18 May 2021 – Minutes
THAME TOWN COUNCIL
Minutes of the Meeting of Thame Town Council held on 18 May 2021 at 6:30pm in The Fothergill Hall, Spread Eagle Hotel, Thame.
Cllrs B Austin, D Bretherton, N Champken-Woods, P Cowell (Deputy Mayor), A Dite, D Dodds, M Dyer, L Emery, H Fickling, K Gregory, C Jones, A Midwinter (Town Mayor), H Richards, J Tipping and T Wyse
C Pinnells, Acting Town Clerk
L Fuller, Committee Services Officer
A Outgoing Mayor Announcements
Cllr Midwinter welcomed Members, Officers, and the public to the first in-person Council meeting since March 2020. It was lovely to see everyone together again.
Cllr Midwinter welcomed the newly elected Town Council Member, Cllr Helena Richards, to the Council and hoped she enjoyed her time working with other Members for the benefit of the town. Congratulations were also given to Cllrs Champken-Woods and Gregory on being elected to Oxfordshire County Council (OCC). Thame Town Council was fortunate to have representation on the District and County Councils.
It had been an honour to serve as Mayor for the last three years, although Cllr Midwinter had not intended on serving for so long! What had come to the fore during the pandemic was how Thame’s community, businesses and charities had come together with support from the Town Council.
The Town Council Officers had helped to keep the Town Council on track during difficult times, whilst continuing to deliver projects including the artificial pitch at Thame Football Club, the Green Living Plan, Community Land Trust, and various planning matters. Cllr Midwinter gave a big thank you to all the staff who had carried out their work in a professional manner and supported her in her role. Cllr Midwinter also thanked her fellow Councillors, particularly her Deputy Cllr Cowell, who had dealt with various staff matters.
The pandemic had meant that the Mayor’s usual fundraising events were cancelled, however her charity, Lord Williams’s School Young Carers, was presented with a cheque for £6,000. Cllr Midwinter thanked the Office Administration Assistant for all her support. Cllr Midwinter would be presenting her cadet’s certificate when the group started meeting again.
Finally, Cllr Midwinter thanked her husband for all his support.
1 Election of Town Mayor
Town Mayor, Cllr Midwinter 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.
2 Declaration of Acceptance of Office by Town Mayor
Cllr Cowell signed the Declaration of Acceptance of Office of Town Mayor and took the chair.
A vote of thanks was proposed and seconded to the departing Mayor. Cllr Midwinter had been the town’s ambassador for three consecutive years, carrying out her duties joyfully and with a smile on her face. Cllr Midwinter had been a credit to the town and Council and was thanked for leading the council during her time as Mayor.
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 Champken-Woods be elected as Deputy Town Mayor.
- Cllr Champken-Woods be elected Deputy Town Mayor for the ensuing year.
4 Declaration of Acceptance of Office by Deputy Town Mayor
Cllr Champken-Woods signed the Declaration of Acceptance of Office of Deputy Town Mayor.
5 Apologies for Absence
Apologies were received from Cllr Deacock (personal).
6 Declarations of Interest and Dispensations
Cllr Dodds declared an interest in Item 18 due to family relations, however as this was a noting item there would be no discussion.
7 Declarations of Acceptance of Office
It was confirmed that Cllr Richards had signed her Declaration of Acceptance of Office, following the elections. Cllr Cowell welcomed Cllr Richards to the team and looked forward to working together.
8 Public Participation and Public Questions
Mrs Mary Stiles had some questions for the Council regarding the recently launched 120 Bus Service, which was welcome. Mrs Stiles was concerned that there had not been enough publicity and, if the service was on an 18-month trial, this may mean not enough people use the service. Mrs Stiles asked:
- Whether the Town Council would be producing and delivering a leaflet for homes on the route?
- Whether the bus service will go via Park Street?
- Was the bus a single or double decker?
- How the service had been funded?
Cllr Bretherton advised that he had printed timetables for residents of Towersey Drive, and the short single-decker bus was going via Park Street in the opposite direction to the 280 service. Cllr Fickling added that the service had been initiated by the operator who was already running a service from Aylesbury to Thame but had two hours downtime. After discussions with OCC, who also presented the idea to the Town Council’s Planning & Environment Committee in December 2020, a route was proposed. Regarding funding, Cllr Austin advised that the service had been funded from S106 monies that were already allocated to Thame, totally around £41,000. OCC held around £909,000 in S106 transport funds for Thame.
Mrs Cathy Gaulter-Carter spoke as a member of Chinnor & Thame Friends of the Earth and Thame Green Living and asked the Town Council to support a 20mph speed limit in Thame. There was a call for action for low-speed streets. During the lockdown, with lower levels of traffic, people had increased confidence to walk and cycle on quieter roads, as well as benefiting from cleaner air. Thame was becoming an ever increasingly popular place to live but with this came an increase in traffic movements and pollution. A 20mph speed limit in Thame would help to avoid losing Thame’s precious ambience and attractiveness, as well as increasing people’s confidence when exercising outdoors and having numerous mental and physical health benefits. Furthermore, the Thame Green Living Plan consultation had shown support for this idea and it was a priority within the plan. Mrs Gaulter-Carter hoped that the Town Council would support a ’20 is plenty’ campaign and it would form part of the revised Thame Neighbourhood Plan.
Cllr Cowell advised that the Transport Plan Working Group, which reports to the Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Committee, would be looking at various matters and how they impact on Thame and the Town Centre. The group would look at what could be done.
