04 April 2023 – Minutes


Minutes of the Meeting of Thame Town Council held on 4 April 2023 at 6:30pm in the Upper Chamber, Town Hall, Thame.


Cllrs N Champken-Woods, P Cowell (Town Mayor), A Dite (Deputy Mayor), D Dodds, M Dyer, L Emery, H Fickling, K Gregory, C Jones, A Midwinter, H Richards, and T Wyse


M Sturdy, Town Clerk
G Markland, Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Officer
L Fuller, Committee Services & Processes Officer
C Peecock, Communications & Events Officer


1 Apologies for Absence

Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs Austin (personal), Bretherton (personal) and Deacock (personal). Cllr Gilbert was absent without apology.


2 Declarations of Interest and Dispensations

There were no declarations of interest. With regards to planning application P23/S0644/FUL, a general dispensation is in place to allow Members to speak and vote on any planning application where the applicant is the Town Council.


3 Civic Announcements

The Mayor reported that he had recently attended a lovely multi-faith Ramadan breaking of fast event in Oxford.


4 Public Participation and Public Questions

There were no applications to address the Council.
There were no questions put to the Council.


5 Members Questions (under Standing Order 11)

No questions were raised.


6 Minutes

The Minutes of the Committee Meeting held on 28 February 2023 were confirmed as a correct record, and were signed by the Chairman.

It was proposed, seconded, and agreed to bring forward Item 11 to after Item 6.


7 Planning & Environment Committee

The minutes of the meeting held on 21 March 2023 were noted.


8 Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Committee

The minutes of the meeting held on 21 March 2023 were noted.


9 Personnel Committee

It was proposed, seconded and agreed to move this item to the end of the meeting, after Item 14.

The minutes of the meeting held on 28 March 2023 were noted. The Town Clerk advised that the Personnel Committee Terms of Reference (Item 9) would be brought to Full Council when available.

It was necessary to exclude the press and public due to the recommendation within the minutes under the item ‘Staffing Matters’.

MOVED that:

  1. Under Section 1, Paragraph 2 of The Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business because publicity would be prejudicial to the public interest by reason of the confidential nature of the business to be transacted.

In line with Financial Regulations, Members were asked to consider funding the remaining 50% of the costs for a member of staff to complete the Community Governance Level 4 qualification. The Town Clerk advised there was training budget available, and this payment would not be due until 2024/25.


  1. The Council approves to fund the remaining Community Governance Level 4 course costs of £3,200 from the Staff Training Budget in 2024/25.

Congratulations were given to the Town Clerk who had recently passed the Certificate in Local Council Administration (CiLCA) course.


10 Annual Town Meeting

The minutes of the meeting held on 14 March 2023 were noted.


11 P23/S0644/FUL – Southern Road Recreation Ground

Demolition of existing changing-room facilities and erection of new community and youth facilities and changing rooms and improvements to the existing Scout Building. Relocation of existing play area and additional car parking. Landscaping and amenity enhancements.

The report was noted. The Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Officer (NPCO) advised that his role was to advise the Council on the application’s compliance with planning policy, and he had not been involved in the preparation of the planning application.

This is a major application for the town. The planning application is comprehensive and well-prepared, with the proposals having been subject to three rounds of consultation with the community and relevant authorities. The NPCO provided context on the site’s setting and relationship with the Cuttle Brook Nature Reserve (CBNR) and Thame Conservation Area.

The proposals will see the changing rooms demolished and rebuilt, alongside a new two-storey community youth centre which will provide a 200-person capacity community hall and flexible spaces to provide long-term sustainability and efficiency. The existing play area will be relocated within the site, to enable additional parking for the new hall. An extension is proposed to the Scout Hut to provide a new reception area and toilet facilities.

The first Thame Neighbourhood Plan (TNP) identified a need for a community facility (Policy CLW1), and subsequent research has supported this. There is also a need for a suitable and safe space for Thame’s young people. The location is identified as suitable for a community facility subject to consultation, therefore TNP policies CLW1 and ESDQ7 have been complied with. As a sustainable location, the proposals also comply with Local Plan policies CF2 and CF3. The landscaping scheme will integrate well with the surroundings including CBNR. The loss of the trees on site is regrettable, however the District’s Forestry Officer is satisfied with the proposed mitigation measures and additional tree planting. It is recommended that the parking provision be subject to no objection from the County Highways Officer. It was also noted that Thames Valley Police have concerns over bicycle parking security, but this can be addressed via suitable measures. A few properties may experience some increased noise disturbance from the play area relocation; however, the area is already used for casual play, so this is expected to be relative.  It was noted that other comments from Thames Valley Police had been received but these could be addressed through minor amendments.

Overall, the NPCO recommended that the Town Council supports this planning application. The proposals were commendable, and the scheme would provide benefits to the community and environment.

Was anything being done to change the alleyway between the Scout Hut and storage garage? The Scout Hut will have additional security measures, and the Scouts have advised that they require the storage garage. Relocating the garage would have an additional cost but could be revisited in future.

Concern was raised regarding the drop-off point in the courtyard, which appeared to be in a pedestrian area with insufficient turning space. This had been identified in the consultation response from Thames Valley Police and should be resolvable in discussion with the County Highways Officer. It was noted that the Scouts needed to maintain vehicle access to the storage garage.


  1. The Town Council supports Planning Application P23/S0644/FUL for the reasons set out in the report.

The NPCO left the meeting after this item.


12 Consultation – Permitted Development Rights: Supporting Temporary Recreational Campsites, Renewable Energy and Film-Making

It was noted that the consultation, as circulated by the Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Officer (NPCO) on 6 March 2023. The consultation closes on 25 April 2023. Councillors are asked to provide any comments to the NPCO, who will collate these and submit the Town Council’s response.


13 Engagement Activity – Area Weight Restrictions

It was noted that Oxfordshire County Council are inviting local stakeholders to share their views on where there are existing or potential future challenges with inappropriate Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) movements. The engagement activity runs until the 10 April 2023, and has been circulated in the Town Council’s newsletter and to residents associations.

Would the proposed development at Moorend Lane be included? Members were asked to feedback any comments to Officers, as this engagement activity covers both existing and potential HGV challenges.


14 Elms Park Refurbishment of Play Area and MUGA

The report was noted. The Town Clerk explained that after years of waiting, progress had been made in securing the S106 funds associated with the long-overdue Elms Park improvements and MUGA relocation. The Council was asked to delegate responsibility to the Community, Leisure & Recreation (CLR) committee to continue to progress this project in line with the allocated £300,000 S106 money with regular reporting throughout. The Town Clerk also explained that the CLR committee, which followed this meeting, would be asked to redefine the Open Spaces Working Group into a Sub-Committee so that it can have delegated responsibility to manage the project in line with legislation.


  1. The Council approve the development of the project to refurbish areas of Elms Park in line with the S106 agreement.
  2. The Council approve delegating responsibility to the Community, Leisure and Recreation Committee for the delivery of the S106 project to improve areas within Elms Park; To include the moving of the MUGA, creation of new pathways, a performance area and replacement of play equipment subject to agreed, regular update reporting.
  3. The Council approve delegation to Community, Leisure and Recreation to spend up to £300,000 of specified S106 funds.


The meeting concluded at 7:05pm.


Signed ………………………

Chairman, 25 April 2023