). The bund would be planted with woodland trees with shrub underplanting. NG confirmed that the new bund would be constructed this summer when weather conditions permitted. It would be done using their own equipment and personnel. The bund would be compacted in small lifts using inert material from the site.

JT explained that the lean-to shed extension would have a concrete floor and rear wall extending part way to the eve of the shed to retain the material being handled but allowing adequate ventilation within the shed.

The new plans also included an extension to the existing green baling shed to the west of the site adjacent to the present open waste mound so that they could increase the efficiency of their disposal of material being shipped to power stations and reduce the size of the mound. JT said there was no restriction on the permitted height of the mound.

NG stressed that the revised plans did not increase the operational area for which he had a licence since the original eastern bund had been within the operational area of the site and the 20 m fire break would be kept clear.

JT handed over a set of the revised drawings to the PC.
4.  Environmental considerations.
CB mentioned that he had received a number of complaints about the mud on the road. NG said they were doing their best to keep the road clean and still planned to concrete the internal access roads when the second weigh bridge was installed. He promised that this would be done sometime this year.

JT explained that Grist Environmental plan to recycle all the material handle through the site. They had a licence to handle 150,000 tons per year, but currently only handling 50,000 tons. He said that increasing the throughput would not necessarily increase the number of truck movements as by bailing the material the tongue per truck could be increased substantially.

JT confirmed that they had an Environmental Management System, an EA licence and an assigned EA officer but didn’t have his name to hand. He said that all surface water from open waste areas was collected and exported by tanker to a disposal facility.
5.  Conclusion.
CB thanked NG and JT on behalf of the PC for their time and said the PC would give careful consideration to their plans. He said we should maintain a direct dialogue on any future planning issues.


PC Accounts 2016/17

To view the PC accounts for 2016/17, click on:  PC accounts 2016:17

Minutes of Annual Meeting of Stert PC, 22nd May 2017

held in Stert House on 22nd May 2017

Clive Boyes (CB), Chairman
Chris Lawrence (CL), Councillor
Sam Deacon (SD), Councillor
Lucy Barker (LB),  Councillor/Treasurer
William Howkins (WH), Councillor/Clerk

1.  Apologies for absence 
Alick Edwards sent his apologies.
2.  Declaration of Interest  
There were no declarations of interest.
3.  Election of Councillors.
The six members pf the outgoing Parish Council, having been nominated to serve for the coming 4 year term and being unopposed, took up office on 8th May 2017.
4.  Minutes of previous meeting
The Minutes of the previous PC meeting held on 26th April were approved (proposed by SD and seconded by LB) and signed by CB.
5.  Treasurer’s Report
5.1 Annual Governance Statement. LB tabled the Annual Governance Statement. Section 1, the Annual Return. This was unanimously approved and signed by CB and WH.

5.2 Section 2 of the Statement, the Annual Accounts. LB reported that the annual expenditure for 2016/17 was £1073 compared to an income of £1020, the overspend being due to the cost of holding two village parties during the year. The reserve stood at £2023.57. The accounts which have been submitted to our internal auditor, Neville Burrell, were approved and signed by CB.

LB submitted the Notice of Date of Commencement of Period for the Exercise of Public Rights to examine the 2016/17 accounts and the Declaration of Status of Published Accounts to be posted on the Parish Notice Boards.

5.3 Current year. Since the last meeting, the annual precept of £915.05 had been paid in to our account and the balance of the account on 22/5/17 stood at £2938.62 (confirmed in the pass book by WH).

The PC approved payment of £215.25 for renewal of the parish insurance. LB pointed out that of the items listed on the parish asset register only the salt spreader is insured for ‘all risks’. It was agreed that the other items listed are of relatively low value and therefore not worth insuring.

It was agreed that, in the interests of economy, to discontinue our membership of the mapping service, Parish Online, and the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, CPRE. LB would also check whether we needed to continue membership of the Wiltshire Association of Local Councils, WALC. She requested approval to spend £50 on a gift to our internal auditor in lieu of his fee. This was agreed.
6.  Neighbourhood Watch
WH reported that, apart from some routine warnings from Wiltshire Police, which he had passed on to residents, there was nothing particular to report.
7.  Tinkfield Recycling Centre.
CB and LB reported that they had noticed that considerable earthmoving activities had recently taken place at the Tinkfield site where a new bund had been built in the neighbouring field about 30 metres east of the new sorting shed, outside the boundary of the site. As this work and the eastward lean-to extension of the new sorting shed were outside the limits of the plans for which planning approval had been granted by WC on 4th July 2014, Mr. Dean Thomas, WC’s responsible planning officer, had requested Mr. Nigel Grist to submit a revised planning application for retroactive approval of the works not covered by the original application. So far, the PC has not received any notification that this has been done.

The PC is concerned that the development of the Tinkfield site is being extended towards the village into agricultural land without due planning consent. It was therefore decided that, the PC would seek a meeting with Mr. Grist to review the scope of the intended extension of the site, what measures he intends to take to reduce the mud on the main road and the status of the revised planning application.
8.  A342 verge maintenance
CB tabled a letter he had received on 11th May from Mr. John Ericson, Chairman of the Clock Inn Residents Association, complaining about the state of the footpath along A342 between the railway bridge and the entrance to the village. Mr. Ericson complained that the hedge and bank encroached into the footpath making it dangerous for pedestrians. Although WH had notified WC’s roads maintenance department on the My Wiltshire website, no action had been taken by WC to improve the footpath. CB said he would forward Mr. Ericson’s letter to Cllr. Whitehead to ask his help in getting the work scheduled.
9.  AOB.
9.1 Potholes in Stert Lane. WH noted ravelling of the macadam surface in the lane down to Barn Cottage and said he would request repairs to be carried out under the Parish Steward scheme.

9.2 Footpaths. LB reported she had contacted Linda Jennings from Urchfont about the overgrown footpath between Crookwood Mill Farm and Bridge Farm. She was informed that WC had said it would install stiles and clear the footpath this summer with the help of the Urchfont ROW group.
10.  Next Meeting
The next meeting will be the Annual General Meeting of Stert PC, and held on Monday 17th July at 7.30 pm in Stert House.