Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held in the Phoenix Hall Thursday, 16th March, 2023 at 6.30pm

Download this document

Cllr. Burke welcomed 25 members of the public to the meeting.  The Chairman of the Parish Council, Richie Ayling, is away working so the Vice Chairman, David Burke was asked to take the meeting.

1. Netheravon Parish Council Annual Report

Cllr. Burke began by remembering Cllr. Fred Collison who died last week.   He had been a Councillor for approximately 25 years and during that time has been a valued member of the council.   He made it his main goal to make the A345 safer for all road users.   It is sad that he has died before the speed limit is reduced.   He will be missed.

A minutes’ silence was observed to remember Fred Collison.

The Parish Council has had a very busy time this year.   As a result of the cost of living crisis we have opened a Community Larder which is managed by Hedge Burley – thank you very much.   Also many thanks to all the people who have contributed by putting food and goods into the Larder.   It is continually being replenished.   People are very generous.   Also continuing on from the Community Larder the Parish Council agreed to put to one side an allotment for a Community Allotment which will help to put fresh vegetables into the Larder.   The first meeting of volunteers at the allotment was very successful with 12 people turning up on a very cold Saturday morning including 4 young people.   Thanks to everyone for the effort they are putting into the project and for the offers of seeds and tools from residents.

I would also like to thank the organisations who are supporting the ‘Warm Spaces’ initiative in Netheravon.   They are the Working Men’s Club, The Library and Cheerful Cuppa.

Unfortunately after many years in the Phoenix Hall, the Youth Club has closed.   The Parish Council would like to thank all the organisers and helpers who have made it happen over the years.   All their hard work has been much appreciated.

Here are a few of the many issues and initiatives which the Parish Council have tackled throught the year:

  • New fence at the BMX track
  • Outdoor adult exercise equipment at the
  • Millennium Park
  • Supporting Jubilee Street Party
  • Jubilee Beacon
  • Hanging Baskets along the High Street
  • Queens Green Canopy – Jubilee Walk between
  • Court Farm Road and Queensway to be planted with cherry trees
  • Jubilee mugs were given to all children of age 11 and under
  • Welcome Packs are given out to all new residents of NetheravonCommunity
  • Governance Review – change of boundaries taking in Airfield Camp to Netheravon
  • Trial Speed Limit reduction along the A345 starting July
  • Planning – several planning meetings have been held to discuss plans for the land at the junction of Pigott Close/A345.   Plans have been approved, but new plans have been submitted and they are awaiting determination by Wiltshire Council.
  • Avon Valley Parish Skittles Match.   This was held in the WMC and was won by Durrington Town Council.   Netheravon Parish Council received the wooden spoon
  • Silver Jubilee Cup was presented to Dylan Hughes for all his Community Work
  • Working parties to put up flags for the Jubilee,
  • Hanging baskets, Poppies for Remembrance and lights on the Christmas Tree.   Thanks to everyone who helped.
  • New notices made for Court Farm Playground and the BMX track
  • Several people and organisations have been awarded Stonehenge Area Achievement Awards.   They are Cheerful Cuppa, Netheravon Day Centre, Dylan Hughes for Youth Community work, David Burke as Exemplary Councillor, and Mary Towle as Community Champion
  • There are three websites for the parish of Netheravon:   www.netheravonparishcouncil.co.uk: www.netheravonspast.co.uk: www.villagesoldiers.co.uk .   They are all very interesting and are kept up to date.   Please have a look when you are browsing.

Two new Councillors have been welcomed during this year:  Peter Mackay and Alan Brown.   We would like to thank the retiring councillors David Jaffray and Pam Panther for their support and hard work as Councillors.   All Councillors are volunteers and spend many hours willingly looking after the village and residents.   Thank you to all Councillors for all their hard work.

I would like to end my report by thanking our small team of loyal staff.   Cecil Phillimore unfortunately due to ill health has had to step down after about 25 years of service.   Many thanks must go to Cecil for all the work he has done for the Parish.  At the moment Graeme Allen has undertaken to do his job as well as his own as Village Handyman and Cemetery groundsman.   Thanks must go to Graeme for all his good humour and willingness to undertake any job which needs doing in the Village.

