10 May 2022 – Minutes
THAME TOWN COUNCIL
Minutes of the Meeting of Thame Town Council held on 10 May 2022 at 6:30pm in the Upper Chamber, Town Hall, Thame.
Cllrs B Austin, D Bretherton, N Champken-Woods, P Cowell (Town Mayor), M Deacock, A Dite (Deputy Mayor), D Dodds, M Dyer, H Fickling, C Jones, A Midwinter, H Richards, and T Wyse
M Sturdy, Town Clerk
K Slater, Office Administration Manager / Responsible Financial Officer
L Fuller, Committee Services Officer
A Outgoing Mayor Announcements
The Mayor had reflected on the past year and recalled a year ago when this meeting was held in a large room at the Spread Eagle with all the covid-19 precautions. Once restrictions were lifted, a memorable event had been an evening at Dorchester Abbey with the Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire.
The Mayor thanked all of the Officers for their fantastic support and keeping the Town Council running. The Town Council welcomed its new Town Clerk, and the Mayor was pleased to report that she had passed her probation, which was greeted with a round of applause from Members. Unfortunately, the Town Council had lost James Tipping as Councillor due to business pressures, and the Mayor thanked him for all his efforts during his time as Councillor.
During his Mayoral year, the Mayor had been fundraising for his charity, Thame Youth Projects, and was pleased to announce that £5,800 had been raised. Cllr Cowell presented Linda Newton, Chair of Thame Youth Projects, with a cheque and thanked everyone for supporting the charity.
The Town Clerk presented the outgoing Mayor with a photobook of his Mayoral year on behalf of the Town Council.
Cllr Richards entered the meeting during this item.
1 Election of Town Mayor
Town Mayor, Cllr Cowell, called for nominations for the position of Town Mayor. It was moved and duly seconded that Cllr Cowell be elected as Town Mayor.
- Cllr Cowell be elected Town Mayor for the ensuing year.
Cllr Cowell thanked the Council for re-electing him as Mayor and looked forward to working together.
2 Declaration of Acceptance of Office by Town Mayor
Cllr Cowell signed the Declaration of Acceptance of Office of Town Mayor for the ensuing year.
3 Election of Deputy Town Mayor
Town Mayor Cllr Cowell called for nominations for the position of Deputy Town Mayor. It was moved and duly seconded that Cllr Dite be elected as Deputy Town Mayor.
- Cllr Dite be elected Deputy Town Mayor for the ensuing year.
4 Declaration of Acceptance of Office by Deputy Town Mayor
Cllr Dite signed the Declaration of Acceptance of Office of Deputy Town Mayor for the ensuing year.
5 Mayor’s Report
The year ahead presented the Council with some fantastic opportunities, with the primary focus being to bring Officers and Councillors together as a single organisation. A review of the whole team structure would help futureproof the organisation and go forward as a town. The review would look at the economic, environmental, and business credentials of the organisation to identify projects and priorities and roll out a strategic plan as part of the budget setting for 2023-24. It will be important to communicate and be transparent with residents as much as possible. It is also important that the work is enjoyable, and the team have fun doing it.
Finally, the Mayor advised he would be supporting Thame Youth Projects and Thame Senior Friendship Centre as his charities this year.
6 Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs Emery (personal) and Gregory (personal).
7 Declarations of Interest and Dispensations
There were no declarations of interest.
8 Public Participation and Public Questions
There were no applications to address the Council.
There were no questions put to the Council.
9 Standing Orders
The Town Clerk advised that the Standing Orders had been reviewed and two cosmetic changes were proposed as outlined in the report, but otherwise the Standing Orders were unchanged.
- The updated Standing Orders be adopted.
10 Financial Regulations
The Office Administration Manager & Responsible Financial Officer (RFO) advised that a few minor amendments had been made to reflect that the Town Clerk and RFO roles had been split, and that appointed managers had access to the debit card, and to include BACS payments in addition to cheque payments.
- The updated Financial Regulations be adopted.
The Town Clerk advised that the Delegations Policy had been updated to remove reference to parking appeals but was otherwise unchanged.
- The updated Delegations Policy be adopted.
The report was noted, within which the Town Clerk highlighted that as part of the wider council review and strategy development, all committee responsibilities would be reviewed more cohesively and reported back to Full Council in due course.
- The unchanged Committee Responsibilities and Terms of Reference be adopted.
- The updated Committee and Working Group structure be adopted.
13 Appointment of Standing Committees
The Committee Services Officer presented the proposed Committee Membership based on each Member’s committee preferences. As a result, there was a vacancy on the Planning & Environment Committee, and this assumed the new Councillor once co-opted would sit on this committee.
Cllr Jones volunteered to switch from the Policy & Resources Committee to the Planning & Environment Committee. The new Councillor, once co-opted, would therefore sit on the Policy & Resources Committee so there were no committee vacancies.
- Cllrs Austin, Deacock, Dodds, Emery, Fickling, Jones, Midwinter, and Wyse be appointed to the Planning and Environment Committee. Once the new Councillor is co-opted, they will sit on this committee to complete the membership.
