12 July 2022 – Minutes


Minutes of a Meeting of the Community, Leisure & Recreation Committee held on 12 July 2022 at 6.30pm in the Upper Chamber, Thame Town Hall.


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


Cllr Fickling


A Oughton, Asset Manager
L Fuller, Committee Services Officer


Before the meeting started, the Chairman announced that former County Councillor for Thame & Chinnor, David Wilmshurst had passed away last week following a long illness. The Town Council sends its condolences.

1 Apologies for Absence

Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs Deacock (business) and Gregory (personal).

The Town Clerk and Community Services Manager also gave their apologies.


2 Declarations of Interest and Dispensations

Cllr Emery declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 8 as a volunteer with Thame Youth Projects. Cllr Champken-Woods declared an interest in Item 18 as Treasurer of Friends of Elms Park, however this item was just to note.


3 Public Participation and Public Questions

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


4 Minutes

The Minutes of the Committee Meetings held on 5 April 2022 and 10 May 2022 were confirmed as a correct record, and were signed by the Chairman.


5 Budget Summary

Cllr Richards entered the meeting during this item.

Members received the Budget Summary up to 30 April 2022.

The Asset Manager advised that the 62% expenditure at the Memorial Gardens related to the summer planting, but this would even out throughout the year, and £2k from the last financial year had been transferred to Ear Marked Reserves towards the War Memorial refurbishment.

A question was raised as to what the £1 expenditure at Pickenfield related to? The Asset Manager advised this was likely to be the play inspections which are proportioned across 12 months.

{Post meeting note: Expenditure line 214 – Pickenfield is a recharge against Income line 214 – Pickenfield which relates to expected interest on Pickenfield Ear Marked Reserve}


6 Reports from Representatives on External Organisations

The reports were noted.

Thame Town Cricket Club:-

Cllr Champken-Woods had attended the Oxfordshire v Herefordshire County Cricket match hosted at Thame Town Cricket Club on 10-12 July and was pleased to report that Oxfordshire won by 9 wickets.


7 Thame Football Partnership Artificial Pitch Working Group

It was agreed that this item be deferred, as the report on the final project figures was not available.


8 Community Youth Centre Working Group

The report was noted. The Asset Manager advised that the Community Youth Centre Working Group (CYCWG) were meeting regularly, including with the architect and more recently included the design consultants. Consultations are ongoing with a range of organisations and age groups and progressing well. The design was also progressing, with some sketches circulated. The CYCWG would now be reporting an update to every meeting of this committee.

It was confirmed that the scout building shown on the sketch drawings was the existing scout building.

There is a vacancy on the working group following a Councillor resignation earlier in the year. Cllr Emery volunteered to fill the vacancy.


9 Open Spaces Working Group

The reports from the latest Open Spaces Working Group (OSWG) meetings were noted. There was not much to report. The Town Council was still awaiting an update from South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) with regards to the S106 Agreement and planning requirements relating to the MUGA at Elms Park. It was noted that Officers had chased for a response and SODC had apologised for the delay due to workloads.

With regards to the Cuttle Brook Tree Survey, this had been carried out by John Morris and highlighted trees on the paths in Cuttle Brook that required action or monitoring. The Maintenance Team would be able to undertake some of the work, but an external contractor would be required too. A lot of the work would be undertaken in autumn, but all would be within budget.

The Asset Manager had been approached by a volunteer from Thame Trees to replace the tree lost on the green open space at Hamilton Road during a storm last December. The volunteers have consulted the neighbours and following that, created a proposal which is now presented to this committee for consideration. The Asset Manager confirmed that the proposals would not be an issue for grass cutting. Members felt it was a good proposal and the area needed planting to provide a visual break.


  1. The planting proposal for the open green space at Hamilton Road be approved.


10 Dog Waste Bin Emptying Contract

Cllr Fickling left the meeting during this item.

The report was noted. The Asset Manager advised that following several years of price increases, as reported to this committee, SODC were now charging £8.70 to empty each dog waste bin. The Asset Manager had been approached by a local contractor, who provided a quotation to empty the Town Council-owned bins, as they also provide this service for other councils. Their quotation would provide a saving of 70% per annum, and it was suggested that part of the saving could be used to replace the temporary dog waste bin on the Phoenix Trail by Moreton Lane which is currently emptied weekly by Thame Wombles volunteers. A second company had been contacted for a comparison quote but were charging £11 per bin.

Members were concerned that the quotation may be too good to be true, particularly given rising fuel costs. However, it was noted that other town and parish councils across Oxfordshire who use this contractor were pleased with the service. An additional benefit is that the contractor will provide a report on dog waste bin emptying; data which the Town Council does not have currently. It was noted that termination of the contract with SODC was irreversible, which was a risk.

