Annual Governance Statement 2017/18

To see the Annual Governance Statement 2017/18, click Governance Statement 2017:18

PC Accounts 2017/18

For details of the PC accounts for FY 2017/18. click 2017 to 2018 pc acs. 

Minutes of Parish Council Meeting, 1st May 2018

held in Stert House on 1st May 2018


  • Clive Boyes (CB), Chairman
  • Lucy Barker (LB),  Councillor/Treasurer
  • William Howkins (WH), Councillor/Clerk
  1. Apologies for absence 

Councillors Alick Edwards and Chris Lawrence sent their apologies.  Since the last meeting, Sam Deacon had resigned from the Council due to work commitments. The PC expressed their thanks to Sam for her work on the Council over the past 11 years, especially for her expertise in environmental matters, and hoped to be able to call on her professional advice in the future.

  1. Declaration of Interest


  1. Minutes of previous meetings

The Minutes of the PC meeting held on 22nd February 2018 were approved (proposed by LB and seconded by WH) and signed by the Chairman.

  1. Treasurer’s Report

4.1  FY2017/18

LB submitted a spreadsheet summarising the income and expenditure from account for the past year compared with the previous year. This will be posted on the PC’s website. She reported there had been one payment since the last meeting of £40 for use of the church on 19/2/18, and the balance on 31st March was £2253.99 (confirmed in the passbook by WH). 

Excluding the Christmas party, the budget for expenses had been set at £700 and the actual amount spent was £609,25. Including the Christmas party, the total spent during the year was £807.12.

4.2  FY 2018/19

We have received the precept for the current year of £915.05 and the balance now stands at £3169.04 (confirmed by WH in the passbook).

It was agreed to set the budget for the coming year at £1300 as follows:

  • £650  for normal recurring expenses, 
  • £200  for the Christmas party,
  • £450  for phone box renovation.

It was agreed from FY2019/20 to earmark annually a reserve of £50 for phone box renovation, needed about every 10 years, and note the accumulated amount each year. The PC confirmed it could not see any other cases where similar reserves need to be established.             

It was a agreed to accept the quotation of £450 from Mr. Neville Moody for repainting the telephone box as this was in line with the previous bill for £403 in 2009.

4.3 Parish Audit 2017/18

4.3.1 The PC agreed to adopt the set of financial regulations previously circulated by LB. (Proposed by CB and seconded by WH.) These are to be posted on the PC’s website.

4.3.2 The certificate of exemption from external audit was agreed and signed by CB and LB.

4.3.3 It was agreed to reappoint Mr Neville Burrell as our Internal Auditor (proposed by WH and seconded by LB).

4.3.4 The Governance Statement, including a risk assessment of Parish assets, was discussed and approved by the PC and the statement signed by CB and WH as chairman and clerk respectively. 

4.3.5 The Parish account statement for FY2017/18 was approved and signed by CB and LB.

  1. Neighbourhood Watch

It was noted that following notice by Wiltshire Council, the caravan beside the road above the Lion Monument had been removed.

WH had nothing special to report apart from a few general theft/scam warnings from the police passed onto residents by email. He reported that, in compliance with Government data protection regulations, he had sent a circular asking residents to confirm they were happy to be on the PC’s mailing list. He had received confirmation from most of Stert residents and CB said he would follow up on those who had not yet replied.

  1. Tinkfield Recycling Centre.

It was noted that there had been no progress with the bund earthworks during the past months due to the very wet conditions. CB agreed to visit the site to get an update on the work schedule for the coming summer and the autumn planting on the bund.

  1. Crookwood MotoX

Councillor Philip Whitehead briefed Stert residents in the church the previous evening on the issuing of an Article 4 directive by Wiltshire Council to remove permitted rights (14 days a year of non agricultural use of farmland) from Crookwood Farm, in order to prevent MotoX events being held at Crookwood Farm on the basis of inadequate safety and lack of proper access.

  1. AOB

8.1 LB wished to table a vote of thanks to the snow wardens (AE and WH) who had been out spreading salt  with the PC’s salt spreader during last month’s snow storm.

8.2 WH had received notice that WC’s Parish Steward will visit Stert on 26th June, 24th July and 18th September. He will request the deterioration of the tarmac by Barn Cottage to be made good.

  1. Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held in Stert House on 4th June 2018, at 7.30 pm.


