Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held in the Phoenix Hall On Wednesday, 11th March, 2020 at 7.00 p.m.

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Parish Councillors Present:Cllr. D. BurkeChairman
Cllr. A. LinscerVice-Chairman
Cllr. F. Collison
Cllr. B. Covil
Cllr. Mrs. M. Mitchell
Cllr. D. Jaffray
Cllr. T. Gerrard
Cllr. S. Perry
In Attendance:Mrs. Mary TowleClerk of the Council
50 members of the public


The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting and thanked them for their support.   


1 .   Chairman’s Report

The Parish Council has been very active since last year, and the following are some of the many things which the Council has undertaken.

  • Children’s Party and Easter Egg Hunt to open the new equipment in the Millennium Park
  • Netheravon in Bloom
  • 8 new flower tubs around Netheravon and we are adding to them this year.   We also put hanging baskets on telegraph poles along the High Street.
  • New Gateway signs which unfortunately have been vandalised.   
  • New movements have been fitted to Village Clock which is now working well
  • Emergency Plan is nearly complete.   Fittleton Parish Council will be included in the Plan and we are awaiting their input.
  • An Emergency Store has been made in the Bus Shelter on the High Street.   This is accessible to all
  • New picnic bench has been purchased for the Millennium Park.   Cheerful Cuppa with the help of an Area Board Grant have also bought a bench.
  • The problem with the surface water drains in the High Street has been resolved.
  • Avon Valley Rights of Way Group have installed kissing gates to make a circular walk
  • 300 small trees have been ordered for the Cemetery to plant around the boundary.   Lavender plants will also be planted around the Garden of Remembrance
  • Planning for the 75VE Day Celebrations is well underway.   The Parish Council will pay for First Aid cover and insurance for the Friday event.
  • Villagers who died in WW2 were added to the poppies which were put on telegraph poles along the High Street.
  • Allotments are a problem at the moment with several people giving them up.   We are advertising for interested people.   There are 3 vacancies at the moment.
  • The Parish Council organised an evening session with St John Ambulance for CPR training.   
  • The Bus Stop at Avon Camp East has been re-instated for the benefit of Eastcourt and Westcourt residents
  • The Parish Council provided a Christmas Tree outside the Library


I would like to thank all the Parish Councillors for all their hard work which made such a successful year.

Lastly, thank you to the staff – Cemetery caretaker and Village Handyman, Graeme Allen, the Litter Picker, Cecil Phillimore, and the Clerk, Mary Towle, for all their loyalty and dedication to the Village.

Cllr. David Burke, Chairman


2 .    Royal Artillery Museum

General Eeles and Martin Harvey attended the meeting to represent the Royal Artillery Museum.   General Eeles did a Power Point Presentation   They have listened to the comments of the people and have made many changes, especially to the height of the building which has been lowered to be not so prominent in the sky line.   The planning process is proceeding with studies being done which will be included in the planning application.   A Community Liaison Group has been formed to address the questions and concerns of the parishes along the Avon Valley.


There were several questions from members of the public which were answered by General Eeles including:

  • Why do they need 100 acres
  • Where exactly will the entrance from the road be
  • Is it true the museum will be built where the washdown is at present
  • What do they mean by ‘extra experiences’ in the future
  • There were queries about the extra number of people and whether there will be dinner nights


4 .    Report by Wiltshire Councillor

Cllr Ian Blair-Pilling Collingbournes and Netheravon Division

Casework – a varied load of cases such as - flooding, road closures (Magpie Cottage), individual housing issues etc - .

Tidworth - Community Area Tpt Gp – have assisted and got funding for – Village signs in 3 villages, virtual pathway in C-D, roundabout modifications and other measures in C-K, speed limit reduction in Everleigh.

Area Board Grants – Beneficiaries in my area have been Netheravon Wanderers FC, Netheravon & Fittleton VE events, Netheravon Picnic Benches.  Many other collective grants to youth activities, health and well being, climate change, social activities.

I am the sponsor for the Paths for All project -  Initiated (at suggestion and shove from Mary Towle). £6000 towards improving and promoting use of our R o W.  Avon Valley has been particularly enthusiastic including school and Cheerful Cuppa, installing kissing gates and coming up with plans for several walks and most recently ideas for trim trails.  Also sorting issues over in the Chutes and recently Tidworth Garrison come on board with plans for a set of historic military walks.  All gathering momentum.

