29 October 2019 – Minutes
THAME TOWN COUNCIL
Minutes of a Meeting of the Community, Leisure & Recreation Committee held on 29 October 2019 at 6.30pm in the Upper Chamber, Thame Town Hall.
Cllrs D Bretherton, N Champken-Woods (Chairman), P Cowell (Deputy Mayor), A Dite, M Dyer, K Gregory, C Jones, A Midwinter (Town Mayor), J Tipping and T Wyse
G Hunt, Town Clerk
C Pinnells, Community Services Manager
A Oughton, Asset Manager
L Fuller, Committee Services Officer
1 Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence received from Cllr Deacock (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.
The Minutes of the meeting held on 16 July 2019 were approved and signed by the Chairman.
5 Thame Town Music Festival
Johnnie Littler, Director at Thame Town Music Festival, gave a presentation on the success of this year’s event and plans for next year’s event on 10-11 July 2020.
The Town Council’s support in the form of money and time, from Officers and Councillors, over the last three years had been invaluable and Johnnie was hoping for continued support from the Town Council for next year. The 2019 event attracted an estimated 12,500 people, up from 7,500 in 2017. Last year’s event expanded to include a photography exhibition at Thame Museum which led to a significant increase in footfall there. Many of the venues reported sales four times higher than usual on the day of the event. The organisers are keen to continue growing as an important music event and raising the regional profile for Thame. They are committed to remaining a free festival in the town centre. Income is predominantly raised through sponsorship, grants and sales from merchandise and programmes.
For 2020, the organisers recognise the need to provide more for young people and new artists. They are pleased to confirm a partnership agreement with BBC Introducing, which will see a new stage for new artists being introduced behind the Town Hall as well as associated publicity and funding.
After answering a series of questions from Members, Johnnie Littler was thanked for all he has done for the Music Festival and Thame over the last three years and received a round of applause.
6 Budget Summary
Members received the budget summary up to 30 September 2019.
7 Reports from Representatives on External Organisations
The report was noted.
Further verbal updates were given as follows:
Cllr Francis reported that the twinning between the primary school in Montesson and John Hampden Primary School was going from strength to strength. On their visit in September the Twinning Association presented the teachers at the Montesson school with children’s story books which were well received, and the gifts were reciprocated to Thame.
Chinnor Rugby Club:-
Cllr Bretherton reported that he would be attending a meeting next week. The senior club were middling, having lost and won some games following their promotion.
Sinaia Friendship Association:-
Cllr Champken-Woods reported that Thame had hosted three visitors from Sinaia last weekend. During their visit they hosted a talk at Thame Arts & Literature Festival which they thoroughly enjoyed. Those who had not visited before commented on how beautiful the town was and that the shops were fantastic.
Cllr Tipping reported that he had received no correspondence from Towersey Festival. Cllr Tipping also expressed his disappointment that Towersey Festival would be moving to Claydon Estate next year.
8 Thame Fairs
The report was noted.
The Community Services Manager reported that both the September and October Fairs had taken place smoothly. The operational arrangements had worked well, and particular thanks were given to the Neighbourhood Policing Team who had successfully removed a vehicle blocking an emergency lane minutes before the Fire Service were called out. It was noted that the October Fair had lower attendance and closed early both days due to poor weather. Members raised concerns regarding the car which had parked on Wellington Street during the September Fair. The Community Services Manager advised that the car had received a ticket and was monitored. Unfortunately the Police were not able to locate the owner.
9 Charities Fair
Cllr Midwinter reported that plans for the Charities Fair on Saturday 2 November were going well. There will be 19 stalls, plus face painting, refreshments and sand art activities. Outside the Town Hall the Hemley Hillbillies Blue Grass Band will perform and be fundraising for Parkinsons, whilst the RBL Poppy Appeal will also be taking place.
10 Service of Remembrance & Armistice Day
Members noted the dates and times for the Service of Remembrance and Armistice Day. Cllr Midwinter highlighted that on Remembrance Sunday a Piper will be in attendance to remember the D-Day landings 75 years ago.
11 Christmas Event
The report was noted. The Community Services Manager reported that the event plans were coming together nicely. This year a ‘Christmas in Thame’ leaflet was being produced by the Market Town Co-Ordinator to highlight all of the Christmas events and activities taking place in the town, which will tie in with Small Business Saturday on 7 December too.
Cllr Tipping offered to provide photography for the event.
12 Kimblewick Hunt
Members discussed whether the Kimblewick Hunt should return to the town in January given this year’s events. The Town Council had not received any information from the organisers. It was agreed that no decision could be made until further information was provided and the outcome of the trial was known. The Town Clerk advised that the decision may need to be made swiftly and therefore given the timings it was more appropriate that the decision was delegated to officers.
i) Officers progress Kimblewick Hunt permission as relevant, via email with Councillors as necessary, once the outcome of the current trial scheduled to start of 30 October 2019, is known, starting from a default position that permission will not be given this year.
13 Music in the Park
The report was noted. The Community Services Manager advised that Music in the Park would take place on its usual weekend in May, however this would not be a Bank Holiday weekend due to the Bank Holiday date being moved to Friday 8 May 2020. Cllr Dite added that the license had been extended by half an hour to 10pm, as although music will continue to finish at 9:30pm the extra thirty minutes allows for any overrunning performances.
i) Elms Park is closed to the public between the hours of 10am and 10pm on Sunday 3 May 2020 for the Music in the Park event.
ii) Event support and associated expenditure of up to £80 for Music in the Park 2020 is approved.
