08 February 2022 – Minutes


Minutes of a Meeting of the Community, Leisure & Recreation Committee held on 8 February 2022 at 6.30pm in the Upper Chamber, Thame Town Hall.


Cllrs N Champken-Woods (Deputy Mayor), P Cowell (Town Mayor), A Dite (Chairman), M Dyer, K Gregory, C Jones, H Richards, and T Wyse


M Sturdy, Town Clerk
A Oughton, Asset Manager
L Fuller, Committee Services Officer


1 Apologies for Absence

Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs Deacock (personal), Emery (personal), and Tipping (business).

2 Declarations of Interest and Dispensations

There were no declarations of interest or dispensations.

3 Public Participation and Public Questions

There were no applications to address the Committee.
There were no questions put to the Committee.

4 Petanque Court Proposal

Mrs Hazel Boundy, on behalf of Thame & District U3A, had prepared and circulated a proposal for a Petanque Court at Elms Park. Boules is a social sport that anyone can play, and a court can be installed at a relatively low cost. Installation costs were expected to be around £5,000 based on the courts at Wallingford and Cuddington. Playing boules encouraged people to get outside and be active, which is an aim of the Thame & District U3A.

The proposal suggested a court that could accommodate three games. A question was raised as to whether a smaller court for 2 games could be constructed and extended at a later date? Mrs Boundy advised that it would be difficult to extend the court so it would be better to build to the maximum that the area could accommodate.

For storage of the equipment, the proposal suggested a metal shed with a combination lock. Concern was raised about potential damage to the shed, as had happened at Thame Skatepark, and to people’s property as a result of the equipment being misused. A solution could be to have an online booking system with the combination lock code changed regularly, alternatively players could be asked to bring their own equipment. As the court would be a public facility, it was important that the equipment storage arrangements were sorted before any public money was spent.

A question was raised as to whether the existing MUGA could be used? The MUGA was well-used at peak times and its surface would not be suitable. Furthermore, the future of the MUGA was dependent on the agreements associated with the planning permission at The Elms.

A question was raised as to whether there were any local boules leagues? Mrs Boundy advised that Wallingford is the only club in Oxfordshire and they are keen for local competitions.

Overall, whilst there was a suggestion that the court would be better aligned with a sport club in Thame, Members supported the proposal for the Petanque Court at Elms Park but felt that a shed should not be installed due to concerns over vandalism. The Chairman advised that the Petanque Court had been suggested as an idea through the recent Elms Park consultation and would be taken forward as part of Elms Park refurbishment plans.

The Chairman thanked Mrs Boundy for presenting the proposal to the committee.

5 Thame Town Music Festival

Mr. Johnnie Littler, festival director for Thame Town Music Festival, was requesting £5,000 from the Town Council to support the fourth Music Festival this year on Saturday 9 July 2022 from midday until 11pm. There will also be the return of the popular concert in St Mary’s Church on 8 July 2022, which will be sponsored. The aims of the festival remain the same – to enhance Thame’s cultural life, vibrancy, and high street economy and to support original music. The festival remains a Community Interest Company run by three full-time volunteers and over a hundred volunteers on the day.

The event has had to be cancelled for the last 2 years due to Covid-19 and the event plans have been rolled over. This year’s event will have 10-12 stages within the town centre including a BBC Introducing stage near the Town Hall and a variety of genres in various venues. It was hoped that BBC Radio Oxford would broadcast the festival and Red Kite Radio would come along to support the event.

The cost of the festival was expected to be £58,700 which would be raised mainly through sponsorship, as well as grants, fees from stall holders and venues, merchandise sales, and the festival bar. Overall Mr. Littler was proud to offer this important event for Thame and hoped that the Council would continue to support it.

Members advised Mr. Littler to take out insurance in the event of the Queen’s passing as the event would need to be cancelled if it fell during the ten-day mourning period. Mr. Littler advised this was a good point and that unfortunately the festival had lost money in 2020 as it was not covered by event cancellation insurance, however contracts were subsequently renegotiated.

A question was raised as to whether the street food traders would be local to Thame? Mr. Littler advised that anyone was eligible to apply and therefore there would be traders who were not local to Thame. Concern was raised about the impact on local businesses however it was noted that many businesses in the Town Centre reported their best trading day of the year on the event day and on balance the event was a positive for the town.

It was felt that the event was lacking in activities for children. Mr. Littler advised that the festival is principally about music, but if there were musical-based activities for children that could be held safely in line with insurance then they would be supported. The challenge was finding people to organise the activities.

Overall Members wished to continue supporting Thame Town Music Festival, however it was recognised that the Town Council’s budget was already tight particularly following the inflation announcement. It was agreed that Officers would need to confirm whether the Town Council was in a position to provide the £5,000 funding as requested, and if so this would be agreed by Full Council.

RECOMMENDED to Full Council that:

  1. Thame Town Music Festival be supported with £5,000 subject to confirmation from Officers that the Town Council is in a financial position to do so.

