26 October 2021 – Minutes
THAME TOWN COUNCIL
Minutes of a Meeting of the Community, Leisure & Recreation Committee held on 26 October 2021 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, C Jones, L Emery (Deputy Chairman), H Richards, J Tipping and T Wyse
C Pinnells, Acting Town Clerk
A Oughton, Asset Manager
L Fuller, Committee Services Officer
1 Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence received from Cllrs Deacock (business) and Gregory (personal).
2 Declarations of Interest and Dispensations
There were no declarations of interest.
3 Public Participation and Public Questions
Charlotte and Rachel of Roots for Life Nursery presented their proposal for black rubber matting at the Girl Guide Hut. The matting would be 10m by 15m and 23mm thick. The matting is required as the area is very muddy, and therefore dangerous and unusable. It is a requirement from OFSTED that the children at the nursery have daily outside access. The matting would be funded and maintained by the nursery and covered by their insurance. The Girl Guides are supportive of the proposal. Roots for Life Nursery have spoken to Oxfordshire County Council who have provided details of other nurseries who have installed similar matting.
A question was raised as to how the matting would work in practice? It was explained that currently the nursery erects a temporary fence daily around the area they use. The fencing would remain temporary; however, the matting would ensure that the area is useable whilst also allowing grass to start growing again.
A question was raised as to whether the matting would impact on the Town Council’s grass cutting schedule? The nursery would work with the council to ensure the matting would not impact on grass cutting.
A question was raised as to whether the matting would be level with the ground as to prevent a trip hazard? The nursery understood that the matting would be impacted down, but this would be checked with the contractor who installs the matting.
A question was raised as to whether the matting would be removed if the nursery moved premises? It was confirmed that the matting would be removed.
It was moved and seconded that Item 18 be taken next.
The minutes of the meeting held on 20 July 2021 were approved and signed by the Chairman.
5 Budget Summary
Members received the Budget Summary up to 30 September 2021.
A question was raised with regards to the repairs at the Skate Park. The Asset Manager advised that repairs were undertaken around 18 months ago but given that cracks were reappearing again she would look at contacting the same contractor to undertake the necessary repairs.
With regards to the Gyrospiral at Southern Road play area, it was noted that this had not broken before and there had been delays in sourcing the equipment from abroad. This play area is well used, and the replacement of the equipment is set out in the Town Council’s Play Area Strategy.
6 Reports from Representatives on External Organisations
The report was noted. The Chairman reminded representatives to seek 5-year plans from their organisations where possible, as discussed at the previous committee meeting.
Friends of Elms Park: –
Cllr Champken-Woods advised that there was nothing to report as no progress had been made regarding the Sealed Knot.
Thame Town Cricket Club: –
Cllr Champken-Woods apologised for the absence of his report; however, it was pleasing to now report that the Cricket Club had hosted the Oxfordshire v Berkshire minor counties match in August. Oxfordshire won this match and then went on to beat Suffolk in the National Counties championship, meaning that Oxfordshire is now the highest team in the minor counties and performing very well. The facilities were praised highly by the players. There was criticism relating to the outfields, which the Cricket Club would resolve in discussion with the Asset Manager. It was also noted that Thame Town Cricket Club was the only place in Oxfordshire to be able to host a 3-day cricket match.
7 Open Spaces Working Group
The minutes of the two recent working group meetings were noted. The working group had reviewed the conditions of the S106 agreement for the Elms Park refurbishment, and Officers were working on the questionnaire for the consultation with key stakeholders and residents. The draft questionnaire had been sent to the working group earlier in the day.
Regarding the consultation at Queen Elizabeth Circle, it was clarified that Thame Green Living were managing this consultation on behalf of the Town Council. Leaflets had been distributed and so far, only one concern had been raised. The proposal could not go ahead without the resident’s support. Thame Green Living were also managing the consultations at Rycote Meadow and on Howland Road for their respective proposals. The Asset Manager reported that there had been a concern raised regarding the proposals at Howland Road however Thame Green Living had spoken to the concerned resident and alleviated their concerns.
