05 April 2022 – Minutes
THAME TOWN COUNCIL
Minutes of a Meeting of the Community, Leisure & Recreation Committee held on 5 April 2022 at 7:44pm in the Upper Chamber, Thame Town Hall.
Cllrs N Champken-Woods (Deputy Mayor), P Cowell (Town Mayor), M Deacock, A Dite (Chairman), M Dyer, C Jones, and T Wyse
M Sturdy, Town Clerk
C Pinnells, Community Services Manager
A Oughton, Asset Manager
L Fuller, Committee Services Officer
1 Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs Emery (personal), Gregory (personal) and Richards (personal).
2 Declarations of Interest and Dispensations
Cllr Wyse declared an interest in Item 9 as an allotment holder at Stones Close Allotments.
3 Public Participation and Public Questions
There were no applications to address the Committee.
There were no questions put to the Committee.
The minutes of the committee meeting held on 8 February 2022 were confirmed as a correct record, and were signed by the Chairman.
5 Budget Summary
Members received the Budget Summary up to 28 February 2022.
The expenditure was within budget, and income was slightly over in the penultimate month of the financial year. Thanks were given to Officers for managing this.
6 Reports from Representatives on External Organisations
The reports were noted.
Friends of Elms Park:-
Cllr Champken-Woods reported it had been agreed with Thame Concert Band to hold another concert in Elms Park, with the date to be confirmed.
It was noted that unfortunately Thame Concert Band were unable to play at Elms Park on the Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend.
Thame Town Cricket Club:-
The outfield had been reseeded and was looking very good.
7 Open Spaces Working Group
The Asset Manager advised that the OSWG would next meet on 3 May 2022.
Following the planting at Rycote Meadow in November, the focus now was on the footpath to connect to Oxford Road which the Cuttle Brook Volunteers and Thame Green Living were working on. This would be quite a big project involving a planning application for the pedestrian access. The small grove at Queens Elizabeth Circle will be planted in the autumn. Several requests had been received from residents and Thame Trees seeking to replace trees that had fallen in recent storms, which would need to be reviewed by the OSWG and be subject to a small consultation with neighbours. Whilst these weren’t memorial trees, it was noted that Officers were working on a Memorial Policy to present to the Policy & Resources Committee in July. The felling of ash trees in Cuttle Brook Nature Reserve has been postponed to August. Some of the trees that had fallen during Storm Eunice could have been dangerous and therefore the Asset Manager has arranged for a condition survey of all trees along footpaths.
8 Cut and Collect Mower
The receipt of £4,748 from S106 biodiversity funds towards the lease of the Iseki mower was noted. The mower cost £14,000 to lease which is paid in monthly instalments, so the S106 contribution only covered some of the costs. The District Council’s S106 Officer was supportive in making this claim. It was possible to make another claim, but this would be dependent on the amount of greening areas.
9 Stones Close Allotments
The Annual Inspection Report was noted.
The Stones Close Allotments Society were doing a great job at managing and maintaining the allotments. Several repairs and replacement of items had been required due to break-ins and damage. Members were asked to review the annual ground rent for the allotments, and Officers were recommending this be kept at £300 to support this community activity which incurred no cost to the Town Council
The rent had been kept at £300 since at least 2014 and the charge to allotment holders had not changed in this time. Members were interested to see their accounts before the next rent review.
It was suggested that if there were empty plots, these could be offered to Ukrainians moving to Thame. The Community Services Manager advised she would pass this on to the Chairman of the Allotments Society.
- The rent remains at £300 for the financial year 2022-23.
10 Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
The report was noted. The Community Services Manager advised that Officers were producing a booklet showcasing the many activities and events taking place in Thame over the Jubilee bank holidays and weekend. This would be delivered to residents and a webpage has also been created which will be added to.
Thame would be taking part in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Beacon Trail for children to find and collect characters around the town centre. Operational planning for the Beacon Lighting event on 2 June will begin next week. The event will be held outside the Town Hall, starting at 8:30pm with the beacon lit at 9:45pm in line with national guidance. Sports in the Street will be taking place on 3 June and it is anticipated that the Town Council will be asked to support with road closure equipment. The event will be eligible for a free road closure from the District Council. On Sunday 5 June the Town Councill will be encouraging residents to hold street parties and an application form was now available on the website for people to apply to hold an event on Town Council land.
The Town Hall would be decorated with bunting, the Platinum Jubilee flag flown at the Memorial Gardens, and in late June the jubilee bedding would be planted at the Memorial Gardens.
