16 June 2020 – Minutes


Minutes of the Virtual Meeting of Thame Town Council held on 16 June 2020 at 6.30pm by Zoom Conference Call.


Cllrs B Austin, D Bretherton, N Champken-Woods, P Cowell (Deputy Mayor), A Dite, M Deacock, D Dodds, M Dyer, L Emery, H Fickling, S Francis, K Gregory, C Jones, A Midwinter (Town Mayor), J Tipping and T Wyse


J Cole, Town Clerk
C Pinnells, Community Services Manager
K Slater, Office Administration Manager
G Markland, Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Officer
L Fuller, Committee Services Officer

1 Apologies for Absence

There were no apologies for absence.

All Members who were present were able to be seen and be heard, except Cllr Deacock who had microphone issues and could not be heard.

2 Declarations of Interest and Dispensations

There were no declarations of interest.

3 Civic Announcements

Cllr Midwinter thanked the Maintenance Team and staff who joined them for planting the summer bedding at the Memorial Gardens. Cllr Midwinter was pleased to see the market was able to carry on and continues to be well received by the public, neighbours and stallholders.

4 Public Participation and Public Questions

There were no applications to address the Committee.

There were no questions put to the Committee.

5 Report from County Councillor N Carter

County Councillor Jeannette Matelot provided a verbal report in Cllr Carter’s absence. Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) were encouraging ‘Active Travel’ with the first tranche of £590,000 now allocated. As part of this Thame would receive more cycle racks and businesses would be asked to remove A-boards on the pavements to help keep them clear for pedestrians. Some cycle lanes across Oxfordshire were due to be repainted / refreshed but Cllr Matelot advised there would be none in Thame.

Cllr Matelot reminded Councillors of the upcoming road closure on the A40 at Tetsworth for approximately 25 weeks with the road closure via Thame.

A pedestrian crossing on Wellington Street between Lee Court and Swan Walk had been discussed for a long time, and Cllr Matelot was pleased to report that OCC had applied for CIL funding from South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) and the application had been accepted. To save costs, it was being proposed that the crossing would be positioned near a lamppost for power and existing dropped kerbs. Consideration had also been given to nearby residents who might be affected by the light. Cllr Matelot advised that she would circulate the plans. It was noted that although this would make it safer for pedestrians, there would be a loss of parking spaces.

A question was raised at to what OCC were working on to enable more children to return to school, adding that they needed more guidance due to limited capacity? Cllr Matelot advised that OCC were encouraging this, but had limited control over when (which would be at the discretion of governing bodies and head teachers) and no control over academies. The decision on whether to change the recommended 2 metre social distancing to 1 metre would affect the ability of schools to welcome more students back, and parents personal decisions on whether to send their children back also affected the number of students back in school.

The Town Council had a meeting on 5 June to discuss ideas to put forward to OCC ahead of their deadline later that day for allocation of the first phase of funding (£590,000). The Town Clerk added that the Town Council’s suggestions were sent straight to OCC after that meeting but no acknowledgement had been received. Cllr Matelot advised that county councillors had not been given much notice of the consultation. The second phase of funding (£2.5million) will be available in around 6 weeks’ time, subject to the first phase being spent properly. Cllr Matelot agreed to advise the Town Council of the deadline associated with this funding when it was known, so that the Town Council had time to prepare a response.

A question was raised as to what OCC were doing to provide extra support and policing for the young people of Thame whilst the schools were not open for them? Cllr Matelot advised that policing was not under the remit of OCC and issues of anti-social behaviour should be reported via 101 and local PCSOs.

6 Reports from South Oxfordshire District Councillors

The report was noted. Cllr Bretherton added that on receiving funding from the Government, the indication was that funding would be available for additional expenditure but not loss of income as a result of Covid-19.

A question was raised as to how to apply for the High Street Safety Fund. District Councillor Barker advised that SODC were already in discussions with the town councils on how the money could be spent.

