06 August 2019 – Minutes
THAME TOWN COUNCIL
Minutes of the Meeting of Thame Town Council held on 06 August 2019 at 6.30pm in the Upper Chamber, Thame Town Hall
Cllrs D Bretherton, N Champken-Woods, P Cowell (Deputy Mayor), M Deacock, A Dite, D Dodds, M Dyer, L Emery, H Fickling, S Francis, K Gregory, C Jones, A Midwinter (Town Mayor), J Tipping and T Wyse
G Hunt, Town Clerk
C Pinnells, Community Services Manager
L Fuller, Committee Services Officer
1 Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Austin (Personal).
2 Declarations of Interest and Dispensations
There were no declarations of interest.
3 Civic Announcements
The Mayor’s attendances were noted.
Cllr Midwinter wished the retiring head teacher at Lord Williams’s School, David Wybron, a long and happy retirement. David has served the school for 28 years including the last 14 years as head. Cllr Midwinter also wished Jon Ryder well in his new role as head teacher.
Reverend Alan Garratt was also retiring having served Thame for 11 years. Cllr Midwinter wished him a long and happy retirement and thanked him for leading the town’s Remembrance Service each year.
The RAF Cadets had recently celebrated 25 years and Cllr Midwinter had been to see them to congratulate.
Cllr Midwinter thanked Thame Players for providing live theatre in Thame for 75 years. They do a fantastic job and are a great asset to the town.
Cllr Midwinter also thanked Johnnie Littler and all of his helpers in providing another fantastic Thame Town Music Festival. The town was alive and everyone had a really good time.
The volunteers and churches who helped organise last week’s Lighthouse week in Thame were thanked. Cllr Midwinter also thanked the Councillors and Officers who had volunteered their time to help. Over 800 children took part in Lighthouse and 30 people attended Silver Lighthouse.
4 Public Participation and Public Questions
There were no applications to address the Council.
There were no questions put to the Council.
5 Reports from County Councillor N Carter
Cllr Carter introduced his report which had been circulated to Councillors and summarised Oxfordshire County Council’s recent activities.
Cllr Carter highlighted some of the items including potential changes to the county’s waste management strategy. Changes were needed due to increasing population and pressures on the existing system.
The prospects of the changing District Council Local Plan and the implications that has on County Council activity were also highlighted. Cllr Carter also noted the section of the report on the Climate Emergency and the summer holiday activities available at the County’s libraries.
A question was raised about whether the County Council had seen an increase in fly-tipping reports following the closure of the Bledlow Household Recycling Centre? Cllr Carter reported that he was not aware of an increase in reports however there has been an increase in awareness around prosecution. Cllr Carter added that the District Council may be more aware of fly-tipping reports.
6 Reports from South Oxfordshire District Councillors
Cllr Gregory introduced the report which had been circulated to Councillors.
The Council had their first meeting of the new administration on 18th July 2019 where there were lots of items on the agenda. The main discussion point was SODC’s Local Plan. Cllr Gregory said that Cabinet were going to be looking at funding options and the next Council meeting was in September where further discussions would take place.
Cllr Gregory reported that the Climate Emergency Advisory Committee, of which she was a member, was yet to meet.
Cllr Gregory also stated various other items from the report which SODC were focusing on as well as the polling station review, county cycling survey and food & safety inspections. SODC’s Food and Safety Team were among the top performers in the country.
Cllr Bretherton added that with regards to fly-tipping, SODC had recently prosecuted someone from Littlemore for this offence.
A question was raised why the cycling survey did not include Thame? Cllr Bretherton advised that the survey was being carried out by the County and this question should have been directed to Cllr Carter.
Cllr Champken-Woods reported that the Thame & District Day Centre had recently had a Food & Safety Inspection and they were extremely pleased with the Officer who had carried out the inspection. Cllr Gregory said she would pass this on to SODC.
7 Members Questions (under Standing Order 11)
No questions were raised.
A motion to amend the minutes did not find a seconder.
Cllr Dite asked for an update on the arrangement of a meeting for the Open Spaces Working Group with regards to Elms Park. The Town Clerk stated that the Town Council was waiting to see what, if any, contribution Rectory Homes were going to be make before arranging a meeting, but it was on the to-do list.
The minutes of the meeting held on 18 June 2019 were approved and signed by the Mayor.
Cllr Francis requested that her vote of objection to approving the minutes from 18 June 2019 was recorded, as her view was that Minute 5 was misleading.
9 Policy & Resources Committee
The minutes of the meetings held on 14 May 2019 and 30 July 2019 were noted.
10 Community, Leisure & Recreation Committee
The minutes of the meetings held on 14 May 2019 and 16 July 2019 were noted.
11 Planning & Environment Committee
The minutes of the meetings held on 2 July 2019 and 23 July 2019 were noted.
12 Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Committee
The minutes of the meeting held on 23 July 2019 were noted.
13 Personnel Committee
The minutes of the meetings held on 9 July 2019 were noted.
14 Environmental Policy
Cllr Fickling introduced the Environmental Policy which had originally started in 2016 following guidance from ISO (International Organization for Standardization). It has since been resurrected and, following discussions with various Councillors, Thame Green Living and Officer Management Team, various amendments had been made. This version (V4) had been circulated to Members on 26 July 2019.
The Town Clerk explained that Version 5 was also available for discussion, which included comments made by one Member and two options for wording on the Investments section (2.6), and this was something the Members needed to decide.
A question was raised regarding the difference between the two investment options? The Town Clerk explained that Option 2 allowed for more flexibility than Option 1 and for discussions to take place with our Investment Managers. It would mean we can work with the Town Council’s existing Investment Strategy rather than making a quick decision upfront.
