MINUTES OF MEETING OF STERT PARISH COUNCIL
held in Stert House on 10th December 2018
- Clive Boyes (CB), Chairman
- Lucy Barker (LB) , Councillor/Treasurer
- William Howkins (WH), Councillor/Clerk
also present were Mrs. Ann Harris (AH) of the Clock Inn Residents Association and Mr. Philip Whitehead (PW), Wiltshire Council’s councillor for Urchfont and the Cannings and 3 members of the public.
- Apologies for absence
Alick Edwards and Chris Lawrence sent their apologies.
- Co-opting Ann Harris
WH had been notified by WC that as it had not received a request for an election by 10 electors, the vacancy on the Parish Council could be filled by co-option. Ann Harris had been nominated by the Clock Inn Park Residents Association to represent them and was invited by CB to join the PC. Having signed the Declaration of Acceptance of Office, she was duly co-opted as Councillor.
- Declaration of Interest
There were no declarations of interest.
- Minutes of previous meetings
The Minutes of the previous meeting held on 24th September 2018 were approved (proposed by LB and seconded by AH) and signed by the Chairman.
- Treasurer’s Report
LB reported that there had been one receipt, a donation of £30 from the Moody family for the use of the marquee, tables and chairs. There had also been one payment of £300 to Alick Edwards for village maintenance. The balance of the account stood at £2064.11 (confirmed by WH in the passbook).
- 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 Planning Application
As of 3rd December, WC had approved the planning application submitted by Mr. and Mrs. Lynch for a replacement building, carport and a storage building, subject to certain conditions. These concerned approval of the materials to be used, the provision of hard surfacing of the west entrance to the site and the submission of a planting and landscaping plan.
CB asked Mr. John Clements to give the meeting a summary of the history of this planning application. It was noted that the approval made no specific mention of the preservation of the hedge and that the hard surfacing of the entrance was not required until the building works were completed, rather than prior to the works starting. It was agreed that WH should write to WC expressing these concerns.
- Speed limit on A342
In response to a letter requesting WC to set a speed limit of 40 mph on A342 between the entrance to Stert and the railway bridge by Clock Inn, we were informed that a speed survey first needed to be carried out. Such a survey would cost £2500 and WC required Stert Parish Council to contribute 25% of the cost, ie. £625. Stert PC has made strenuous representations about the burden such a figure places on the PC’s limited financial resources, but to no avail.
WH had received from Mr. John Ericson results of a speed survey carried out at a point by Clock Inn on behalf of WC in March 2018. He had written to WC to ask if this survey was not adequate for justifying the speed limit but was informed that it didn’t meet the requirements. When asked to comment on this, PW explained that a single measurement at one point was not sufficient to judge the necessary extent of the proposed speed limit and measurement at several points would be required. PW noted that the 85 percentile speed was measured at 53.2 mph, thereby indicating a 50 mph speed limit would likely be the most appropriate. He said that WC’s highway engineers would set the limit based on the measured data and not on the limit requested. AH said that while most of the Clock Inn residents would prefer a 40 mph limit, she thought they would be satisfied with a 50 mph limit if that was the conclusion of the survey.
It was unanimously decided that WH should write to WC 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.
- Stert PC’s Christmas Party
The Christmas party will be held at 6:30 pm on Friday 21st December at Stert House, kindly hosted by Clive and Georgie Boyes. All Stert residents are invited and CB asked AH to pass on the invitation to all Clock Inn residents and hoped many of them would attend.
- Tinkfield Recycling Centre.
CB reported that he had visited the Tinkfield site and had met Adam Grist. He informed CB that the earthworks for the berm were now completed, almost hiding the new sorting shed. However, the surface of the bund was too wet for equipment to access it for planting. This would have to wait until next year. There were now two weigh bridges installed and the entrance had been concreted. There was still a lot of mud on the site, but this would improve as more of the internal roads were concreted.
- Railway Station at Lydeway
WH reported that he had called Simon Fisher for an update on progress with planning the proposed station at Lydeway. He said that he had not been present at the latest meeting of the working group, but had been told that they were looking at an alternative access road from A342 nearer Lydeway, and had been in touch with some landowners between Lydeway and the rail line. These enquiries were part of the first phase of the Network Rail planning process.
PW repeated what he had previously told the PC: ie. that GWR wanted to reduce stops at local stations so as to reduce the time from Devon and Cornwall to London. Getting them to stop at Lydeway would require a solid business case to be established showing how the new station would promote business development in Devizes and generate passenger traffic for the railway. Before this business case is established, he said it was premature to start talking to landowners. He reiterated that housing development in connection with the proposed station made no sense in open countryside: new housing development was better placed close to the town and to amenities.
12. Precept 2019/20
LB presented a spreadsheet comparing the receipts and expenditures for the past two years and the budget for the coming year. This year’s budget exceeds last year’s receipts by some £80, without allocating money to pay WC for the speed survey, as approved above. Stert’s precept is based on £9,90 for a Band D household, compared with £41.45 for Etchilhampton and £89.75 for Urchfont. To pay for the speed survey, it was therefore agreed to raise next year’s precept request from £915.05 to £1700.
The PC recognises that this is a significant increase but there has been no increase in the Stert precept for nearly 10 years and, as noted above, the precept will still be well below that paid by neighbouring villages.
13.1 Lewis Cowen had written to ask the PC whether it would object to their installing solar panels on their roof at the Willows. This would be visible only from their driveway entrance as the house was hidden from the lane by a tall hedge. WC’s planning regulations allow solar panels to be installed on roofs without special permission being required. Alex Cooper, Mr. Cowen’s partner, said that the panels would have black anodised frames, thus blending in with the tiled roof. This assurance was welcomed by the PC and it was agreed that there was no objection to their going ahead.
13.2 AH informed that the Clock Inn’s defibrillator had been ordered and would be installed in the New Year. The cost of the unit was £1580, and over half of this money had been raised already. It would be mounted on the wall of Unit No. 15 where it would be plugged into an external power socket. A demonstration class would be given by South West Ambulance on 19th December at the Nursteed Centre.
- Next Meeting
The next PC meeting will be held in Stert House on 4th March 2019, at 6.30 pm.