Another question was raised as to why SODC were restricting public participation, including for Town Council representatives, at their virtual planning meetings to written representations only. Cllrs Barker and Bretherton advised that this was due to the software not being secure enough to support more attendees, but alternative software was being investigated. Cllr Gregory added that many members of SODC’s planning committee shared the frustrations over limitations on public participation.

7 Members Questions (under Standing Order 11)

Cllr Champken-Woods asked whether the Town Council’s committee system could be reinstated? Cllr Fickling asked whether the Council could proceed with Planning & Environment Committee meetings? The Town Clerk advised that discussions were already taking place on this and the decision would be down to each committee. Cllr Midwinter advised that this would be progressed.

8 Minutes

The minutes of the meeting held on 2 June 2020 were approved.

9 Planning Applications

It was noted that some Members had objected to planning application P20/S1777/FUL on the grounds of overdevelopment, unneighbourly and dangerous highway access, however the majority voted in support of the application.

The following recommendations from the Planning & Environment Committee were noted:

Alterations to three existing ground floor one bedroom flats to include new external access and additional off street parking, PV roof panels, and a render finish to the first floor.
Thame Town Council SUPPORTS this application and has a RESPONSE to this application:

  • Subject to no objection from the County Highways Officer

Neighbourhood Plan Policies: ESDQ16, ESDQ19, ESDQ29
SODC Local Plan Policies: G5, G6, D1, D2, D4, H13, T1, T2
Core Strategy Policies: CSQ3

Proposed single storey rear extension.
Thame Town Council SUPPORTS this application.
Neighbourhood Plan Policies: ESDQ16
SODC Local Plan Policies: G6, D1, D4, H13
Core Strategy Policies: CSQ3

Single storey rear extension.
Thame Town Council SUPPORTS this application and has a RESPONSE to this application:

  • Subject to a satisfactory test of 45 degree rule from the ground floor window of number 25 Broadwaters Avenue.

Neighbourhood Plan Policies: ESDQ16
SODC Local Plan Policies: G6, D1, D3, D4, H13
Core Strategy Policies: CSQ3

P20/S1726/HH – 9 GARDEN CITY
Proposed house alterations including single storey rear extension, raised roof and two storey front extension.
Thame Town Council SUPPORTS this application and has a RESPONSE to this application:

  • The committee regret the loss of the garage for its original purpose.

Neighbourhood Plan Policies: ESDQ16, ESDQ29
SODC Local Plan Policies: G6, D1, D2, D4, H13, T2
Core Strategy Policies: CSQ3

P20/S1689/HH – 17 ARNOLD WAY
Strip out existing study & enlarge partial garage conversion to form new study including increase in size of side window.
Thame Town Council SUPPORTS this application and has a RESPONSE to this application:

  • The committee regret the loss of the garage for its original purpose.

Neighbourhood Plan Policies: ESDQ16, ESDQ29
SODC Local Plan Policies: G6, D1, D2, D4, T2
Core Strategy Policies: CSQ3

Demolition of existing bungalow and erection of two detached dwellings.
Thame Town Council SUPPORTS this application.
Neighbourhood Plan Policies: H5, GA3, GA6, CLW4, ESDQ11, ESDQ12, ESDQ13, ESDQ14, ESDQ16, ESDQ18, ESDQ19, ESDQ26, ESDQ27, ESDQ28, ESDQ29
SODC Local Plan Policies: G6, D1, D2, D3, D4, D10, D11, T1, T2
Core Strategy Policies: CSTHA1, CSQ2, CSQ3

Removal and replacement of two equipment cabinets and associated ancillary works thereto.
No comments were made to this 28 Day Notice consultation.

Loft conversion and internal alterations
Thame Town Council SUPPORTS this application.
Neighbourhood Plan Policies: ESDQ16
SODC Local Plan Policies: G6, D1, D4, H13
Core Strategy Policies: CSQ3

10 Internal Audit

The Office Administration Manager presented the Internal Audit Second Interim and Final Reports for 2019-20, which had not identified any issues. Cllr Midwinter thanked the Office Administration Manager for her very hard work on this.


i)             The Internal Audit Second Interim and Final Update Reports 2019-20 be received.