Cllr Dodds stated that this was becoming a very fundamental and important policy, containing matters that needed due consideration. Cllr Dodds quoted Standing Order 9.5 and proposed that this policy be discussed at the next Policy & Resources Committee. The proposal was seconded and there was no further discussion.
15 Christmas Lighting Scheme
The Community Services Manager introduced the report on the Christmas Lighting Scheme. Seven tender applications had been received and the Christmas Lights Working Group, made up of Councillors and Officers, had scored each proposal. There had been a robust scoring system which considered design, cost and technical aspects. The Working Group had chosen Option 2 in Tender G and satisfactory references had since been received. The Community Services Manager advised that the Tender documents were available to view if a Member was interested.
A question was raised as to how the cost compared to the previous contract? The Community Services Manager stated the cost was in budget and was slightly less than the previous contract.
A member raised a concern about the amount of money being spent on the scheme with a feeling that the residents of Thame would not be impressed to learn this. The scheme was compared to that of another Town Council who were paying £18,000 over three years for their Christmas Lights contract. The member also felt that the lighting designs chosen were tacky and awful.
i) The five year contract (2019-2023) with Contractor G, as detailed within their tender document and subject to further tender clarifications to ensure appropriate coverage, be approved.
16 Bledlow Household Recycling Centre
Cllr Midwinter reported that the total for the recently launched fundraising appeal to re-open Bledlow Household Recycling Centre was slowly increasing and that Princes Risborough Town Council had recently committed £1,000. A meeting in August was scheduled and the group, led by Buckinghamshire County Councillor Bill Bendyshe-Brown, was working to a deadline of March 2020 to submit a planning application as this was when BCC was becoming a Unitary Council. Cllr Midwinter reported that there had been an increase in fly-tipping, including directly outside the Bledlow HRC.
A Member asked how much had been raised via the crowd funding appeal? The Town Clerk reported that it was currently at £2,300 and Members could stay informed via the link in the Town Council’s e-newsletter.
Cllr Deacock asked the Mayor for an update on the bins outside Prezzo (and adjacent CoLuCo) which were still located on the pavement. The Town Clerk reported that enforcement were involved and that there had been lots of discussion. The Town Council had received a letter from Oxfordshire County Council asking for evidence which the Town Clerk will action soon.
17 Polling Station Review
South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) had recently launched a public consultation review on their Polling Stations across the district. The Returning Officer had made some comments which were circulated to Members, and Cllr Midwinter noted that Thame had been mentioned as SODC were keen to avoid using schools as polling stations where possible. The Town Clerk asked Members to email him with suggestions for any changes to the polling station arrangements in Thame.
It was felt that the Snooker Club worked well as alternative polling station to Barley Hill School in this year’s elections. There was a concern about disabled access but it was reported that the disabled ramp was promptly placed when required. A question was raised as to whether there was a difference in turnout compared to last year with this change of venue? The Town Clerk will add this question to the response. It was noted that for residents of Lea Park, the walk was much further as access through Barley Hill School was not available.
18 Thame Community Land Trust – Community Loan
Cllrs Midwinter and Bretherton declared an interest in this item as they are both members of the Thame Community Land Trust and did not engage in debate for this item. Cllr Cowell chaired the meeting for this item.
The Town Clerk introduced the report. The Thame Community Land Trust (CLT) had successfully applied for various grants however the criteria requires the Thame CLT to spend money before they can receive the money. Therefore Bob Austin, a member of Thame CLT, had approached the Town Clerk to request a Community Loan Facility of up to £20,000, to aid cash-flow, to allow the delivery of the Thame CLT.
Members felt this was a sensible idea, even if the situation did seem illogical.
i) A community loan facility of up to £20k is made available to Thame Community Land Trust, subject to the detail in the supporting report.
19 Joint SODC / TTC Charity Fundraiser
Cllr Midwinter and Cllr Bretherton as Chairs of Thame Town Council and SODC respectively were seeking approval in principle to hold a joint charity fundraiser in the High Street Car Park in Spring 2020. Cllr Bretherton added that they need this approval in order to be able to book the necessary equipment, and that the initial responses to the idea had been very positive. A concern was raised as to whether it would clash with other town events which traditionally take place in Spring 2020 and also the Bank Holiday for VE Day? The Community Services Manager advised that it would likely be held on the early May Bank Holiday but would ensure that it didn’t clash with any other town event.
i) The High Street Car Park and service road be closed for a date in Spring 2020 for a joint fundraising event on behalf of the Chairmen of Thame Town Council and South Oxfordshire District Council, subject to further details to be established in due course.
20 World Car Free Day
Cllr Francis introduced the proposal for an event on 22 September 2019 to celebrate World Car Free Day in Thame. The initial idea was to extend the road closure following the September Fair and have a town centre event, however this was not operationally possible. The event would now be a ‘Pedalling Picnic’ starting from the Upper High Street Car Park to Southern Road Recreation Ground where there will be a community picnic between 2pm and 5pm. Cllr Francis and the event organisers would assist with the setting up and down, to relieve demands on the Town Council’s Maintenance Team, and no road closure would be required. Some assistance from Officers would be required with Risk Assessments and Safety Management, and there may be some costs involved as outlined in the report. Cllr Francis invited the Mayor to judge the best bike design.
A concern was raised that the event was next month and that there may not be sufficient time to organise it? Cllr Francis said that the event would not go ahead if there was not enough interest on the registration list.
i) The Town Council supports the proposal for a ‘Pedalling Picnic’ event as part of World Car Free Day on Sunday 22 September 2019.
The meeting concluded at 7:26pm
Chairman, 19 November 2019