It was noted that the Town Council had received a request for a Petanque (Boules) Court to be incorporated into the Elms Park refurbishment. This will be discussed at the next meeting of the Open Spaces Working Group.
8 Thame Fairs
The report on the September and October Fairs was noted. The Acting Town Clerk thanked the Councillors who had helped with the noise monitoring task. Only one ride had exceeded the noise requirements. Overall, the Fairs had gone well, but there were a few operational issues including late paperwork and two rides being larger than their plot which compromised the emergency lanes. The Car Park at Southern Road was managed by the OX9ers who had raised an impressive £1,400 for local charities. There had been less complaints than normal, and these all related to the September Fairs. One complaint related to air quality however there was no way of monitoring this in the Town Centre, but this was something the Town Council would be looking into. The October Fair set-up had blocked the main entrance for wheelchairs and pushchairs, which would be reported back to the Showmen’s Guild. There had been a couple of medical incidents related to the fairs which the first aiders responded to. The Acting Town Clerk advised that the Fair Agreement was due to be renegotiated early next year.
A question was raised with regards to monitoring the air quality in the town centre. This was something that the Town Council had committed to doing as part of the adoption of the Green Living Plan. Thame Green Living were keen to progress this project, however sourcing equipment and funding may be an issue.
9 Thame Town Awards
The report was noted. It was also noted that next year’s Town Awards ceremony will take place on Thursday 14 July 2022 at Thame Barns Centre. The Committee Services Officer thanked the Councillors who had attended the awards ceremony last month at the Chinnor Rugby Club marquee. Overall, the Town Awards nomination process and awards ceremony had gone well and some feedback from the panel was included within the report. The number of nominations had remained similar to previous years. Members were asked to feedback any ideas to improve the Town Awards to Officers ahead of the first panel meeting next year. The Chairman thanked the Committee Services Officer for organizing this year’s Town Awards.
10 Service of Remembrance & Armistice Day
It was noted that the Act of Remembrance would be led by the Town Mayor on Armistice Day, Thursday 11 November 2021. Members were asked to assemble outside the Town Hall at 10:55am.
It was noted that the Service of Remembrance will take place on Sunday 14 November 2021. Members were asked to assemble in the Town Hall car park at 10.30am ready to process to the Memorial Gardens. It was noted that this would be the first Remembrance Service without Major Bartlett leading the procession, following his passing earlier this year.
11 Charities Fair
It was noted that the Charities Fair will take place in the Upper Chamber of the Town Hall on Saturday 20 November 2021, 10am to 2pm. It is being organised by Cllrs Midwinter and Emery, with support from Officers as required. Cllr Emery reported that plans were coming along nicely, and the event would have an early Christmas theme. Stall numbers were slightly down on previous years.
12 Christmas Tea Party
It was noted that the annual Senior Citizens’ Christmas Tea Party will take place on Wednesday 8 December 2021 at the Football Club. It is being organised by the Town Council with support from Thame & District Rotary Club and Thame Inner Wheel. Last year, as the event could not take place, various voluntary organisations had assisted with a doorstep delivery.
13 Christmas in Thame
The report provided an update on the plans to celebrate Christmas in Thame this year. Officers were organizing a smaller Switch-On event than in previous years. It would be around an hour-long event featuring music from Thame Concert Band and mulled wine served by the OX9ers. In addition to this, Officers were formulating a calendar of events with an activity taking place every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in December leading up to Christmas, in addition to the various community events taking place. The pop-up events would include a Santa’s Grotto, street food market, children’s carousel, Christmas craft-ernoon, gift fairs, live music performances and a selfie station. Sponsorship had been secured for many of these attractions. There was still some uncertainty with regards to any possible Covid-19 guidance changes, however it was hoped that the events would give Thame something to celebrate throughout December. The events that had been planned demonstrated Thame’s community spirit and the Acting Town Clerk thanked the Officers who had put together the calendar of events.
