25 October 2022 – Minutes
THAME TOWN COUNCIL
Minutes of a Meeting of the Community, Leisure & Recreation Committee held on 25 October 2022 at 6.30pm in the Upper Chamber, Thame Town Hall.
Cllrs N Champken-Woods (Chairman), A Dite (Deputy Mayor), M Dyer, L Emery (Deputy Chairman), 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 Cowell (personal), Deacock (personal), Gregory (personal), Jones (personal) and Richards (personal).
Cllr Bretherton was absent without apology.
2 Declarations of Interest and Dispensations
Cllr Emery declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 4 as a volunteer with Thame Youth Projects.
3 Public Participation and Public Questions
There were no applications to address the Committee.
There were no questions put to the Committee.
4 Community Youth Centre Working Group
Mr. Alex Stevens of Acanthus Clews Architects provided Members with an update on the proposals for the Community Youth Centre at Southern Road Recreation Ground.
There is a need for a dedicated youth space in Thame, and a feasibility study identified Southern Road Recreation Ground as the best location for a new youth building as the centre of youth culture, as well as having site-specific developer funding attached and providing an opportunity to deliver a community venue and address anti-social behaviour in the area. The proposals have been developed following extensive consultation over several years engaging the schools, scouts, guides, the police, and Sport England.
The current buildings are defensive in design, and the site layout contributes to anti-social behaviour and safety issues. The proposals provide a community space alongside the youth centre in order to generate revenue through hirings and the kitchen servery and have been informed by the Local Plan and surrounding Conservation Area.
In addition to the new community youth centre, the proposals include repositioning and expanding the car park in consultation with the transport consultants, rebuilding the changing rooms, relocating the playground using the existing equipment and providing additional storage for the Scouts. The central courtyard will provide access to all buildings and act as a hub. The community youth centre has been designed to be flexible for different users and activities, with the community space having views to the playing fields, and the youth area having quieter spaces and offices for youth workers. The building has been designed to be sustainable and will be BREEAM accredited. The barn design has been informed from local buildings, and the proposed materials will include brick (as a strong material given the proximity to the park) and a copper roof (as a robust and affordable option appropriate to its setting).
Mr. Stevens concluded by reporting that the pre-application feedback from South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) had been positive, and the next step was for the Council to approve submission of a full planning application.
In terms of costs, the current expected total project cost is £4million, which takes into account inflation, design / construction fees, labour costs, drainage, BREEAM requirements and architect / professional fees. There were options to do a phased development, for example delaying the scout building works or the fitting out the changing rooms. It was acknowledged that the costs were high, but this was a realistic projection during unprecedented times.
The Town Clerk explained that the amount requested from general reserves needs to be increased by £15,000 to £95,000 to cover additional fees and 50% of the planning application fees which the Town Council has been asked to pay by SODC.
With regards to the changing rooms, it was confirmed by SODC through the pre-application discussions, that they must be provided, and Sport England will be consulted.
RECOMMENDED TO FULL COUNCIL that:
- Concept designs are approved for review at Full Council and that they are subsequently submitted as part of the planning application.
- The additional £15K funding from general reserves to cover the additional costs to planning are approved by Full Council.
The Minutes of the Committee Meeting held on 12 July 2022 were confirmed as a correct record, and were signed by the Chairman.
6 Budget Summary
Members received the Budget Summary up to 30 September 2022.
7 Reports from Representatives on External Organisations
The reports were noted.
The Chairman noted it was a shame there was no Sinaia Friendship Association report from Cllr Bretherton as he had recently visited Sinaia.
8 Open Spaces Working Group (OSWG)
The report from the meeting on 18 October 2022 was noted.
9 Thame Football Partnership Artificial Pitch Working Group
The report was noted. It was pleasing that the project had been delivered on time and under budget.
The Community Services Manager advised that the underlease with Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) will need to be updated. Discussions were being held with OCC, and the Town Council’s solicitor and accountant, and the matter will be brought to the Policy & Resources Committee in due course. Previously, OCC had tried to increase the charge to the Town Council from a peppercorn rate to a commercial rate for the land, and then offered £1,500 a year which the Town Council agreed to. Thame Football Partnership (TFP) are currently charged a peppercorn rate of £1 by the Town Council, but due to legislation it was not possible for TFP to make a donation to the Town Council. TFP is a community club and makes its facilities available to other groups.
Cllr Champken-Woods, in his capacity as a County Councillor, agreed to assist where he could.
10 Death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
The report was noted. The action plans had worked very well, although the announcement being made after 6pm affected the timeline. The Proclamation event had been exceptional with Thame Concert Band attending despite the short notice, and fortunately the car park was cleared.
The Book of Condolence would need to be bound by the Town Council in preparation for archiving at Oxfordshire County Archives, at a cost of no more £200.
The committee were also asked to consider planting two oak trees at a cost of no more than £200. The location would need to be agreed by the Open Spaces Working Group in consultation with nearby residents. Churchill Crescent may be a suitable location given the recent felling of the large black poplar. The trees have been identified through Thame Trees, so the cost is for stakes, mulch, and protection. The maintenance of the trees would need to be considered by the OSWG but could be maintained by a local resident’s group. It was suggested that the trees be planted on 20 November 2022, as this would’ve been the Queen’s 75th wedding anniversary and would be during the planting season, however this would not enable enough time for neighbour consultation.
- The Community Services Manager be authorised to investigate costs to bind the Book of Condolence sheets in preparation for archiving at Oxfordshire County Archives at a cost of not more than £200.
