31 October 2023 – Minutes


Minutes of a Meeting of the Community, Leisure & Recreation Committee held on 31 October 2023 at 6.30pm in the Upper Chamber, Thame Town Hall.


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


M Sturdy, Town Clerk
C Pinnells, Community Services Manager
A Oughton, Operations Manager
L Fuller, Committee Services & Processes Officer


1 Apologies for Absence

There were no apologies for absence. 


2 Declarations of Interest and Dispensations

Cllr Jones declared an interest in Item 7, regarding the rewilding discussion at the Open Spaces Working Group about rewilding areas, as one of the affected residents.


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 Meeting held on 18 July 2023 were received.


  1. The minutes of the meeting held on 18 July 2023 are confirmed as a correct record, and signed by the Chairman.


5 Budget Summary

Members received the Budget Summary up to 30 September 2023. There were no questions. Members noted that the figures looked good and thanked Officers.


6 Reports from Representatives on External Organisations

The reports were noted.


7 Open Spaces Working Group / Open Spaces Sub-Committee

The minutes from the meeting of the Open Spaces Sub-Committee on 23 October 2023 were noted. There was a recommendation for this committee’s consideration relating to the Water Refill Station (Item 6).

It was confirmed that listed building consent will be required. Initial advice from South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) has been supportive and recommended using a neutral colour.

There was discussion as to whether two further quotes should be obtained to be in the spirit of the regulations and competitive tendering. It was explained that although there is an aspiration for multiple drinking water refill stations around Thame, this is a single test pilot. The quote includes installation and delivery too which is considered to be reasonable. The company is Britain’s largest supplier of this product and was used by Lord Williams’s School, with lessons learned from them as part of this process. The product value falls below the requirement for a formal tender and may be covered under a framework agreement where best value has already been measured. Overall, it was felt that additional quotes were not required.


  1. To approve the purchase and installation of a water refill station at the Town Hall (subject to planning approval) at a cost of £2,620.00 to be funded from the Capital Rolling Fund.

The report from the Open Spaces Working Group meeting on 4 October 2023 was noted. Regarding Item 8 (Wildflower Areas), residents are concerned about fire risk to their properties from the wildflower areas on Towersey Road. The Town Council cuts the grass once or twice a year as per the contract with Oxfordshire County Council. It was noted that the area had only been half cut earlier this year. Overall liability sits with OCC, subject to the Town Council fulfilling the contractual requirements.


8 Rycote Meadow Project

The committee noted the report. Proposals began in 2021 to open up Rycote Meadow with a footpath connecting Oxford Road to the Bloor estate. This has been a partnership project with Thame Green Living, Cuttle Brook Volunteers (CBV) and Thame Town Council. The trees and hedge planted earlier this year had taken well. Volunteers are working hard on the footpath work, involving drones, the Environment Agency, and River Thame Conservation Trust (RTCT). The project is not at the tendering stage; however, an estimated cost is £47,000. There is £26,471 available in S106 funds, plus there should be around £20,000 in grant funding from Trust of Oxfordshire Environment. The committee had concerns about delays in receiving S106 funds and the shortfall in funding. It was confirmed that S106 can take 6 months to receive, so in order to build the path next summer, timescales will be established with SODC. Additional grant funding will be sought.

CBV and RTCT are seeking to construct a wetland scape within Rycote Meadow to enhance biodiversity, hopefully next month subject to approval from Thame Town Council.

CBV also have an aspiration to extend the Cuttle Brook Nature Reserve to Rycote Meadow, again subject to approval from Thame Town Council.


  1. To approve Cuttle Brook Volunteers constructing a wetland scrape in Rycote Meadow prior to construction of the footpath.
  2. To support in principle that Rycote Meadow is incorporated into Cuttle Brook Nature Reserve.
  3. To approve submitting the application form to draw down s106 funding associated with providing a path in Rycote Meadow.


9 Cuttle Brook Nature Reserve / Public Spaces Protection Order

The committee noted the report. Following feedback from Thames Valley Police, SODC are seeking to extend the Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) in Thame to include the Cuttle Brook Nature Reserve to address issues of anti-social behaviour such as fires and vandalism. Thame’s PSPO was recently extended to include Thame Town Cricket Club, which had been successful. A site visit had been held with Thame Town Council, SODC, the police and CBV. A suggestion was made to extend the PSPO to include Rycote Meadow. All existing PSPOs in Thame will stay the same.

Members supported the proposals, however there were concerns over how this would be policed. Improved signage was suggested. The PSPO will help the police to take action.


  1. To support the proposal from South Oxfordshire District Council Community Safety Team to extend Thame’s Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) to include Cuttle Brook Nature Reserve and request the inclusion of Rycote Meadow.


10 Themed & Street Food Markets

The committee noted the report. The committee were asked to authorise Officers to organise themed and street food markets in 2024, and to consider delegating to Officers the arranging of routine road closures for town events.

