Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held in the Phoenix Hall On Thursday, 14th March, 2024 at 6.30 p.m.

Download this document

Cllr. Ayling welcomed 31 members of the public to the meeting.

1. Netheravon Parish Council Annual Report

Cllr. Ayling began by saying that the last year has been a very busy year with changes to the Council and several new initiatives in the Village. We would like to welcome Andy Bridewell to the Council. He replaces Fred Collison who sadly passed away last year. Andy is very enthusiastic and is helping the Council with School Liaison thus bringing the School closer to the Parish Council so that we can understand their needs. He has formed a Youth Council and we have yet to discover what they think should be improved in the Village!


We were very sad to hear of the passing away of our long-standing Litter Warden. Cecil Phillimore picked up litter around the Village for about 25 years and he was always very good humoured and reliable. He worked up until almost the end which was heroic of him and much appreciated by the Council. In his memory the Parish Council gave a small donation to Salisbury Hospice. Graeme Allen now picks the litter as well as being the Village Handyman. He is a valued member of staff.


Here are a list of the various initiatives over the past year:

  • Village Clock – The Parish Council cancelled the SSE contract and with the kind permission of the resident of Clock House put a meter in the cottage which is read once a year. This has proved very cost effective. The clock has been painted by the Village Handyman and a new glass fitted.
  • BMX track – new signs erected. Plans for improvements have been put on hold as there has been vandalism in the area
  • Community Allotments – very successful with fresh vegetables supplied to the Community Larder as well as supplying volunteers
  • Community Larder – well supported – thanks to Hedge Burley for looking after it and identifying vulnerable people.
  • Music in the Park was a great success – thanks to Jubilee Committee for organising this village event.
  • Court Farm Playground – safety surfacing repaired
  • The tubs and hanging baskets made the village look colourful in the summer months. A presentation ceremony was held before a Parish Council meeting which was enjoyed by all prize winners.
  • Some Councillors and the Clerk attended meetings to find out about the Local Plan. Comments were submitted to Wiltshire Council
  • Cherry trees have been planted between Court Farm Road and Queensway. We also had a working party to plant trees in the Cemetery
  • Plans for a Beacon at the Washdown to commemorate D-Day 80 are under way with Figheldean and Fittleton cum Haxton Parish Councils
  • The old Newsletter has come to an end. Many thanks to Maggie Butler and her team for 30 years of keeping the Villages informed.
  • Plans are well advanced for a new Newsletter with a new volunteer compiler.
  • Permission has been granted by the MOD for an orchard to be planted in a vacant allotment.
  • The speed limit reduction trial is under way and seems to be successful with two SIDs already up. The Parish Council and the Speedwatch Team have bought 3 SIDs which was partially funded by the Area Board. The third SID will go up soon. Very many thanks go to the vibrant Community Speedwatch Team.
  • The Emergency Plan has been updated and the Parish Council will test it in the near future
  • The Parish Council commemorated Remembrance Day by putting up poppies along the High Street and Perspex ‘men’ on the village seats
  • A Parish Council working party put up a Christmas Tree and lights outside the Library
  • Maureen Mitchell a longstanding member of the Parish Council has resigned. She was a Parish Councillor for about 25 years and did a lot to help the village over this time. She will be missed, but has indicated that she would still like to be involved in village life. Many thanks from the Parish Council and the Village.
  • The Clerk is retiring and is being replaced by Debbie Corbett. She has been Clerk to the Council on and off for 30 years and thanks go to her for her loyal service.

2. Report by the Wiltshire Councillor, Ian Blair-Pilling

Cllr. Blair-Pilling said that he is proud to be Councillor for such a vibrant village with a good Parish Council, Jubilee Committee and Working Men’s Club.


The following are points about Wiltshire Council which are of interest:


  • Wiltshire Council is financially sound and have ended the year with a surplus
  • The budget has been approved with no cuts to services and investment in leisure services
  • There will be no asset sales
  • The OFSTED inspection on Childrens Services was outstanding
  • WC have given £5.4m from the Household Support Fund in the cost of living crisis but there is only 6 months left of support. 60% of the money went to people on benefits and 33% to food banks
  • Supporting children with special needs is unsustainable. It requires some changes, but there is a plan
  • Highways and potholes. The Government has frozen and reduced funding for Councils but Wiltshire Council will be spending £20m plus an extra £10m from the Government on Highways this year


Cllr. Blair-Pilling touched on a Highways Meeting on 27th March, mentioned road works due in the summer, the speed limit trial, parking in Piggot Close, and the Local Plan.

3. Parochial Church Council (PCC) Report by Rev’d Gale Hunt

All Saints’ Netheravon remains one of seven parishes forming the Avon River Team. The Team Rector - Philip Bromiley, Team Vicar – Gale Hunt and Team Curate – Simon Pope are our stipendiary clergy; with Susan Drewett being a non-stipendiary priest and Chrysogon Bamber is our Licensed Lay Minister. We also have three Lay Worship Leaders.