Overall Members felt that whilst there was a risk that prices may increase at the end of the two-year contract, there would still be a saving.


  1. The existing contract for emptying dog waste bins with SODC is terminated.
  2. It be approved to enter into a new 24-month contract with a locally based supplier as detailed in the report.
  3. An additional dog waste bin on the Phoenix Trail at the junction of Moreton Lane be approved.


11 Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

The report was noted. The events over the Jubilee Weekend had gone well and many compliments had been received. There had been a couple of comments from the public that there should be more bunting in the town, and it was suggested that the Town Council could purchase more for future royal events. However, concern was raised regarding the financial and environmental impact of this. The next royal town event would likely be the coronation, which will have its own budget and the discussion regarding additional bunting could be had then.


12 Freedom Parade

The report was noted. The Freedom Parade had been an excellent day, with many compliments received from both participants and the spectators who lined the High Street to watch the parade. The Chairman noted it was lovely to have Squadron Leader Garry Garretts who, aged 100, thoroughly enjoyed watching the parade.


13 Christmas in Thame

The report was noted. The Committee Services Officer advised that the Market Town Co-Ordinator and Communications & Events Officer were suggesting a format similar to last year’s Christmas programme but without Sunday events as these generally had a lower turn out and were difficult to staff. The Christmas Lights Switch-On, on Friday 2 December, would be similar to last year but would incorporate the Street Food Market which was a stand-alone event in 2021. The Switch-On will not return to the same scale as 2019. Within the report, a suggested programme of events and activities for December was proposed, however suggestions were welcome for different ideas or improvements and should be fed back to the Market Town Co-Ordinator.


14 Remembrance Service Screen

The report was noted. The Community Services Manager was asking Members to consider agreeing a 3-year fixed price contract for the screen at the Remembrance Service, as the current 3-year contract has concluded. At the time of writing the report, it was anticipated that an increase in the budget would be required however since the report was published, the company have confirmed the price will be kept at the previous contract price meaning an increase in the budget is not required.

Concern was raised that this was a large expense which did not have a lasting benefit and is only used for one day a year. The Remembrance Event had been successful without the screen.

However, it was felt that the screen added a lot to the event and enabled everyone to see and hear what was happening. The screen had been key in not only increasing and retaining numbers, but making Thame’s Remembrance Service one of the best in the county. It was felt that the screen was justified, however the budget for this should be reviewed by the Budget Working Group.


  1. The three-year fixed price contract to enable a temporary large screen at the Memorial Gardens for the 2022, 2023 and 2024 Service of Remembrance, subject to the necessary permissions being obtained, be approved.


15 Street Food Market

It was noted that the first trial monthly Street Food Market will take place on Friday 29 July 2022. A trial period of three months was agreed by this committee in February 2022.


16 Skate Park

It was noted that a ‘Summer of Skate’ event is being organised at Thame Skate Park for 2 September 2022 in partnership with Thame Youth Projects.


17 Nursery

It was noted that the transfer to the new nursery provider at Southern Road Recreation Ground is in process following the licence termination with the former provider on 30 June 2022.

It was further noted that the new licence agreement has been received and will be sealed at Full Council.


18 Friends of Elms Park

It was noted that Thame Concert Band will be playing on Saturday 23rd July 2022 from 2pm – 4pm in Elms Park. Appropriate documentation has been received. This is a free of charge event to raise funds for Friends of Elms Park. The event had been a great success last year.


19 Maintenance Report

The report was noted.

A question was raised as to what support the Town Council provided to the Thame Town Music Festival? The Asset Manager advised that in addition to operational support from Officers, the Maintenance Team also assisted with providing road closure signage and equipment. The Music Festival had gone very well and the town was buzzing, however it was disappointing that there was no mention of the Town Council in the event programme, other than a logo, particularly given the Town Council’s financial support over the years. It was suggested that this be fed back when the Town Council receives a formal report on this year’s event and proposal for next year.

A question was raised as to the cost for the 46 hanging baskets, and whether the number could be reduced to assist with budget constraints, or perhaps businesses could sponsor them? The Asset Manager advised she could provide the cost after the meeting. The hanging baskets are appreciated, and complaints are received if they have been temporarily removed, although it was noted residents will complain if their council tax is too high. The hanging baskets had previously been sponsored, and were sponsored in Wallingford, so it was suggested that sponsorship should be explored again. The hanging baskets budget would be reviewed by the Budget Working Group at budget setting.

A question was raised as to when the names would be added to the War Memorial? The Asset Manager advised that an update would be given to the Policy & Resources Committee next week.

The meeting concluded at 7:15pm



Signed ………………………………

Chairman, 25 October 2022