Planning – I am a member of the Eastern Area Planning Committee.  As local councillor I have helped communities and individuals on some controversial applications.  

Area Board – Want to plug the Board and its sub committees and groups.  As councillors we go to Health and Well Being, Police Community Liaison Gp and CATG and a Multi Agency Forum to do with special needs in our schools.  These sub groups tend to be dominated by Ludgershall and Tidworth and if we want a proper shake of police attention etc the villages do need to get involved a bit more.

Wiltshire Council Leader’s report covering all aspects is in draft with the Cabinet and will be out shortly.

For myself – my portfolios include IT, Digitalisation and Operational Assets (our buildings) from offices to depots, leisure centres and libraries.  Hot topics here are first -  reducing our carbon footprint where we are investing over £5M in improvements which will pay for itself within about 9 years and thereafter reduce costs by about 500+K per year.  Wiltshire Council is doing what it can where it makes sense. The second topic is a review of our leisure centre provision. i.e. have we got it right for the whole county and not just some principal settlements?

On IT I am focussed on bringing our rather complex mix of legacy systems up to date and making them more robust while enabling transformation of much of how we do business.  For your part that is to do with channel shift and enabling simpler and better transactions and hence results for all.

Corona Virus – Council Public Health well up with the various aspects of planning several steps ahead in concert with Gov.  Cabinet being briefed regularly.  Need to strike balance and only impose restrictions as and when they are required and would not create wrong consequences.  For now emphasis on personal hygiene and common sense.


5 .    Reports from Village Organisations

Netheravon Day Centre (incorporating Enford, Haxton, Fittleton & Figheldean)

The Day Centre is run by the three Trustees and we also have a committee comprising the trustees and four members of the Day Centre.  The Trustees are the Chairman – Caroline Aubrey-Fletcher, the Secretary – Elizabeth Mitchell 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. 

Our organiser is Christine Covil, who does a sterling job, and co-ordinates the day to day activity on Wednesdays.  We are very fortunate to have a wonderful team of volunteers in the Day Centre, approximately 9 (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 also use volunteer drivers who collect and return members who require transport.  We now have three drivers helping out each month, but are always on the look out for some more.

There are currently 17 members: 11 from Netheravon/Haxton and 3 from Figheldean, 2 from Durrington and 1 from Rushall.  Lunches are now cooked by Claire Hutton from Durrington who delivers them every Wednesday at midday. As we are a very popular day centre we are now full in terms of membership, but are operating a waiting list.

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 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.  Before departure they have a cup of tea and cake.

As we have some very elderly, less mobile members we haven’t done very many outings.  However, we had the Ukulele Band come and play to us again.  It was attended by members and others and was enjoyed by all, with lots singing and clapping along and even playing percussion instruments. Our very able volunteers provided tea and cakes for all.  We took several members to the pantomime ‘Robin Hood’ in December 2019 which was very much enjoyed.  They had a great Christmas party and gave a buffet lunch for the volunteers and the members of a choir (kindly organised by Liz Mitchell) came and sang carols with us all.

We are very grateful to Netheravon Parish Council for their donation to the Day Centre.  The grant we received from Wiltshire Council for 2020 was due to be cut but the decision was reversed owing to too little notice.  The Council will eventually transfer future funding of this Day Centre to the Tidworth Area Board.  So yet again we have no guarantee of a grant being given in the future, but I am sure we will find ways and means of keeping this very valuable service to our community going. 

The members and volunteers are a great gang and what is more important we have such fun.  They support each other in so many ways and we aim to help and support outside the activities of the Day Centre whenever possible.

Caroline Aubrey-Fletcher


All Saints’ Netheravon Parochial Church Council Report 

I speak as one of two Churchwardens, the other being Adam Corkery.

All Saints’ Netheravon remains one of seven parishes forming the Avon River Team.  Team Rector Philip Bromiley and Team Vicar Gale Hunt are our two stipendiary priests, Susan Drewett is a non-stipendiary priest and Chrysogon Bamber is our non-stipendiary Licensed Lay Minister.