14 Themed Markets
The report was noted. The Acting Town Clerk advised that in 2022 it was expected that the World Village Market would visit twice, and the French Market visiting once increasing from 2 to 3 days, with dates to be confirmed. It was considered that the markets are a positive addition to the town’s event calendar and increase footfall.
A question was raised as to whether it was possible for an antiques market to visit? The Acting Town Clerk advised that this could be investigated, as long as the market was independently managed.
- The Acting Town Clerk organizes themed markets in 2022.
15 Music in the Park
The organisers of the Music in the Park event were seeking their usual support from the Town Council in terms of closing Elms Park, operational support, and covering expenditure for the additional hours for the Maintenance Team. The organisers make a donation of £400 to the Town Council however there is a shortfall of £80 to cover the staffing hours.
A question was raised with regards to the possible impact of the development at The Elms, depending on the start date of the works? It was expected that this would not impact on the event as it should not encroach onto the event area.
- Elms Park be closed to the public between the hours of 10am and 10pm on Sunday 1 May 2022 for the Music in the Park event.
- Event support for Music in the Park 2022 and associated expenditure of up to £80 be approved.
16 Thame Carnival
The Acting Town Clerk advised that the carnival would be going ahead, and the carnival committee were requesting operational and administrative support from the Town Council as per previous years.
- Thame Carnival be supported and associated salary expenditure up to £350 be released from General Reserves
17 Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
The report was noted and presented the options for ways for the Town Council to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee over the 4-day bank holiday weekend in June 2022. The community was organizing various events, including the Carnival which would be appropriately themed and take place on the Saturday, and these plans would be reported to this committee in February 2022. It was suggested that the Town Council hold a Beacon Lighting event on the Thursday with entertainment provided by Thame Concert Band, the Army and Air Cadets on parade, and bunting around the Town Hall. An estimated cost for this event would be £1,500. It was also suggested that the raised flower beds at the Memorial Gardens be appropriately planted, at an estimated cost of £1,150. In addition to this, the Town Council would take part with the carnival float and invite the community to use the town’s open spaces for jubilee lunches.
Members felt the proposals would be a lovely way to celebrate the jubilee, however it was recognised that there was a risk of the Queen not making it to the jubilee given her age and the passing of Prince Philip earlier this year.
- The Town Council supports the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee as per the suggestions set out in the Officer’s report, with appropriate provisions in place for unforeseen circumstances.
18 Roots for Life Nursery
There was no discussion following the earlier presentation from Roots for Life Nursery and subsequent questions.
- The Town Council supports in principle the installation of black rubber matting at the Roots for Life Nursery, subject to confirmation that the matting will not impact on the Town Council’s mowers and update the licence as necessary.
19 Freedom Parade
It was noted that the date of the rescheduled Freedom Parade is set as 15 May 2022.
20 Thame Town Guide
It was noted that Officers are producing a Town Guide for 2022 in-house, following the success of last year’s guide, which will be delivered in January. Each annual guide will adopt a different theme, whilst still promoting the usual information, and next year this will be ‘Green Living and Outdoor Life’.
21 Memorial Bench
It was noted a request had been received to place a memorial bench in a suitable location within the town centre. Cllr Champken-Woods explained that this was a request from the Masonic Province of Oxfordshire who were seeking to install a memorial bench in all Oxfordshire towns in memory of the victims of Covid-19. The Acting Town Clerk advised that the bench should be situated on Town Council land and that a Memorial Policy was being drafted to manage requests for benches and the maintenance of existing benches. The policy would need to be comprehensive given the sensitivity of the subject. It was requested that the policy include guidance on requests for trees given that the Cuttle Brook volunteers receive a lot of requests for trees to be planted on the nature reserve.
22 Maintenance Report
The report was noted.
The Chairman thanked the Maintenance Team for their fantastic work in keeping the town tidy.
The meeting concluded at 7:32pm
Chairman, 8 February 2022