12 April 2011 – Minutes
Minutes of the Annual Town Meeting of Thame Town Council held on 12 April 2011 at 7.30pm in the Upper Chamber, Thame Town Hall
Present 40 Residents and Councillors
There was an apology for absence from Cllr C Baker.
The Minutes of the Meeting held on Tuesday 13 April 2010 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Mayor.
3 Town Mayor’s Report for 2009-2010
After welcoming everyone Cllr Buckland showed a short DVD produced by Thame TV. It encompassed most of his Mayoral year and had been prepared for his Charity Ball on the 2nd April. The event had raised in excess of £6,600 for his two charities (Thame Wombles and Thomley Hall Activity Centre) to share.
Cllr Buckland highlighted some of the responsibilities of the Town Council and acknowledged that although it is a small council with a small budget it has big ideas! This year had seen some exciting initiatives come to fruition and the Council had been at the heart of many of them. Partnership working had resulted in a brand new football complex at Meadow View Park, a new state-of-the-art Library (thanks in no small part to the Friends of Thame Library and Cllr Beatrice Dobie) and the Street Pastors initiative had been launched in the town.
His time as Mayor also contained the second year of Civic Awards, with a Lifetime Achievement (posthumous) award for Ken Jones. Both Ken, and Honorary Citizen Len Webb (who passed away last month at the age of 89) epitomized the words community spirit and civic pride and they would be sorely missed.
The first Tidy Thame Day took place in March and more than 200 residents rid the town of litter, trimmed hedges, cleared pathways, cleaned bus stops and repaired benches.
Finally, Cllr Buckland listed some of the Council’s aspirations for the next municipal year, including a new play area and fitness trail at Queen Elizabeth Circle in Lea Park; refurbishment and upgrade of the very successful Skate Park; a new event – Music in the Park – at Elms Park, and the continuing challenges of the District Council’s Core Strategy and the development of the Cattle Market site.
4 GO Active in Thame
Hendriette Thorn, the GO Active Coordinator in South Oxfordshire, made a case for the GO Active (Get Oxfordshire Active) project. Ms Thorn explained that according to the last Active People Survey (Oct 2009 – Oct 2010), only 19.4% of adults 16+ in South Oxfordshire achieved 3 x 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a week. Another study showed that the percentage of obese adults had roughly doubled since the mid-1980’s.
In Thame, GO Active had worked with the Running Buddies group to train jogging leaders; a netball programme had begun, motivating women who had last played at school; a two left feet dance programme, buggy fit sessions, and the introduction of Nordic walking.
5 25 years of Chinnor Rugby in Thame
Carol Bradbrook-Taylor, Honorary Secretary, said that their club has been in Thame for 25 years, having been established in Chinnor 25 years earlier still. They would celebrate their 50th anniversary in 2013. The club is member-owned and run by volunteers and with 1,300 members they believe they are the biggest amateur sports club in Oxfordshire. Their clubhouse is available for hire and the club is there for everyone in the community to use. Their 1st team was in the National League – the youngest club to achieve this.
Jamie Hazeldine (Coach, Grants & Funding), added that the age range of players went from 5 to 60+, with half their membership being player-based. They regularly held holiday training camps and had links with the London Wasps. Ultimately, their aim was to become a real part of the community and get that recognised identity, so that the words ‘let’s use the Rugby Club’ would become the norm. They wanted more organisations to use their clubhouse facilities, and to strengthen their links with the town in general.
Cllr Ann Midwinter asked whether they had thought of changing their name to Thame Rugby Club? Jamie responded by saying that this was a decision that had to be made by the members. Resident Andy Gunn said he had looked at their website and thought they should keep their identity. Mrs Bradbrook-Taylor confirmed that the issue had caused huge debate at the club and had increased their bar takings!
6 Thame Hockey – our success so far
Jaypee Wentzel, Chairman of Thame Hockey Club, had founded the club with a friend in 2006. As they progressed and grew they were very lucky to receive money from the Lottery and from the District and Town Councils, helping them to keep the membership cost low. Mr Wentzel was pleased to add that at their very first game as a club in a league match, they beat Henley 25-0. This announcement met with applause.
By 2010/2011 their junior section had 53 members; they had four qualified umpires, four level-1 qualified coaches, and one level-2 coach. Their biggest challenge was funding, with their biggest expense being pitch fees.
Cllr Davies congratulated Mr Wentzel on getting regular hockey reports into the Thame Gazette. When asked his secret, Mr Wentzel said “One of the reporters plays for us.” Cllr Midwinter asked if their long term ambition was to have their own pitch. Mr Wentzel acknowledged that this was a long term ambition but that in the meantime they were very lucky to have as their home ground the astro turf at Lord Williams’s, situated at Thame Leisure Centre. At this point, sustaining the club was their priority.
7 Open Forum – Questions from Electors
Cllr Buckland answered a question from Mrs M Stiles about travel token entitlement. He explained that these were administered by the District Council but that application forms were kept in the Information Centre here at the Town Hall.
Resident Mrs A Willson said that it had been good to hear such positive comment about the activities in the town but she made an appeal that Lea Park should not be forgotten. There were areas that were in bad states of repair and there had been very bad conveyancing 30 years ago when the houses were built. Could the Council help them to get a solicitor involved? Very hard-working families lived on Lea Park and help was desperately needed.
Cllr Buckland confirmed that the Council was working in partnership with local resident associations and that Councillors would do their utmost to help.
Cllr Dobie addressed a comment to County Cllr Carter regarding the amount of cars parking half on the pavement and half on the road, for example at Southern Road, where there are double lines. Cllr Carter pointed out that this was a police matter. However, if the yellow lines were no longer visible, he would report that to County.
Mr D Chamberlain, Chairman of the Stones Close Allotments Society, thanked Cllr Buckland for mentioning Ken Jones, who would have been proud to see the allotments today. Mr Chamberlain also thanked the Town Council for its investment in the allotments, which now numbered 159 plots, with a rocketing membership and 279 people involved. It was a good news story that prompted applause.
In response to a resident’s query about the Cattle Market site and the possibility of a Sainsbury’s store there, Cllr Buckland acknowledged that all the Council could do at this stage was listen to the proposals. However, the Council remained in agreement with the criteria set down in the District Council’s Local Plan.
Resident Mr R Cooper asked whether the Town Council would continue its support of the 530 homes on site F? Cllr Buckland said that it had been a very tight vote and that the Council was still contesting the number of homes proposed for Thame within the Core Strategy.
Resident Mrs Willson spoke of the Memec site, where she said there is a safety issue, with young people getting on to the site. The Council would report this to the owners of the land.
The meeting concluded at 8.45pm
Chairman, Annual Town Meeting 2012