6 Minutes

The Minutes of the Committee Meeting held on 26 October 2021 were confirmed as a correct record, and were signed by the Chairman.

7 Budget Summary

Members received the Budget Summary up to 31 December 2021.

A question was raised with regards to the £204 income on the Memorial Gardens budget line? The Asset Manager advised this was a donation from the Youth Memorial Trust for a new plaque and was cancelled out as the figure was counted under expenditure too.

A question was raised as to what was covered by Outside Services? The Asset Manager explained this was a large budget which covered the Maintenance Team’s line of work including the maintenance of the depot and machinery. Expenditure at 74% was as expected for this time of year.

8 Reports from Representatives on External Organisations

The reports were noted.

Thame Museum Trust:-

The Asset Manager advised that the roof repairs were due to be completed next week. The Museum was also awaiting the report from a thermal imaging survey that had taken place recently.

9 Open Spaces Working Group

The minutes of the Open Spaces Working Group (OSWG) and summary findings of the Elms Park consultation were noted. There had been a good level of feedback to the consultation. The refurbishment of Elms Park was the current focus for the OSWG. It was noted that the District’s S106 Officer and the Case Officer for The Elms planning application would be meeting with Town Council Officers to establish the funding arrangements for Elms Park refurbishment.

With regards to the planting of the Queens Green Canopy for the jubilee at Queen Elizabeth Circle, the consultation with residents was largely positive. There was support for the tree planting, but it was requested that the hedges were removed and instead planted along the rear of the garages to prevent graffiti and anti-social behaviour. It was noted that Thame Green Living volunteers would be planting in the autumn now.

10 Christmas in Thame

The report was noted. The Christmas events had gone well considering the circumstances.


  1. The Christmas Lights Switch On event this year be held on Friday 2 December 2022.

11 Street Food Markets

The report was noted. Members were asked to consider a request from the organisers of the Christmas Street Food Market (Ay StreetMeat) to hold monthly street food markets in Thame. The market would require a road closure around the Town Hall, similar to the one for the French Market, and would not impact on the car park.

It was suggested that the market could be extended down the Buttermarket to offer a greater variety of stalls. The Town Clerk advised that the intention was to expand it if the trial is successful and the proposal would include space for seating. It was noted that the three-month trial would begin with the Taste of Thame event in May when the weather would be better in the evenings, and that there would be six stalls.

Concern was raised about the cost of any road closures. Members agreed that it needed to be established that the market would be cost neutral to the council.


  1. Holding a three-month trial of Street Food Markets be approved in principle, subject to Officers establishing that it would be cost neutral.

12 Thame Carnival

Members were asked to suggest ideas for the Town Council’s float as part of Thame Carnival on Saturday 4 June 2022, which will have the theme of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Officers had started to think of ideas for the float, although suggestions from Members were welcome. The Community Services Manager would be coordinating the float and Members would be contacted in due course to get involved.

13 Skate Park Event

The Town Council had been approached by an event organizer seeking to hold an event at the Skate Park, subject to funding, and was seeking authorisation from the Town Council to use the Skate Park in principle. The Asset Manager advised that this would be similar to the Skate Jam event with minimal Officer involvement required.

It was felt that further information on the event was required, particularly with regards to parking arrangements, before the Town Council could authorise use of the Skate Park. It was agreed that Officers would go back to the event organiser and report back to the committee in due course.

14 Thame Fairs

It was noted that the Thame Fairs Working Group will be meeting with the Showmen’s Guild in March to commence negotiations on the Fair Agreement. Last year’s agreement was a 1-year agreement based on the rates set in 2019.

It was suggested that the Showmen’s Guild should be asked to consider reducing their carbon footprint particularly in light of climate emergencies being declared at the district and county councils and at national level. Cllr Champken-Woods advised that this was asked last year, however there were issues around transport and electricity generation, which was a wider question for manufacturers of the generators. It was noted that it was not logistically possible or viable for town centre businesses or high street infrastructure to provide the electricity.

Overall, it was felt that the Town Council should be asking the Showmen’s Guild how they will be offsetting their emissions. It was suggested that discussions should be had with Oxford City Councillors, who manage the St Giles Fair, to understand their approach and work with them. The issue of reducing emissions was a national problem, but ultimately the Showmen’s Guild needed to find their own solution to this. It was noted that this was a disappointing message to give to the residents of Thame, but the Fair is an important part of Thame’s history and its cancellation in 2017 was not well received.

15 Maintenance Report

The report was noted. The Chairman thanked the Maintenance Team for their outstanding level of service and the committee were very grateful for their work.

A question was raised as to whether the play area inspections are done in house? The Asset Manager advised that these are done externally by RoSPA, although the Maintenance Team do undertake basic checks. The Asset Manager was looking for some of the Maintenance Team to undertake training on the operational play area inspections. It was important that the team’s training and qualifications were kept up to date in order to meet insurance requirements.



The meeting concluded at 7:47pm



Signed ………………………………

Chairman, 5 April 2022