I am pleased report to the Council that the church both as a building and congregation continues to play an active part in the life of the village.  The building is open daily during daylight hours for those who might want somewhere quiet to themselves or just visit a Grade 1 building that has been in our community for over 900 years.  Services to suit all tastes are held on at least 3 Sundays every month and we stand ready to support families with baptisms (5 in the past year), marriages (1) and funerals (1).  We are beginning to support weddings taking place in conjunction with receptions at Syrencote House.  The school holds a number of services in the church throughout the year:  end of term; Harvest Festival; Remembrance Day; Carol Service.  Remembrance Day last year was attended by 160 adults, £671.00 was donated to the British Legion.  Members of the congregation continue to play an active part in the life of the village through their involvement in the management of the WMC, governance of the village school, support to our elderly residents provided by the Day Centre and membership of the Jubilee Committee coordination of village activities.  

The Parochial Church Council manages the building and the parish’s activity as a charity regulated by the Charity Commissioners and in accordance with guidelines established by the Church of England.  As a legally established public body the PCC is, as you would expect, subject to scrutiny and inspection; which includes examination of our arrangements for safeguarding of potentially vulnerable children, young people and adults, security of keys, health and safety and maintenance of the building.  Our architect carried out statutory Quinquennial inspection of the building last year; there is work to do, phase 1 has begun using financial resources already to hand– we may well need to seek financial assistance for the further phases!

The contribution the church makes to the life of the village is only made possible by the time, energy and financial support of a strong core of volunteers and supporters:  the 7 members of the PCC, the congregation itself, cleaners and flower arrangers, organists and the music group who accompany services.  Alan Cook will be doing much less work in the churchyard this year, we are discussing with the Parish Council how best to ensure that the churchyard and car park are maintained to the high standard as achieved by Alan over decades.  We were saddened to say farewell to Sue and Roger Hayward during the year; both were staunch supporters of the church community over the years and are greatly missed.  I place on record our appreciation for the support provided by RGV in maintaining, and advising on, the electrical arrangements in the church.  The churchwardens are grateful to everyone in the village who supports the annual Fete, the money raised (£3584.00 last year) is crucial to helping the PCC keep the church open and available to everyone in the village.  But finances are a constant challenge.  Annual expenditure for the past year was £17,505.93 of which £13,764.00 was our Parish Share paid to the Diocese of Salisbury.

Future significant activity planned for this year includes the Fete on Sat 5 Sep.  We should be grateful for your support – it’s always an enjoyable village affair.

The Annual Parochial Church Meeting open to all will take place on Sunday 19 April following the 1100 am Family Holy Communion Service.  Do attend, it’s your church and you are entitled to a say as to how it is administered and its place in village life.

Richard Aubrey-Fletcher


Cheerful Cuppa

Cheerful Cuppa is going from strength to strength.   We have a committed group of 25-30 who come regularly and some occasions we are in the 40’s/50’s.

As you all know, we are a non-profit making group who only ask for donations for refreshments, to help cover costs, but through the generosity of the people who come weekly and support our fundraisers, we have been able to donate £2,458 to various charities in the last year alone.   Charities include, Alzheimer’s Society, Phoenix Hall, the Stars Appeal, Cancer Research, Julia House, Australia to help the animals and firefighters and donations to the Pewsey Male Voice Choir charity, Wiltshire Air Ambulance, when they come to entertain us.   We also donated money to buy one of the benches in the Millennium Park and have given money and bought books so that every child in All Saints School received a book for Christmas.

The Hall is full of laughter and chatter when we all get together but we are also there to support people through troubled times.   One lady said Tuesday at Cheerful Cuppa gives her the boost she needs to get through the rest of the week.   We have become a very close group of friends, and I for one am very proud to be part of it.

A huge thank you to the team, Mary, Alan, Graeme, Judy, Mark, Alan and Sue for your continued support week after week.

Sarah Brown


Jubilee Committee Report 

The event which the Committee are working towards is the 75VE Day Celebrations.   On the Friday there will be an event for the children of the village, on Saturday there is a dance at the Dog and Gun and on Sunday there will be cream teas in the Phoenix Hall put on by Cheerful Cuppa with a filmshow.   The Parish Council will be having the War Memorial refurbished and it will be re-dedicated as part of the children’s event.