- The Town Council plants two oak trees at a suitable location approved by the Open Spaces Working Group and at a cost of not more than £200.
11 Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III
The report was noted. The Coronation has been confirmed as Saturday 6 May 2023, but a bank holiday has not been confirmed or ruled out. It was noted that local elections take place on 4 May, but that Councillors remain elected until four days after the election, which means the current Mayor will still be in post for the Coronation. The report presented options to celebrate the Coronation including planting at the Memorial Gardens, encouraging street parties and partnership working with the churches. It was noted that the planting for the jubilee this year had been costly and suffered during the heatwave. At this stage it was challenging to know what to plan without official guidance on expectations, so any ideas were welcome.
It was agreed that this item be brought back to the committee in due course.
12 Street Food Market
The report was noted. Members agreed the street food market event had been a success.
- The Council agrees to hold Street Food Markets in 2023.
13 Summer of Skate
The report was noted. The Summer of Skate event on 2 September had been a great success, with the organisers describing the Skate Park as the best in Oxfordshire.
The District Council have hired the Skate Park again on 28 October 2022 for another skating event with competitions. This is being given by the Town Council free of charge to enable the District Council to offer cost effective activities for children during half-term.
14 Thame Fair
The report was noted.
Members raised concern that the Showmen’s Guild were not taking the Town Council’s rules seriously. For the October Fair, they arrived before the road closure became effective, removed signage, and closed the car park early which was an inconvenience and safety risk to residents and businesses. Paperwork was also late and overall, it was felt they could not be trusted to deliver. It was agreed that these issues needed to be firmly raised with The Showmen’s Guild and that the Town Council should consider going out to tender on this contract if they are not able to commit to improving their service.
Members also raised concern regarding the Community Services Manager not having enough support during the fair. Some Councillors were able to support with noise monitoring, but it was questioned whether this should be a responsibility of the professional security services. This year had been particularly challenging due to the lack of police support as their resources were directed to the Queen Lying in State in London. There had been a potentially serious incident during the Fair which the Police took 45 minutes to attend to, meanwhile it had to be managed by the Community Services Manager and security team. It was agreed this should be raised with Thames Valley Police and the Police & Crime Commissioner.
15 Service of Remembrance & Armistice Day
It was noted that the Service of Remembrance will take place on, Sunday 13 November 2022, 10.30am, assembling in car park at Town Hall ready to process to the Memorial Gardens.
The Act of Remembrance, led by the Town Mayor on Armistice Day, Friday 11 November 2022 was noted. Members were asked to assemble outside the Town Hall at 10:55am.
16 Charities Fair
It was noted that the Charities Fair will take place in the Town Hall Upper Chamber on Saturday 5 November 2022, 10am to 2pm. It is being organised by Cllrs Midwinter and Emery, with support from Officers as required.
Cllr Emery advised that event planning was going well but that more event publicity was needed.
17 Christmas Tea Party
It was noted that the annual Senior Citizens’ Christmas Tea Party will take place on Wednesday 7 December 2022. It is being organised by the Town Council with support from Thame & District Rotary Club and Thame Inner Wheel.
18 Christmas in Thame
The report was noted. Members were looking forward to the events that had been planned and were asked to let the Community Services Manager know if they were able to volunteer to support the Lights Switch-On event.
19 Themed Markets
The report was noted.
- The Community Services Manager organises themed markets in 2023.
20 Music in the Park
The report was noted.
- Elms Park be closed to the public between the hours of 10am and 10pm on Sunday 30 April 2023 for Music in the Park event.
- Event support for Music in the Park 2023 and associated expenditure of up to £150 be approved.
21 Thame Carnival
The report was noted. The committee were asked to consider authorising the associated salary expenditure for the Maintenance Team, for which there is currently no budget, to operationally support the event, in the same way as for Music in the Park.
It was noted that this year the Carnival had made donations to three organisations of £800 each, and it was questioned why they are not required to make a donation to the Town Council to cover the staffing costs. As a free event, the amount raised on the day can vary and the Carnival starts with nil balance. It was noted that as the event is held on Town Council land, there is a duty to ensure the event is held safely and the public are protected.
- Thame Carnival on Saturday 17 June 2023 be supported and associated salary expenditure up to £525 be approved.
22 Town Awards
The report was noted, as was the date for next year’s Town Awards ceremony on 20 July 2023.
It was also noted that the number of nominations in both the sporting and creative arts contribution categories remained low, so it was suggested the categories be renamed to include ‘achievement’. The Committee Services Officer advised that the categories had been renamed during the covid-19 pandemic to reflect that traditional sporting achievement opportunities had been restricted, but this suggestion would be fed back to the panel for consideration.
Concern was raised that the panel would be quorate with just three members. The Committee Services Officer advised that the panel meetings are always booked when most / all the panel are available, so it would not be an issue to increase the quorum required for meetings.
- The Terms of Reference be updated to increase the quorum to 5 members.
23 Thame Town Music Festival
It was noted that the organisers have announced that after 4 successful events, they will not be organising further Thame Town Music Festival events.
Members expressed sadness at this news. A vote of thanks and round of applause was given to the Community Services Manager, without whom this event would never have happened (a statement given by the event organiser).
It was suggested that the Town Council should write a formal letter of thanks to the organisers for their contribution to the town.
24 Maintenance Report
The report was noted.
The meeting concluded at 7:42pm
Chairman, 7 February 2023