14 Joint SODC / TTC Fundraiser
Cllrs Midwinter and Bretherton, as Chairman of Thame Town Council and South Oxfordshire District Council respectively, reported that the charity event on 8 May 2020 will be a crazy golf course in the High Street Car Park, which would require closure of this car park. It is also hoped that the RAF Air Cadets will be bring an air simulator, the Army Cadets will bring an assault course and there will be an inflatable of some form. It is proposed to run during the day and offer something for all the family to enjoy.
15 Freedom Parade 2020
It was noted that the Freedom Parade will take place on 17 May 2020.
16 VE Day 2020
Thame Town Council has been invited by the Queen’s Pageant Master to celebrate and commemorate the 75th Anniversary of VE Day over the weekend of 8-10 May 2020. At 3pm on 8 May, there will be a Toast followed by Ringing Out For Peace at 7pm which St Mary’s Church have confirmed they will be taking part in. It is thought that the Toast will coincide with the Chairman’s event on 8 May. In addition to the event plans discussed in Agenda Item 14, two other activities / event were proposed to continue the celebrations over the weekend. The first being a suggestion from a member of the community for a 1940’s Street Dance in the High Street Car Park on Sunday 10 May featuring a 16 piece Big Band. The second proposal is to plant the raised beds at the Memorial Gardens with bespoke carpet planting, similar to those planted to commemorate the beginning and end of WW1 which received many compliments.
The Community Services Manager is aware of other events being planned by external organisations such as the Museum and will try to coordinate any events the Town Council is made aware of in order to prevent date / time clashes.
i) The proposals, and associated expenditure, for the 1940’s Street Dance and Planting of the raised beds at the Memorial Gardens be agreed.
17 Thame Carnival
A request had been received from the main organiser of the Carnival for support with the 2020 event as has been provided in previous years. It was noted that the organisers are seeking volunteers to assist with the organisation of the Carnival.
i) The Carnival for 2020 is supported and that the associated salary expenditure of up to £350 be released from General Reserves.
18 Open Spaces Working Group – Elms Park
The Town Clerk reported that a well-attended meeting of the OSWG had been held on 2 October 2019. The Working Group had been awaiting the outcome of the Planning Appeal at The Elms in the hope it would provide some clarity with regards to funding for Elms Park improvements. The Inspector at the Appeal initially approved the contribution from Rectory Homes for £560,000 but then dismissed the appeal, meaning the funding position is now more complicated. If Rectory Homes follow their original plans then £300,000 would be available through the S106 agreement, however this was dependent on the planning permission which has now lapsed.
The Town Clerk has requested a meeting, prior to his retirement, with Rectory Homes to establish their current plans.
The OSWG are keen to make improvements to Elms Park and it may be that in the near future, the group seek to release funds from the Capital Receipts Reserve in order to progress this. A member of the public had asked, via a Councillor, whether the Town Council was responsible for providing toilets, a water foundation and shelter in Elms Park. The Town Clerk was happy to assist in the response to this, and other enquiries, if they were passed on to him. The OSWG were working to the plans in the planning application from 2016, which were the result of public consultation, however it was recognised that some needs had changed and developed since that time.
19 Thame Football Partnership / Artificial Pitch
It was noted that the Planning & Environment Committee had expressed support for the planning application and that Thame Football Partnership and the Football Foundation were progressing the funding application with support from the Community Services Manager and a consultant.
Cllr Dyer added that the report for Agenda Item 7 provided more information. The contamination report as part of the planning application was not accepted by SODC, so it has been necessary to commission a new report. It is hoped this will not affect the timeline for works to start in June.
20 Splash Pad Project
The Asset Manager reported that were no further updates other than that SMS Environmental Ltd continue to try and find a solution for the drainage.
21 Nursery Storage at Southern Road Recreation Ground
It was noted that the licence with the new operator of First Steps Nursery at the Thame Girl Guides HQ building has been signed by all parties, the annual license fee has been paid, and the storage shed has been installed.
22 Farmers Market
It was noted that work continues on ensuring the continued survival of the Farmers Market and that changes in rents are also being considered.
23 Driving Skills Day
The report was noted. The Driving Skills Day was a new event idea to be held in the Upper High Street Car Park, whereby drivers complete various manoeuvres aimed at testing their driving ability. A similar event had been successfully held in Banbury, which Cllr Champken-Woods had attended, in partnership with the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM). The event would be open to all ages.
i) A Driving Skills Day event in 2020 is supported in principle.
24 Maintenance Report
The report was noted. Cllr Jones, on behalf of the Cuttle Brook Conservation Volunteers, expressed thanks and appreciation to the Maintenance Team for taking on additional responsibilities with emptying the bins on the nature reserve. Thanks were also given to the Maintenance Team for their ongoing work at the Memorial Gardens.
A question was raised for an update on the fish problem at the Memorial Gardens? The Asset Manager reported that the water had been tested twice, with no issues identified, and only the roach fish species were affected. It is believed that overpopulation is the cause of the fish deaths but the maintenance team continue to monitor it.
The Asset Manager also reported that the ROSPA inspections had taken place but had not identified anything unexpected. A question was raised with regards to the cracking surface at the Skate Park? The Asset Manager advised that identifying a suitable contractor was on the to-do list.
The meeting concluded at 7.53pm
Chairman, 11 February 2020