2.Parochial Church Council (PCC) Report

As one of two Churchwardens (the second being Adam Corkery), Richard Aubrey Fletcher reported that:

  • The year since the last Parish Council AGM had been dominated by getting church activities back to normal following the lifting of COVID restrictions.
  • Governance arrangements remain unchanged, with Rev Philip Bromiley as Rector of the Avon Valley Team and Rev Gale Hunt as Team Vicar, resident in the village Vicarage.  The PCC of 6 individuals remains responsible to Salisbury Diocese for supporting the priests in the Ministry Team in their work and the management of the church building.
  • Attendance from the village at Festival Services (Easter and Christmas) is back to normal, as also was the Remembrance Day Service.
  • Regular Sunday services have continued with 3 a month plus Evensong when there is  a 5th Sunday in the month.
  • But, in line with trends from across the Church of England, attendance has been patchy so,  following a consultation run in the Newsletter, the PCC will in future share two services a month with Fittleton PCC.  This should lead to greater attendance at anyone service and  reduce the administrative burden on each PCC.
  • The major challenge for the PCC is meeting its financial liabilities:
    • The congregation, assisted by the village, is responsible for finding the circa £21,000 per annum cost of running the church; a little over £16,000 goes to Salisbury Diocese to help with the salary, pension and accommodation for, our village priest.  A further £5,000 is required in order to fund the church as a building, this pays for utilities, building and public liability insurance and minor maintenance.
    • Grants may be available for major maintenance of our Saxon Grade 1 listed church and Gift Aid can be claimed on all donations but in all other respects we, the village, are responsible for the financial viability of the church, a burden that cannot be met by the congregation alone.
    • The PCC is, as ever, grateful for the support we receive from the Parish Council with maintaining the churchyard, the Village Fete (this year on Sat 9 Sep) as a crucial fund raiser and RGV with servicing the church electrics.  We are also well supported by a dedicated team of flower arrangers and others who freely give of their time and talents in support of the Fete, and church in general.

In sum we are fortunate to have a sound Grade 1 Saxon church in our village, a vicar available to all and a dedicated team who church open daily and available for services throughout the year.  The challenge is financing all of this.

3. Report by Caroline Aubrey-Fletcher, Chairman of Netheravon Day Centre

The Day Centre is run by the three Trustees and we also have a committee comprising the trustees and three members of the Day Centre.  The Trustees are the Chair – Caroline Aubrey-Fletcher, the Secretary – David Barron and the Treasurer – Emma Peacocke. All the aforementioned are formally elected at the AGM in May. We are a registered charity and our accounts are filed on line each year with the Charity commission.

In March/April last year we advertised for a new Organiser and in May 2022 we employed Philippa Lackford to fill this remunerated post. The organiser co-ordinates the day to day activity on Wednesdays. Philippa is a great asset to the Day Centre (and especially to me).  She previously worked in the NHS as an occupational therapist with special remit for older adults and patients with mental health issues.

We are very fortunate to have a wonderful team of volunteers in the Day Centre, approximately 7 (some of whom have been volunteering at the Day Centre for very many years). They work either morning or afternoon on a roster run by the Organiser. We are fortunate at the moment to be very well covered by volunteers, but we are always looking for occasional volunteers to fill in for holidays and school holidays.  It is not an onerous task and what is more it is very rewarding.

We also use volunteer drivers who collect and return members who require transport.  We now have two drivers (Peter Thomas and Joy Jenkyns) who have undertaken to do all the collections and deliveries when they are here.  Despite several advertisements in the Newsletter one person has come forward to do occasional driving.  Please even if you can help out occasionally let us know.  

There are currently 13 members. We can have up to 18, however I am cooking the lunches at the moment (with occasional help from others) and could not take on many more.  We would like to find someone from outside to cook the lunches but with financial constraints are leaving it as it is at the moment

The Day Centre runs from 10.00 am - 3.00 pm.  Members have a cup of tea or coffee and biscuits on arrival and then play games, do gentle exercises  targeted at senior citizens and socialise until a home-cooked lunch at about midday.  After lunch they have occasional other activities or play games, including bingo and a raffle.  We have recently bought carpet bowls and a mat which is a great success.  Before departure they have a cup of tea and cake.

We took all the members to Lepe for an outing in September, a glorious sunny day taking the scenic route through the New Forest. We had lunch in the cafe there and sat on the beach in the afternoon with one member even paddling on the pebbles! We had a great Christmas party and a wonderful Christmas raffle with fantastic prizes, the money for which was raised by the members selling tickets. Tesco, Cheerful Cuppa and other friends also contributed to these prizes.

We are very grateful to Netheravon Parish Council for their donation to the Day Centre.  This year we have received NO GRANT from Wiltshire Council. We had meetings and discussions as to whether we could be one of the Wiltshire Council service providers but members felt it was nicer to keep this local and have people we know.  Otherwise we would have been liable to taking people from all over Wiltshire.

So for the moment we are relying on fund raising and donations.  We have applied for a couple of grants but have so far been unsuccessful. We are also always looking for grants and donations to fund outings and such things as the bowls etc.

I hope everyone feels the Netheravon Day Centre is a valuable asset to the community.

Caroline Aubrey-Fletcher, Chair, Netheravon Day Centre.