11 External Audit / Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR) / End of Year Accounts 2019-20

The Office Administration Manager explained that as part of the Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR), the Annual Governance Statement needed to be reviewed and approved first.

Secondly, the Financial Statement needed to be received. It showed a decrease in General Reserves of £30,734 and an increase in earmarked revenue reserves of £63,516. The Town Clerk had reviewed the budgets and accounts. A deficit of £10,407 was budgeted, it was predicted to be £14,000 at budget setting (6 months in) and turned out to be £30,734 at year end.

Finally, the Accounting Statements needed to be approved and signed.

Cllr Midwinter again thanked the Office Administration Manager, particularly given the challenges of completing the necessary paperwork whilst working remotely.

There being no questions the following items were separately voted on and agreed.

Annual Governance Statement 2019-20


i)             The Annual Governance Statement for 2019-2020 be approved.

Unaudited Financial Statements for the year ending 31 March 2020


ii)            The Unaudited Financial Statements for the year ending 31 March 2020 be received.

Accounting Statements for 2019-2020


iii)           The Accounting Statements for 2019-2020 be approved.

12 Mayor of Thame Charity Trust

The annual technical summary of the Mayor of Thame’s Charity Trust for the year 2019-20 was received. Cllr Midwinter reported that just over £5,000 had been raised for her chosen charity, Lord Williams’s Young Carers, despite having some fundraising events cancelled due to Covid-19. Cllr Midwinter thanked those who had bought tickets for her dinner and chose to donate their ticket money to charity rather than have a refund when it was cancelled.

13 Reports from Representatives on External Organisations

The reports were received.

Cllr Francis asked the Mayor whether she would be able to do a video welcoming the new Mayor of Montessson? The Mayor agreed to do this, with Cllr Tipping volunteering to assist with the videography.

The Thame & District Day Centre had been renamed and rebranded to the Thame Senior Friendship Centre, and a copy of the draft new leaflet was available to view.

Cllr Champken-Woods added that a meeting of the Health Hub was taking place tomorrow.

14 Website Accessibility Audit

The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations 2018, which apply to Thame Town Council’s website, will come into force on 23 September 2020. The Committee Services Officer had been working with the Town Council’s website supplier, Connect Internet Solutions (‘Connect’), over recent months in resolving some content and coding-based accessibility issues on the site. An accessibility audit is not a requirement of the new regulations but would provide confidence in the creation of the required Accessibility Statement and comprehensively identify all accessibility issues on the site, helping the website in meeting international accessibility standards too. £4,000 had been budgeted for a website accessibility audit as part of budget setting based on a quote from Connect in 2019, however it has since emerged that this quote would only sample 5 of the 20 page templates on the site. An updated quote for all 20 templates had come in at £8,435.

Members raised concern that given the £30,000 deficit reported earlier, this appeared to be a significant expenditure. Concern was also raised that Connect had been chosen by default without following the Council’s procurement process. It was explained that Connect were chosen as they had extensive knowledge of the custom-built site and had managed it for 4 years, however it was suggested that perhaps it may be preferable to have an independent company audit the site to offer objectivity.

It was suggested that, given the strain on finances due to Covid-19 and that the procurement process had not been followed, a decision on whether to proceed with the Website Accessibility Audit should be postponed until further information is provided.


i.             A decision on the Website Accessibility Audit is postponed until quotes from two other companies had been obtained.

15 Exclusion of the Press and Public

MOVED that:

i.             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.

16 Appeal Challenge

The Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Officer provided an overview of where the Town Council was with the appeal challenge on the former Daf site. The paperwork had been sent to the court appeal, notices had been served and acknowledgement given by the defendant. The Town Council had not yet been informed if their case would be given permission to proceed. Members would be kept up to date with any changes or further updates.


The meeting concluded at 7:58pm


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