An Autumn Market had been held around the Town Hall last weekend. It was noted that during the setup on Thursday evening, many footpaths had been blocked with the Buttermarket being particularly impacted. The committee would welcome feedback from shop owners and statistics on footfall to assess the market’s impact.

The organisers, who also bring a market in April, have requested to extend the market area of the October market into the car park up to the Royal Mail entrance, to expand the event offering. An increased fee would be charged, and a road closure would be required. Members supported this proposal. Temporary disabled parking bays would be provided as per all town events involving closure of parking spaces.

The French Market had been disappointing due to a low number of stalls. Following the success of the monthly street food markets this year, their fee would be brought in line with other markets.


  1. To authorize that the Community Services Manager to organise the Themed & Street Food Markets in 2024.
  2. To delegate authority to Officers to arrange routine road closures associated with town events.


11 Thame Fairs 2023

The committee noted the report. The Fair Working Group will be meeting next month. The committee agreed that the traffic problems resulting from the pull-on of the September Fair needed to be addressed and could not be allowed to happen again. It was noted that vehicles left the Showground field earlier than scheduled due to torrential rain, and that they did not leave in the pre-planned order. A request was made to monitor pollution from the Fair in the Town Centre as at times it was overpowering.


12 Christmas in Thame

The committee noted the report.


13 Music in the Park

The committee noted the report. The committee were asked to approve the annual request from Music in the Park to close Elms Park and for event support. To remove the requirement to repeat this request annually for this proven successful event, the committee were also asked to delegate the management of closing the park for appropriate events to Officers, subject to this being noted through the committee.


  1. To agree to the closure of Elms Park and event support including financial arrangements for Music in the Park 2024 and future events.
  2. To delegate to Officers the management of closing the park for appropriate events which will be noted through this committee.


14 Thame Carnival

The committee noted the report. The committee were asked to approve the annual request from Thame Carnival for operational support from the Town Council and associated expenditure. Ideas were also discussed for the Town Council’s float which included a 70s theme or incorporating the electric community hopper bus, subject to it being purchased in time.


  1. To agree the operational support and associated expenditure to assist with event preparations for the Carnival on 15 June 2024.


15 Town Awards

The committee noted the report. It was noted that there had been a low number of nominations this year and consideration would be given as to better promote the awards next year. The panel will meet in early 2024. There may be need to recruit new panel members and review Town Council representation on the panel. Sufficient funds are available in earmarked reserves for next year’s event.


16 Bench – North Street

Members were asked to support an application to the County Councillor Priority Fund for a bench on North Street (outside the Cattle Market). The bench will become a Town Council asset. The bench has been requested by residents, particularly dog walkers and elderly, and will be made of recycled materials. The recently installed public art bench will remain.


  1. To agree to make a grant application to the County Councillor Priority Fund for a bench on North Street (outside the Cattle Market). The bench will be a Town Council asset.


17 Christmas Lights Contract

The committee noted the report and that the current 5-year contract concludes in January 2024. The current contractor can extend the contract for another year. It was noted that 2024 will be a busier year for Thame Town Council with the 50th year events. The committee was asked whether to renew the existing contract for another year or to retender for a 5-year contract which would be in place for Christmas 2024. It was confirmed that the fixings are specific to the light fittings and locations, and as they belong to the contractor, they will need to remove them at the end of the contract. Extending the contract is legally acceptable as a one-year extension was included within the previous tender.


  1. To extend the existing contract for one year at a cost of £18,200+ VAT for the 2024/25 season, and to retender in 2024 for the 2025/26 season.


18 Thame Art Crawl

The report on the 2023 Thame Art Crawl was noted. The event had been very successful with many incredible pieces of art on display, and thanks were given to Officers.


19 Charities Fair

It was noted that the Charities Fair will take place in the Town Hall Upper Chamber on Saturday 18 November 2023, 10am to 2pm. It is being organised by Cllr Emery, with support from Cllrs Dite and Gilbert, and with publicity support from Officers as required.


20 Service of Remembrance & Armistice Day

It was noted that the Service of Remembrance will take place on, Sunday 12 November 2023, 10.30am assemble in car park at Town Hall ready to process to the Memorial Gardens.

It was noted that Armistice Day will fall on Saturday 11 November 2023, the Royal British Legion will be selling poppies, along with the cadet forces around the town. A trumpeter has been organised to play last post and reveille to enable the community to observe the two minutes silence at 11am outside the Town Hall.


21 Christmas Tea Party

It was noted that the annual Senior Citizens’ Christmas Tea Party will take place on Wednesday 6 December 2023. It is being organised by the Town Council with support from Thame & District Rotary Club and Thame Inner Wheel.


22 Maintenance Report

The committee noted the report.



The meeting concluded at 7:28pm



Signed ………………………………                            Date ………………………….