4. Report by Gillian Durans, Head Teacher, Netheravon All Saints School

About the school – context

Small village primary with 140 on roll

Numbers have decreased over the past 5 yeas due to new primary at St. Michael’s with housing directly onsite

Military families not being housed in Netheravon

Military families moving out of the area to purchase own property closer to families.


We run 6 classes

4 single form entry YR-Y3

2 mixed classes Y4/5 & Y5/6 which is due to pupil numbers

Military families

We accommodate a significant proportion of military families – currently 40%

These consist of a few families remaining in the military accommodation within the village / those who drive in from other military regions – Larkhill / Bulford / those who travel by bus from Upavon

As a mobile population, we see families arriving and leaving at times other than the beginning of the school year. This can be a challenging time for those leaving as well as those left behind.

Other families

Our children also attend from surrounding villages and the local area including Amesbury.

The Church

As a C of E school, we have very close links with the local church. Reverend Gale attends weekly to lad an act of Worship.

We celebrate key Christian celebrations throughout the year at the Church for example – Harvest / Christmas and shortly Easter, and we make use of this local resource to enhance our RE curriculum.

We use our wonderful location to explore the history of Netheravon and its geographical significance in years gone by. Classes have visited the airfield at the top of the hill and explored the local path and waterways.

Trips and Visits

However, being in a rural locality brings its own challenges when planning trips and visits out of the local area. We know the benefits and opportunities that come from taking children out of school to explore the wider world and do this where we can enrich the learning offer.

This has been difficult over the past 2/3 years, firstly due to Covid and the associated restrictions and secondly due to the spiralling cost of transport and entry to visitor attractions.

Last year

Our Y1 and Y2 classes enjoyed a day out to Marwell Zoo

The Y3/4/5 classes went to the Science Museum in Winchester

Our youngest Reception class learners were entertained by Zoolab who bring small animals in to school for the children to handle and discuss.

The Y6 residiential is always a firm favourite with our ioldre pupils. Last year we held a staycation on the field rather than staying away from home. Although enjoyed by the pupils, the camping was not the desired glamping experience for the adults! In fact very little sleep was had at all. But the children loved it!

Forest school

We are all aware of the importance of being outdoors and the positive impact this has on well-being and mental health. Fortunately, we have a magnificent outdoor space at school and a lovely garden area which is used regularly with the children.

All children engage in Forest school activities during the year, enjoying the outdoor environment, getting messy, learning amongst and about nature, experiencing the wildlife / habitats which exist on our doorstep at first hand.

This has been especially important following school lockdown and has benefited our learners.

It is wonderful to see the children preparing the vegetable beds for planting, weeding, watering mad observing the growth of the plants. And so important for them to know and understand where our produce comes from.

School Council

On a green theme, our school council have a keen interest in looking after the planet. They are passiobate about reducing the amount of plastic waste and are encouraging the school community to be mindful of this.

5. Report by Steve Perry, Chairman of the Phoenix Hall Committee

In Sept 2022 the new Solar Panels where installed.
We are currently recording the panels output to see how it will affect the halls electricity running costs hopefully there will be a surplus when the weather improves.

This winter has been very hard and during the cold spell in the middle December 2022 the hall water tank in the loft froze, this was due to the small heater not cutting in when the temperature dropped. A new heater had to be purchased to stop this happening again and as the heating is totally electric running costs have been higher.

We are monitoring the situation at the moment and may in the future consider the purchase of batteries to store any surplus power generated for the halls own use rather than selling it to an electricity company.

The Burco in the servery has now been replaced and used regularly by are hirers.

The latest project is to have a new screen cover made for the TV and fitted as the old one had broken, this is being done by the men’s shed at Tidworth.

Sadly, the Youth Club has closed which will have an effect on the hall’s income. This does result in the hall being available for hire on a Fridays.

The number of bookings has remained steady and indeed we have some new regular users i.e. the ART group and monthly pop up market and also a number of hiring’s for fundraising events.

We are also receiving a number of bookings from outside the village and this additional valuable income is important for the sustained future of the hall for the village. In particular we are very happy to welcome and hire our facility to our Fijian friends.

The hire of the hall by the villagers is at a reduced rate and we always encourage anyone to consider the hall when wanting somewhere for a special event.

The committee appreciates the support that it receives from both the village and the two parish councils and always welcome anyone who wishes to join us.

6. Report by Ros Ayling from Enford Avon Valley Youth Club

Over the last 12 months Enford & Avon Valley Youth Club has opened most Friday evenings outside of the school holidays with between 15 to 25 young people attending each session.

We held various events such as a Circus Workshop, cooking lessons, Halloween and Christmas parties as well as hosting an arts and crafts tent at the Jubilee celebration in Netheravon last June. We will also be hosting a crafts tent during the King’s Coronation event later this year.

Unfortunately, it is with great regret that we have to tell you that Club finally closed the doors after 6 years in Netheravon and previously over 16 years in Enford.