Some suggestions were made for the Town Council’s float for the Carnival. It was agreed that the Community Services Manager would co-ordinate this via e-mail and require support from Members.
The report was noted. The Town Council met with The Showmen’s Guild on 22 March 2022. Last year’s events were discussed, and the Town Council highlighted that there had been delayed paperwork, a ride larger than its plot, concerns about health and safety, and communication over a late substitution. Overall, the two fairs had gone well. The agreement was also discussed, and the Town Council has since made three fee proposals. The Showmen’s Guild are seeking to make a counter proposal, with the fair being managed in a similar way to St Giles in Oxford, which will be presented at an additional Full Council meeting so the Council can consider their proposal, the risks, and concerns. The Community Services Manager advised that she was speaking to other councils and authorities for comparison and advice.
A question was raised as to whether The Showmen’s Guild were asked about their environmental impact as discussed at the previous committee meeting? The Guild were asked and advised that in Oxford, air quality monitoring showed that pollution decreased during the fair due to no vehicles driving in the area whilst the fair was open.
12 Freedom Parade
The Freedom Parade will be taking place on Sunday 15 May 2022. Officers were working through the operational requirements of the event with RAF Halton and SIA Security. Ceremonial robes would once again be borrowed from Aylesbury Town Council. Following the parade, a light buffet would be served at the Rugby Club for Members and guests. A poster had been created and publicity for the event would start shortly.
13 Cricket Club Clubhouse Redevelopment
The Town Clerk advised that in order to sign off the cricket pavilion, a decision was needed on where the final payment of circa £83,000 should be paid from. This outstanding balance was unclaimed from an allocation of £88,000 and had not been claimed due to various changes in personnel at the Town Council and South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) since the pavilion was completed in 2019. It will be difficult, but not impossible, to retrospectively claim the money through S106 and this was an option outlined in the report (Option B). Another option was to do nothing and accept the outstanding balance as a contribution from the Town Council’s general reserves (Option C).
The Town Clerk was recommending that the Town Council uses its Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) fund, totalling £62,000 which is time limited, and the remainder funded from capital receipt funds (Option A). The £88,000 S106 allocation would not be lost as it could be used towards the Community Youth Centre.
Members felt that Option A – to use CIL – was the preferred option as the Town Council could not afford to lose the money.
RECOMMENDED to Full Council that:
- Option A (as outlined in the report) is taken to clear the outstanding balance for the construction of the pavilion.
The report was noted. It was also noted that the current nursery operators were looking to relocate premises as their membership had increased and they had terminated the agreement. The rent had been collected, and they would be offsite by the end of June. Another nursery is interested and Members were asked to agree that Officers arrange for a new licence to have the same terms as the current nursery operator. The current operator would be asked to reinstate the land as per the licence agreement.
- A new licence under the same terms is arranged by the Town Clerk / Community Services Manager with a new Nursery School Operator.
15 Thame Town Awards
The report and updated Terms of Reference were noted.
The Committee Services Officer reported that the Town Awards panel had met last week. They had discussed and updated the Terms of Reference, mainly to reflect the current arrangements. There was a suggestion to invite more people to the awards ceremony as it had felt a bit empty last year, partly due to the one-off larger venue, and this should be feasible subject to sponsorship which was currently being sought. The six categories would remain with a minor change to reword Employer of the Year to Company of the Year. Nominations open on 21 April 2022 with the awards ceremony on 14 July 2022.
16 Thame Football Partnership / Artificial Pitch
It was noted that following a final site inspection, the project has been confirmed as complete and the final accounts received however there had been some unexpected changes on the finances. The project had come in under budget however another grant application had to be made to the Football Foundation. There were a few snagging issues with the pitch however these were all under guarantee and being handled by McCardle. The Town Council was awaiting the imminent transfer of the S106 monies from the District Council, around £300,000, however this had been delayed due to issues with the legal department. Overall, it had been a positive project to work on and the Football Partnership was thriving as a result of the new pitch.
It was clarified that the Town Council had forward funded the whole project totalling £694,000, however all of this would be, or had been, claimed back other than £10,000 which the Town Council contributed to the project.
17 Maintenance Report
The report was noted.
A question was raised as to whether the town entrance sign on Chinnor Road would be replaced as it had been missing for almost a year? The Community Services Manager advised that as this was a bespoke sign it was unlikely that Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) would fund its replacement so the Town Council would need to. Cllr Champken-Woods agreed to speak to OCC to see what could be done.
The meeting concluded at 8:39pm
Chairman, 12 July 2022