03 November 2015 – Minutes
THAME TOWN COUNCIL
Minutes of the Meeting of Thame Town Council held on 3 November 2015 at 6.30pm in the Upper Chamber, Thame Town Hall
Present: Cllrs B Austin, D Bretherton, N Champken-Woods, P Cowell, M Deacock,
D Dodds, M Dyer, L Emery (Deputy Mayor), H Fickling, P Lambert,
A Midwinter, M Stiles and T Wyse.
G Hunt, Town Clerk
A Oughton, Committee Services Officer
1 Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs Butler (Personal), Dixon (Council Business) and Jones (Holiday).
2 Declarations of Interest and Dispensations
There were no declarations of interest.
3 Public Participation and Public Questions
Public participation recorded at each agenda item. There were no public questions.
4 Thame Retail Impact Study
The Town Clerk introduced the item and stated that a clear need had been established for a retail impact study for the town to be carried out. The Report before Council was truly independent compiled with expertise by Carter Jonas. It was a lengthy report but was structured in such a way that was easy to read and understand. It was particularly pleasing to see that the final report had included extra information on anchor stores, linked trips, pedestrian connectivity, food store scenarios, information on research produced by the University of Southampton and reference to the weekly market. It was now up to Members to consider whether it met the needs of the Council.
Mr Norris and Ms Duffy from Carter Jonas gave an overview of the key findings within the report. The first element was to look at retail trends and overview of national planning policy and guidance. The health of the town centre was assessed drawing on initial findings, South Oxfordshire District Council’s own retail study and a site visit. The third element was capacity within Thame and its catchment area considering a baseline scenario based on ONS figures and then how that might change given the anticipated housing growth in and around Thame. The final element was to assess the impact of retail floor space coming to Thame. The impact findings were based on four food store options; a small food store based on capacity coming forward over the forecast period, a standard food store of 2,500 sq.m, the Tesco proposal and an Aldi (deep discounter) store. Of these option 1 would have a lower impact but it was thought unlikely that this type of store would come to Thame. Options 2 & 3 would have the greatest impact drawing from larger established stores and option 4 the least impact.
If the local planning authority were to grant planning permission for an out of town store certain planning conditions could be imposed to mitigate impact on the town centre i.e. excluding concessions such as a café, pharmacist, optician and basing any click and collect service in the town centre.
A number of questions had been submitted to Carter Jonas ahead of the meeting and discussion took place on those and other questions raised. The impact on the High Street, should the planning application for a Tesco store be approved, would be a loss in sales of £11.2m; £9.84m on convenience goods and £1.36m on comparison goods.
Members were satisfied with the answers provided by Carter Jonas and agreed the report provided a robust, independent and authoritative view of the impact on the town centre of a potential out of town store.
i) The Retail Impact Study be received by the Town Council and that the report be used by the Town Council for the benefit of the community.
5 1 / 2 Moats Crescent
Mr Chainani spoke on behalf of 10 residents of Moats Crescent and another directly affected by the proposals to build outbuildings in the rear gardens of nos. 1 & 2 Moats Crescent. Mr Chainani referred to information circulated to Councillors ahead of the meeting including three Appeal decisions which demonstrated that applicants of large outbuildings must demonstrate that they are reasonably required for incidental use to the main house in order to be lawful otherwise Certificates of Lawful Development were open to abuse.
It was felt that in particular the second outbuilding was not required for incidental purposes because it was twice the footprint of the original house and tantamount to a dwelling. Secondly the applicant had stated previously the rear garden was surplus to requirements it would therefore follow that the outbuilding was also not needed. Fencing had already been put in place to sub-divide the rear gardens. The applicant had lived in the dwelling for 15 years, it now seemed surprising that there was a need for an outbuilding and the original dwelling had doubled in size through various extensions.
The residents strongly felt that the applications to build outbuildings in the rear gardens of 1 & 2 Moats Crescent were a ploy to circumnavigate planning laws to build a house that had previously been refused. The residents would respectfully request that the Town Council recommend to the District Planning Authority that this application for Lawful Development be refused.
Mrs van der Velde spoke in support of the application as the applicant and stated that the current application was asking for confirmation that the proposed outbuilding did not require planning permission. In fact any resident could build such an outbuilding in their garden without the need for planning permission. Mrs van der Velde could not understand how this application for Lawful Development had been brought before Council for discussion.
Two previous applications to build a house in the garden had been refused and so instead the applicant had decided to build an outbuilding at the same time as the bungalow to allow space for a jewellery workshop, an office, room for language lessons, a table tennis table and gym equipment. The current sheds were too small and cold. Mr Chainani’s statements were misleading and the Appeal decisions to which he referred were not relevant to this application. It was felt that this was a personal vendetta and he had persuaded a number of residents to support him. He had made assumptions about Mrs van der Velde’s personal circumstances that were unfounded and the applicant urged the Council to base their decision on the true facts.
i) Concern is raised with regard to the size of the proposed outbuilding and that a request be made to South Oxfordshire District Council to be vigilant with regard to:
1. Any abuse of the planning regulations that relate to the uses of the outbuilding.
2. Planning conditions attached to planning application P15/S2508/FUL – Rear of 1 Moats Crescent – Erection of a two bed bungalow are adhered to.
The meeting concluded at 8.20pm
Chairman, 1 December 2015