- Cllrs Bretherton, Champken-Woods, Deacock, Dyer, Emery, Gregory, Jones, Richards, and Wyse be appointed to the Community, Leisure, and Recreation Committee.
- Cllrs Austin, Bretherton, Champken-Woods, Dodds, Dyer, Fickling, Gregory, Midwinter, and Richards be appointed to the Policy and Resources Committee. Once the new Councillor is co-opted, they will sit on this committee to complete the membership.
- Cllrs Austin, Bretherton, Champken-Woods, Dyer, Emery, Fickling, Jones, Midwinter, and Richards be appointed to the Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Committee.
- Cllrs P Cowell (Town Mayor), A Dite (Deputy Mayor) and Chairmen of the Policy and Resources Committee, Community, Leisure, and Recreation Committee, Planning and Environment Committee and Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Committee be appointed to the Personnel Committee.
14 External Organisations
The list of External Organisations had been updated to reflect that the Thame & District Housing Association had been removed as reported to the Policy & Resources Committee in April 2022. The role of the representative for the Barns Centre had been updated to include ‘trustee’ to reflect the responsibility of the role. There are two organisations currently without a representative – Thame Youth Projects and Thame Youth Memorial Trust.
Cllr Bretherton volunteered to be the representative for Thame Youth Projects, as a member of the Community Youth Centre Working Group. Cllr Dyer volunteered to be the representative for Thame Youth Memorial Trust, as a trustee of the organisation. Cllr Richards volunteered to support Cllr Champken-Woods as representative for the Health Hub.
It was noted that the role of the Welfare Trust representative is a trustee, as well as management board member.
- Barns Centre – M Deacock, D Dodds & Town Clerk
- Chinnor Rugby Football Club – D Bretherton
- Citizens’ Advice – B Austin
- Cricket Club – N Champken-Woods
- Cuttle Brook Management Committee – C Jones
- Friends of Elms Park – N Champken-Woods
- Health Hub (including Community Hub Pilot) – N Champken-Woods & H Richards
- Music in the Park – C Jones
- National Association of Local Councils – Chair, Policy & Resources
- Red Kite Family Centre – L Emery
- Sinaia Friendship Association – D Bretherton
- Thame Carnival Committee – L Emery
- Thame Business Forum – M Dyer
- Thame Senior Friendship Centre – A Midwinter
- Thame Football Partnership – M Dyer
- Thame Good Neighbour Scheme – A Midwinter
- Thame Museum Trust – P Cowell & L Emery
- Thame Town Music Festival – T Wyse
- Thame Shed – T Wyse
- Thame Sports Club – C Jones
- Thame Youth Memorial Trust – M Dyer
- Thame Youth Projects Group – D Bretherton
- Transport Representative – D Bretherton
- Twinning Association – L Emery
- 21st Century Thame – H Fickling
- Welfare Trust – N Champken-Woods
- Cllr Bretherton be appointed as the council representative to Thame Youth Memorial Trust.
- Cllr Dyer be appointed as the council representative to Thame Youth Projects Group.
- Cllr Richards be appointed to support Cllr Champken-Woods as the council representative for the Health Hub.
- All other external organisation representatives, as listed above, be appointed.
15 Members Questions (under Standing Order 11)
No questions were raised.
The Minutes of the Council Meetings held on 26 April 2022 and 28 April 2022 were confirmed as a correct record, and were signed by the Chairman.
17 Planning & Environment Committee
The minutes of the meeting held on 3 May 2022 and were noted.
18 Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Committee
The minutes of the meeting held on 3 May 2022 were noted.
19 Insurance Contract
The Office Administration Manager & RFO advised that the current insurance policy expires at the end of May 2022, and the current provider had proposed a 20% increase. Officers had sought a like-for-like market comparison and the top three providers were presented in the report. Company B was the most competitive quote, and it was recommended that the Council appoint them for the next 3-year insurance contract.
It was clarified that the cost listed was per year, which seemed rather high. The Office Administration Manager & RFO advised that this was reflective of the various assets which the Town Council must insure, and that Company B were offering an annual saving of £700.
Could the Town Council use the insurance policies of the District or County Council to save money? The Office Administration Manager & RFO advised that the Town Council had to take out separate cover for the assets it owns.
It was noted that the premium had increased following an insurance claim at the Cricket Clubhouse last year, where it was found that the building was more timber than stone, as stated in the original insurance, which was a greater fire risk. It was suggested that this be noted for the Community Youth Centre building project.
It was confirmed that there are no outstanding claims with the current provider.
- Company B be appointed as the insurance provider for the next three years.
20 Reserve Site C – Public Open Space
The Town Clerk reported that she had met with Officers at South Oxfordshire District Council last week and had hoped to provide an update to this evening, however further information was awaited and therefore an update would be presented to the next Full Council.
21 Youth Memorial
The report was noted. The five-year partnering agreement had expired in April 2022 and was presented, unchanged, for Council to approve its signing and sealing for another five years.
- The sealing of the Youth Memorial and Council Partnering Agreement be approved.
22 Thame Football Partnership Artificial Pitch
It was noted that Section 106 Agreement between South Oxfordshire District Council and Thame Town Council has been signed and sealed.
The meeting concluded at 7:00pm.
Chairman, 24 May 2022