I am pleased to 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 usually open daily during daylight hours for those who might want somewhere quiet to themselves or just to visit a Garde 1 building that has been in our community for over 900 years. Unfortunately, this past year we had a spate of vandalism and so did have to keep the Church closed for a while, so apologies if you have been and found it locked at times. Services to suit all tastes are held on at least 2 Sundays every month, the first and fourth Sundays. On the third Sunday of the month, we now go and worship with Fittleton and they join with us on the first Sunday. On a fifth Sunday we have introduced a Songs of Praise service and on the second Sunday we continue to have a Team service that moves around the different churches in the Team.


We continue to support families for those important times in their lives for Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals. The school also hold four services in the church during the year and it is great to welcome them at other times too when classes come into church to discover more about the building and the Christian faith. Remembrance Sunday continues to be an important service in the life of the church and village, as does the village Carol Service. 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.


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 this year and we are awaiting his report as to what essential work is required.


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, and the musicians who support services. This year both Richard Aubrey-Fletcher and Adam Corkery stepped down as Churchwardens and unfortunately no-one was willing to take on this role. Therefore, it has been necessary for the Parochial Church Council to split up the various tasks done by the churchwarden between them.


The PCC are very grateful for the support of the Council in taking on the maintenance of the churchyard; for the support of RGV in maintain and advising on the electrical arrangements in the church. Thank you to all who support the annual Fete, which is crucial in helping the PCC keep the church open and available to everyone in the village. But finances are a constant challenge and we do not get money from anywhere but from those who give on a regular basis and fundraising.


Future significant activity is planned for this year including:


  • The Annual Parochial Church Meeting on Sunday April 28th following the 11am Morning Worship service. This meeting is open to all.
  • The Fete on Saturday 7th September, always an enjoyable village affair, which we do hope you will support.
  • Team Service at 10.30am on Sunday September 29th to say good-bye to our Team Vicar, Gale Hunt, as she retires.

4. 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.


Phillippa Lackford has been the organizer for almost two years and is a great asset to the Day Centre (and especially to me). . The organiser co-ordinates the day to day activity on Wednesdays and manages the rota for volunteers. 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. Please even if you can help out occasionally let us know.


There are currently 15 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 on a horse drawn canal boat at Kintbury for an outing in September, which was very scenic and peaceful. We then had lunch in the Near Hotel in Hungerford. I would like to say at this point a special thank you to Gill Murphy who very kindly paid for the Canal Boat trip, so we only had to fund the minibus and lunch. It was extremely generous of her. 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.


We are very grateful to Netheravon Parish Council for their donation to the Day Centre. We no longer receive a grant from Wiltshire Councilo our grants from Parish Councils and others are very much appreciated.


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.

5. Report by Richard Marsh, Governor, Netheravon All Saints School

  • Currently 140 children in 6 classes: each class with a full-time teaching assistant
  • We have 2 mixed age classes – not popular with parents or staff, but driven by current numbers
  • Falling birthrate, army movements, and lack of affordable housing puts pressure on numbers – we have children from Amesbury, Tidworth, Larkhill, Bulford and Upavon
  • School now fully integrated within Acorn Education Trust
    New Headteacher, Mrs. Lucy Jones, appointed in Sept 2023, taking over from Gillian Durrans
  • 2 recent very successful inspections rated good by both:
    OFSTED (Spring 2023)
    SIAMS (Autumn 2023) – statutory inspection of Church of England Schools
  • In the most recent surveys of pupils and parents, very high level of engagement was reported, with children enjoying school and feeling safe and supported
  • Currently have 4 children from Afghanistan, who have been housed at Airfield Camp, as their parents progress refugee status.

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

We are currently coming to the end of the financial year which seems to have been a successful one, with bookings up on last year and cost kept under control.


During the course of the year we have decorated the main part of the building, with only the committee room to do the only cost was the materials.


We have accrued new chairs for the patio area at no cost to the hall.
The number of regular users of the hall continue to increase with an extra exercise class, and a new band practice. The Fijian friends continue to support us with their functions.


I would also like to thank the hall committee and all the business’s that provided prizes for our raffle, for all the hard work which went into the recent race night which raised a great £945.00


The bookings for next year seem to be holding steady, and we hope to try and sort the car park and outside of the building out.


The committee would welcome any new members to assist in running this much valued village asset.

7. Newsletter report by Maggie Butler

Maggie reported that owing to the printer not being available the Netheravon Newsletter had to close for the last time with the December edition. She has back editions from the very start and has brought a few for people to browse after the meeting has finished. The Newsletter has finished in a healthy financial position.


Cllr. Ayling thanked Maggie very much for all her hard work over the years. The Newsletter is missed very much and it is hoped that a new version will be up and running in the next few months.