Cllr Cowell thanked both speakers for their time.
The report was noted. The documents as presented were last reviewed in May 2019. The Acting Town Clerk advised that the Terms of Reference for each committee had been reviewed. There were a few changes to the Planning & Environment Committee and Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Committee Terms of Reference, which were outlined in the report. The Delegations Policy now showed the Responsible Financial Officer’s responsibilities more clearly, given that this is now a separate role within the Council. Regarding the Committee / Working Group Structure, it was recommended that the Town Council should review this in the next 9 months with the new Town Clerk in post.
A question was raised with regards to the overlap of transport between the Planning & Environment and Neighbourhood Plan Continuity committees. The Acting Town Clerk advised that there was a differentiation in terms of policy and strategy, and working with Oxfordshire County Council, although it was recognized that this would need to be looked at as part of the review.
- The revised Committee Responsibilities, Committee Terms of Reference and Delegations Policy be adopted.
- The Committee / Working Group structure is reviewed within the next nine months.
10 Appointment of Standing Committees
The proposed Committee Membership was presented based on each Member’s committee preferences. As a result, there was a vacancy on the Planning & Environment Committee. The Acting Town Clerk advised that Cllrs Bretherton and Gregory, as Members of the Planning Committee at South Oxfordshire District Council, could not sit on this committee. Cllr Midwinter volunteered to fill the vacancy.
- Cllrs B Austin, M Deacock, A Dite, D Dodds, L Emery, H Fickling, H Richards, A Midwinter and T Wyse be appointed to the Planning and Environment Committee.
- Cllrs M Deacock, A Dite, M Dyer, K Gregory, C Jones, A Midwinter, H Richards, J Tipping and T Wyse be appointed to the Community, Leisure and Recreation Committee.
- Cllrs B Austin, D Bretherton, A Dite, D Dodds, M Dyer, H Fickling, K Gregory, C Jones, A Midwinter and J Tipping be appointed to the Policy and Resources Committee.
- Cllrs B Austin, D Bretherton, M Dyer, L Emery, H Fickling, H Richards, C Jones, A Midwinter, and J Tipping be appointed to the Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Committee.
- Cllrs N Champken-Woods (Deputy Mayor), P Cowell (Town 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.
11 External Organisations
The External Organisations appointments were presented. There were no changes however there were vacancies for the 21st Century Thame, Twinning Association and Transport Representative following a Councillor resignation in March 2021.
Cllr Emery volunteered to become the Twinning Association representative and Cllr Bretherton volunteered to be the Transport Representative. Cllr Fickling advised she was happy to be the sole representative for 21st Century Thame.
- 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
- 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 & District Housing Association – L Emery
- 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 – J Tipping
- Thame Youth Projects Group – J Tipping
- Transport Representative – D Bretherton
- Twinning Association – L Emery
- 21st Century Thame – H Fickling
- Welfare Trust – N Champken-Woods
- The Members as listed above be appointed as representatives to the named External Organisations.
- Cllr Emery be appointed as the Twinning Association Representative.
- Cllr Bretherton be appointed as the Transport Representative.
12 Standing Orders and Financial Regulations
The Acting Town Clerk presented the Standing Orders and Financial Regulations, which had not been reviewed since May 2019. There were no wording changes to the Standing Orders, but some Standing Orders had been made in bold font to denote they were statutory. The Financial Regulations had been updated to be in line with the current NALC model. It was noted that there was an unfinished sentence on Section 5.8 of the Financial Regulations which would be corrected after the meeting.
- The revised Standing Orders and Financial Regulations be adopted.
13 Mayor’s Report
Cllr Cowell reiterated the thanks given earlier in the meeting to Cllr Midwinter, who had done a fantastic job. Cllr Cowell welcomed Cllr Richards and encouraged her to bring new ideas to the Council and challenge existing ways of thinking.
The Council had gone through a different period over the last 18 months. There was a need to consider the Council’s structure and resources, and to develop the Town as the people of Thame wished. It was hoped that Members would come together and work as team, accepting differing views and embracing new thinking. The urgent first task was to recruit a new Town Clerk.
Cllr Cowell was looking forward to working with everyone and was always available.
14 Members Questions (under Standing Order 11)
Cllr Wyse asked which charity / charities the Mayor would be supporting during his Mayoral year?
Cllr Cowell advised that he would be supporting Thame Youth Projects Group. Cllr Cowell also added that his cadet appointment would come in due course as he was awaiting responses to e-mails.
The minutes of the Council meeting held on 27 April 2021 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Mayor.
16 Planning & Environment Committee
The minutes of the meeting on 4 May 2021 were noted.
17 1420 – P21/S1632/RM – Land North of Rycote Lane Near Thame
Reserved matters following outline permission (P17/S4441/O) for appearance, landscaping, layout and scale. The erection of up to 180,000 square feet (up to 16,722 square metres) of B2/B8 with ancillary B1(a) and B1(c) together with parking, drainage, landscaping (structural and incidental) and highway works.
Cllr Cowell confirmed that an extension had been granted by the District Council, so the Town Council would be considering this application at its next meeting on Tuesday 22 June 2021.
18 Planning Applications – Additional Information / Amendments to Note
The Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Officer’s report was noted. It was noted that the Town Council’s responses to the various planning application would not be altered by the additional information / amendments received.
The meeting concluded at 7:10pm.
Chairman, 22 June 2021