Phoenix Hall Report


Thanks to the members of the Management Committee the hall has been significantly improved over the past year using money granted by Netheravon Parish Council and Fittleton Parish Council plus significant grants obtained from Aspire Ltd and Co-op. 


The Committee has worked hard on fund raising activities.  As well as running a popular Race Night recently, which raised £1,500 for the Hall, we are recognized as one of 3 charities being supported by the 4 local Co-op shops in Amesbury.  We hope to secure funds of £3,000 via this route. By you doing your shopping there you will help your hall.  Online purchases through www.smile.amazon.co.uk can also support the hall.  The 200 Club lottery remains a major source of funds for the Hall, we have space for more people to join this club.  Details from Mrs. Gill Murphy.


The use of the Phoenix Hall has increased slightly over the past year.  Hirings are up.  The committee approved the first rise in hire fees for 6 years last autumn, targeted at non-parishioner led groups, and that income is starting to have a small effect on the Hall’s finances.  The Hall still, however, trades at a loss and is grateful for the support it requires and receives from its landlords to survive as a community asset.


The Hall Committee is pleased to be able to report that following the total redecoration last year new curtains and a new carpet have been installed in the Committee Room.  The aim is to make this a more comfortable / homely room to hire, but retain its functionality. 


Unauthorised access to our hall has been curtailed by installing a new lock and key safe.  A log of key holders is now kept.


The 30-year-old heating in the main hall had been a problem.  The committee has installed new fan heaters and new storage heaters.  This provided the most cost-effective solution with available funds.  


The Hall has a completely revamped store room with extra shelving, mostly used by the successful Youth Club, to store regularly-used equipment.


As the Hall has its own website it is planned to post availability, policies, photo gallery, and a booking facility via this route in the coming year.  This platform will enable the committee to advertise to not-so-local audiences and should boost bookings in future.

In 2020 we have plans to undertake the following projects dependent upon available funds


  • A better-looking external appearance for the hall (tubs and plantings) 
  • new window hangings in the main hall new taps in the toilets
  • new LED lighting in some areas
  • A ramp for wheelchair users to access via the front door
  • new emergency doors for the main hall
  • an outside tap and water butt(s) to improve our green credentials
  • A revamped kitchenette for the committee room. 


A rewrite to the constitution of the hall to enable more local people to become committee members and take part in decision making


longer term the committee is keen to resurface the car park but this involves the school and Wiltshire Council as well as the landlords.

Charles Coslett


Enford and Avon Valley Youth Club

Dot Georgeson, the Chairman of the Youth Club reported that they have 72 signed up members of the Youth Club.   They advertise through WhatsApp and facebook.   They have recently started an older children’s group for 11-15 year olds which runs from 7.30 – 9.00 pm  Children really enjoy cooking and so they started 12 sessions of  ‘Anyone can Cook’ which is being kindly sponsored by Winter in Venice.   They are looking forward to the summer when they have the use of the School Field and so they can have many outdoor activities in good weather.   The Youth Club recently applied for a Tidworth Area Grant to take children to Oxenwood which entails an overnight stay.   They have a terrific team of volunteers, but need more as numbers increase.

Dot Georgeson


Netheravon Wanderers Football Club

Tez Williams the Manager of NWFC announced that they are top of the league with just one game to play.   They have had a very successful first season and many thanks must go to Mel Curtis from Winter in Venice for the sponsorship which has helped tremendously.  Thanks also to all the volunteers who have worked very hard preparing the team and the pitch. There are plans afoot to make water available in the hut so that a youth team can start next season.


1st Responders

Debbie Corbett brought her kit to the Meeting.   She said that she is the only First Responder in Netheravon and she would like to encourage anyone who would like to become a First Responder to contact the NHS.


Working Men’s Club

Andy Linscer reported that the WMC is doing very well.   There are lots of activities which go on every week which encourages people to support the Club.   They have done some improvements to the interior of the Club to make it more comfortable for members.   The Committee are working towards events to celebrate the Centenary of the Club which will be in early summer.


6 .    Questions from Members of the Public


  1. A question was asked about the vulnerability of the lead on the church roof.   It was stated that the roof has an alarm.
  2. A member of the public said that he was pleased that the Parish Council had agreed to put a dog bin along the High Street.

The meeting closed at 9.00pm