Devizes Parkway: Meeting Notes 2, 8/3/18

DDP Meeting Notes 8-3-18

Devizes Parkway: DDP meeting 8/3/18


Peter Lay (PL),                    Chairman, Working Group
Simon Fisher (SF),             Devizes Town Council Acting Clerk
Richard Gamble (RG),       WC for The Lavingtons
Robert Gordon (RG)
Ceri Gosling (CG)
Simon Jacobs (SJ),              WC for Devizes
Paul Johnson (PJ),              TransWits
Tom Pagett (TP),                 Legal advisor from Awdry Bailey Douglas Chippenham office
Edward East (EE),              CPRE
Graham Day (GD),             Urchfont PC
Peter Hansen (PH),           Etchilhampton PC
William Howkins (WH),  Stert PC

The meeting opened at 10.30am.
PL opened by welcoming reps from Stert, Urchfont and Etchilhampton. He acknowledged that there was no pre-meeting agenda, and no agenda was tabled at the meeting, so matters proceeded at the Chair’s discretion

PL informed that Ceri had contacted 4 senior railway managers about the GRIP (Guide to Railway Investment Process). As a result, Peter L would seek the advice of consultants Ian Harmon, a private consultant with experience working with NetworkRail, on a goodwill basis. Simon Jacobs suggested the group should ask Catharine Symington, an independent consultant with special expertise in rail projects and familiar with the GRIP process and sources of finance. He stated that Peter Webb, a highways expert, had produced initial costings about the access road and junction with A342. He also mentioned improving access to Stert as part of the access road works. These costs were not presented to the meeting. PL then requested permission to start detailed consultant work on new road design.

PJ advised against a road study at this stage until alternative options were developed under subsequent phases of the GRIP process. First, the GWR/Network Rail process should be advanced to determine the viability of the new station before studying the access road. This required a demand analysis following the procedures set out by Network Rail. It has data, which need to be accessed to make this study.

PL has appointed Richard Hosta (or Hosker?) and PKA Architects to assist with the planning application with WC. They would advise on what type of housing should be built and the plans to extend Clock Inn Park. It was emphasised that WC would not approve the housing to go ahead without the station. SJ suggested that Catherine Symington could advise on sources of financing other than from a housing development.. So far £6,980 had been committed in fees out of the £9,000 available. SF queried whether these consultants were needed at this time. The need for the station should be the focus of attention at this stage.

Project development

PL said the aim was to complete the planning process and designs by 2022 in time for the new GWR rail franchise to be let in 2022/2024 so that the new station could be included in the new franchise. He said Network Rail supported privately funded schemes and housing development as part of station planning as this would support use of the station. RG said that the housing development not being in the WC Core Strategy was not a problem as the strategy was already out of date and an update would soon be needed. The station would not be built by GWR. PL said he wanted to proceed with the pre-planning application with WC in parallel with the GRIP process. The consensus was that this would be premature as the proposed plan had not yet been properly developed through the GRIP process. PL said the result of the GWR consultation was expected to be received by June.

PJ said the proposed timeframe for the planning process (ie. by 2022) was not realistic. Wilton Station had taken 5 – 6 years to plan and design. It had taken 2 years to promote the station with Network Rail. Construction of the station will take two years. The original scheme was quite different from that originally planned due to changes during the planning process. Network Rail can carry out the demand survey, but they are very expensive. We could appoint a Network Rail approved consultant (such as Atkins) who knows what procedures are to be followed and try to negotiate our own price to control costs. The new franchise needs to include the requirement that a satisfactory service will be provided to the new station. The new services would have to fit in with the regional timetable planning and strategic aspirations.

PJ emphasised that the GRIP planning process needed to be followed before going to WC for planning approval. There might be issues with the airfield being so close to the station (the carpark was at the end of the landing strip). SJ said expert help was needed to follow the GRIP process and he would ask Catherine Symington to come to the next meeting to brief the group on this. He would contact her to find out when she was available and set a date for the next meeting.

PJ advised all in the group to download the Network Rail guide to planning stations (found on the TransWilts website. (the link to this document was circulated to the group by SF subsequent to the meeting.) TP said he thought it would be helpful if a Ghant chart be prepared showing all the stages and deadlines for this planning process.

WH asked whether alternative layouts were being considered and was told that alternatives would be compared under the GRIP2 stage, selection of options. He also informed the meeting that Stert PC was totally opposed to the housing development immediately north of the Clock Inn Park within its parish boundary, in open countryside and within the AONB.

GD said that routing the access road from Lydeway would solve the road junction problem and would provide a shorter access to the station location with a car park on the south side of the railway. He also requested that the three parishes be fully and officially involved in the planning process, take part in all meetings and be given access to all the documents and minutes of meetings. This was agreed. He also requested that a secretary be appointed to take minutes of the meetings. SF said no minutes had been prepared to date but that members of the group relied on their own notes. GD thanked the group on behalf of the three parishes for being invited to the meeting.

PJ advised that meeting that he could not continue to participate as an active member because of his workload relating to Wilton and Melksham stations. He welcomed the proposed involvement of Catharine Symington.