Following Covid, we haven't quite reached the same numbers of young people coming through our doors each Friday meaning that we haven't been covering our running costs.

Also we have been struggling to find the minimum numbers of volunteers required to run the sessions each week and with certain key members of our lovely team moving away from the area, this situation is unfortunately not improving.

Following a committee meeting at the beginning of February and considering the above, we came to the sad conclusion that we were below critical mass to be able to carry on running.
Friday 10th February was our last session.

Should anyone wish to take on running the Youth Club, please do get in touch and we would be happy to go through what is involved in more detail.

Currently we are planning to keep the Youth Club bank account open until the end of the year as well as holding all our games and art & craft equipment in storage at the Phoenix Hall in Netheravon.

If no one has stepped forward during that time, then we will look to donate or sell off the equipment and close the bank account down.

7. Report by Sarah Brown on Cheerful Cuppa

Cheerful cuppa has had another successful year. Week on week we have 30/35 people attending. On some occasions when we are putting on a specific fundraiser, we can get 60! We are open to everyone and there is always so much chatter and support for each other.

We only ask for donations towards the refreshments but through everyone’s generosity we have donated £2,090 to various charities and groups: Dementia UK, Stars appeal, Solstice missing dogs, Macmillan, Prostate cancer and Breast cancer support, Royal British Legion, Pewsey Male voice choir (who come to entertain the group with their singing), the community larder, The Day Centre, Away from it all holidays run by The Mother’s Union and Cruse Bereavement Support.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the volunteers who turn up week after week to put out tables and chairs and serve at the tables.

Mary and I look forward to another year behind the hatch and look forward to serving the people of our community.

8. Coronation Music in the Park – Corinne Gowman

Corinne reported that there will be 4 bands performing in the Millennium Park on 7th May.   There will also be a raffle, tea tent, food stall and ice cream van.   It will start after the Songs of Praise which is being held in the Church.

9. Working Men’s Club

Gary Davies, Chairman of the Netheravon Working Men’s Club said that the Club is a community orientated club run by volunteers.   Richie Ayling is revamping the website.   They are hoping to attract more young people to the Club as it is a Club run for all the family.   They have darts, snooker, pool and  a skittles league

10. Proposed change to speed limit on A345

Cllr. Ian Blair-Pilling explained that the Parish Council have been trying for years to get the speed limit reduced along the A345.   Wiltshire Council have now agreed to a trial 40mph speed limit for 1 year.   However there are stringent criteria which will have to be followed.   With this in mind a Netheravon Speedwatch Group has been formed and 2 Speed Indicator Devices will be purchased so that we can do whatever is possible to reduce the speed motorists are travelling.   The speed will be checked every 3 months so see whether these measures have made a difference.

11. Speedwatch – Presentation by John Derryman

John Derryman, representing Mr Philip Wilkinson OBE, Police and Crime Commissioner, provided an update on how to form a Community Speed Watch (CSW) team, explained how enforcement is undertaken and shared information regarding Speed Indicator Devices.  He said “Thank you to Ian Blair-Pilling for leading the activity to reduce the speed limit from 50MPH to 40MPH and explaining the steps involved.  We know that our residents want safer roads and proactive, robust, measures to decrease speeding. We are regularly told that this is one of the key priorities for communities across the county.

During the last year, the PCC has invested funding from your precept to increase the number of Community Speed Enforcement Officers (CSEOs) from one to three and bought extra mobile state-of-the-art speed enforcement cameras to bolster their efforts.  There are also three Road Safety Officers (RSOs) and two administrators who process the paperwork following speed enforcement activities.  Following the PCC taking office and prioritising Road Safety, there has been a 68% increase in enforcement results.  This information is available on the PCC website.

We are also using the data from 11 Speed Indicator Devices (SIDs) which are being imported into the Police computer system, feedback from our communities and other intelligence methods to target road safety hotspots.  As soon as your SIDs are installed, their data will be added on a monthly basis to the Police computer system. During 2023, data from all 93 SIDs across Wiltshire and Swindon will be included.

Thank you very much to everyone who has expressed in interest in forming a CSW.

12. Proposed Boundary Changes for Netheravon Parish

Cllr. Ian Blair-Pilling explained that the Parish Council have taken the opportunity to change the Parish Boundary as Netheravon Cemetery at the moment is in Figheldean Parish.   After consultation with the adjoining parishes of Figheldean and Fittleton it was finally proposed that Netheravon Airfield Camp would become part of Netheravon Parish.   There is an online consultation going on to find out the views of the people affected by these changes and people are encouraged to take part.

13. Questions From Members Of The Public

A member of the public asked whether the Parish Council would consider  taking part in ‘Heat for the Streets’ which helps people to install heat pumps in their homes.