8. Community Speedwatch (CSW) – Team Leader Mike Ashfield

At the APM last year I, along with my Community Speed Watch (CSW) colleagues volunteered to support the villages attempt to get the speed limit along the A345 reduced and made permanent. This was after listening to the prestation by a representative from the Wiltshire PCC.


It has been a while now, but the final piece is now in place, we have just had authorisation for the Netheravon CSW team from the CSW police support team in Trowbridge. This means we can conduct our own speed checks and submit the details of vehicles speeding along the A345 to the Police for them to deal with.


As part of the plan to reduce the traffic speed we have also installed two speed indicator device or as we call them, SIDs. One is at the south end of the village by the pub and the entrance to the High Street, this picks up traffic coming from the South. We have also installed a second SID in front of the police houses near the entrance to Court Farm Road. At the moment this is facing north but we plan to spin this one around to pick up traffic from the south on occasions. We also have third SID which will be installed at the north of the village on the west side of the road picking up traffic coming in from the north. At the moment there is no suitable road furniture for the SID to be attached to so Wiltshire council have agree to install a new post for us. I need to thank Councillor Wright for arranging this and the Parish council for agreeing to fund it.


The SIDs do not just sit there they continually record individual vehicle number and their speeds. The sites where the SIDs are installed have been registered with the Police, this means the data can be downloaded and forwarded to the CSW Police team in Trowbridge for them to analyse. This is not only for their own use, but they will provide us with feed back of when the best time is for us to conduct our checks based on peak time for speeding vehicles.


The police will also conduct average speed checks throughout the course of the 12 months period to establish if the average speed has been reduced. The second set of checks were undertaken in February.


Anecdotally the general speed of traffic does appear to have slowed so we are having an effect.


I would just like to thank the Netheravon CSW team volunteer for their continued patience and support. We are now ready to go we will be getting together to refresh our training and get out to start testing.


Also like to thank Councillor Graham Wright who supported us with the installation of the SIDs and for his robust support for the authorisation of the speed watch team.

9. Report by Mary Towle on Cheerful Cuppa

Cheerful Cuppa is going from strength to strength. We usually have in excess of 40 people who come on a Tuesday morning whatever the weather and that is not including about 8 dogs!


I would like to thank all the people who have helped over the last 2 or 3 months whilst Sarah, our stalwart cake maker and organiser has not been able to come due to ongoing treatment. We all wish her all the luck in the world and hope that she fully recovers soon.


We have given donations to Prostate Cancer UK, Breast Cancer Now, Cruse Bereavement Support, Mothers Union holidays, Air Ambulance, Stars Appeal, Royal British Legion, the Community Larder, Cardiac Risk in the Young, Supporting Troops with PTSD, and finally we are having a raffle in aid of Salisbury Hospice on the Tuesday after Easter. Everyone


We have marked special occasions such as Christmas with Christmas food, Pancake day with Pancakes and we will be having Hot Cross Buns next Tuesday.


We have had visits from the Police who went away with a goody bag full of cake to take back to the station. Also we had the Health and Wellbeing Committee of the Area Board and the Chairman who is also the Mayor of Amesbury was very impressed with the friendliness of Netheravon people.


I would like to thank especially, Pam, Debbie, Graeme, Alan, Sue and Tanya for their help and support. Also everyone who turns up with freshly made cakes, sausage rolls and cheese straws.

10. Netheravon Art Group – report by Alan Wood

Alan Wood reported that after some research amongst residents from the three villages he realised that quite a few people would be interested in forming an Art Group. He managed to obtain grants from the Area Board and the Parish Councils to start up a Group in the Phoenix Hall. Alan found a tutor and so was able to start the Group in the small room. It has been very successful with various degrees of skill, but it has been tremendous fun.


He asked that people have a look at the examples of their work when the meeting is finished.

11. D-Day80 commemorations

Cllr. Ayling reported that plans are underway to have a beacon at the Washdown with Shrewton Silver Band, refreshment van and a bar. This will be on Thursday evening 6th June 2024. The Beacon will be lit at 9.15pm

12. Questions from members of the public

  1. Cllr. Coslett, Chairman of the Parish Council Planning Committee informed the public that plans for the recent planning application, which is under appeal, for 2 four bed houses on land at corner of Piggot Close, are at the back of the Hall and he will be available after the meeting to explain them.
  2. A member of the public asked whether a portrait of King Charles 111 will be put on the wall of the Phoenix Hall. Cllr. Blair-Pilling agreed to find out whether the official portraits are available.
  3. A member of the public asked whether potholes are still filled by the Parish Steward. The answer is yes they are, but major repairs are carried out by the Highways team.


A display of historic photos of Netheravon were available to view after the meeting together with old editions of the Newsletter and work by the Art Group.