SJ proposed that current activities should be paused, while a fundamental review of the approach to the project was undertaken, but thanked PL for driving the project forward to the current state. PL agreed that he would immediately notify all consultants to stop work immediately, and estimated that approx.. £3500 of the £7000 committed had been spent to date.

The meeting closed at 12.05pm

Note: GRIP = “Guide to Rail Investment Process”, Network Rail’s planning and implementation procedure. GRIP1: Project identification, GRIP2: Pre-Feasibility, GRIP3: Option selection, GRIP4: Single option development, GRIP5 to GRIP8: Design, Construction, Commissioning etc.



Minutes of Parish Council Meeting, 22nd February 2018

held in Stert House on 22nd February 2018

Clive Boyes (CB) Chairman
Alick Edwards (AE) Dty Chairman
Lucy Barker (LB)  Councillor/Treasurer
William Howkins (WH) Councillor/Clerk
1. Apologies for absence 
Councillors Sam Deacon and Chris Lawrence sent their apologies.
2. Declaration of Interest
3. Minutes of previous meeting
The Minutes of the PC meeting held on 11th December 2017 were approved (proposed by AE and seconded by LB) and signed by the Chairman.
4. Treasurer’s Report
LB reported there had been one payment of £197.87 to CB as reimbursement for the cost of the Christmas party that had been budgeted for £220.  The balance in the PC account now stood tab £2293.99, confirmed in the pass book by WH.

LB did not anticipate any further major spending for this financial year. Our total spending for the current year comes to £767.12, well within our budget and well below the precept. Excluding the Christmas party, total expenditures for 2017/18 has been £569.25. I therefore suggest we budget £600 for regular expenses for 2018/19 plus the cost of parties. This was unanimously agreed.

LB proposed that a donation of £40 be made to the PCC for use of the church for Monday’s special PC meeting. This was proposed by AE and seconded by WH. CB reported that one quote had been received for painting the telephone box. Two more will be sought before awarding the work.
5. Neighbourhood Watch
Nothing special to report apart from a few general theft/scam warnings from the police passed on by email.
6. Tinkfield Recycling Centre.
CB reported he had visited Tinkfield and had met Mr. Nigel Grist and Mr Jonathan Taylor. He reported that the second weigh bridge was being installed and work will soon start on concreting the internal roads within the site. In the meantime, the wheels of lorries are being pressure washed before leaving the site. CB was satisfied that everything possible was being done to reduce the mud being brought onto the main road. A great improvement should be seen when the concreting work is finished by the summer.

Work is continuing on construction of the bund and the sorting shed siding should also be completed by summer.
7. Claironailes
The house agents, Humberts, have advised that the sale of the property to a private owner is proceeding. The buyers have indicated that they plan to build an extension on the house subject to planning consent.
8. Speed Limits.
Requests have been sent by the PC to WC for a 40 mph speed limit on A342 between the Lydeway and Stert junctions and for a 20 mph speed limit in Stert Lane. No response has yet been received.
9. Crookwood MotoX
A retroactive planning application to allow agricultural land on Crookwood Farm to be used for Motocross meetings has been sent to WC. The deadline for public comments on this application is 7th March 2018. At a recent meeting of Urchfont Parish Council, Councillor Philip Whitehead stated that if permission was granted for one such meeting, then WC could not set a limit on the number of such meetings in one year. Urchfont PC strongly objected to the application on the basis of noise, traffic safety and environmental impacts. It was agreed that while Stert PC could not comment on traffic and environmental aspects, it should register its objections to the application due to noise disturbance to Stert residents. LB will post this objection on the WC website.

10. Devizes parkway Station
Separate minutes have been prepared of the briefing on a proposal for a new railway station, held on19th February by two members of the Devizes Development Partnership working group. It was agreed to circulated these to Stert residents as well as posting them on the PC’s website. CB reported that he had already registered on behalf of Stert PC the following objection with the GWR Franchise public consultation:

“Stert residents have always welcomed the possibility of a train station for Devizes. However Stert village now has strong reservations about the funding of this particular scheme. We learnt that half the funding for the station will come from residential development adjacent to the station. We calculate this will involve building a considerable number of houses in open countryside and in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Furthermore, we understand the plan is to build the houses first, followed by the station but without any guarantees that the station is eventually built. There is no planned development at the proposed location in the Devizes or Wiltshire Council housing strategies.”

11. AOB
11.1 AE reported that he had received a supply of salt and that the salt spreader was ready in case of snow during the coming week. He and WH would keep an eye on the forecast.

11.2 WH had noticed that there were some potholes and surface deterioration down the village lane that he would bring to the attention of the Parish Steward.
12. Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held in Stert House on Monday 30th April 2018, at 7.30 pm.

Proposed Plan of Devizes Parkway Station

Devizes station

Proposed Plan of Devizes Parkway Station presented by Devizes Development Partnership  at meeting of Stert PC on 19th February 2018.