19 May 2015 – Minutes


Minutes of the Meeting of Thame Town Council held on 19 May 2015 at 6.30pm in the Upper Chamber, Thame Town Hall

Present: Cllrs B Austin, D Bretherton, D Butler, N Champken-Woods, P Cowell,
M Deacock, N Dixon (Town Mayor), D Dodds, M Dyer, L Emery (Deputy Mayor), H Fickling, C Jones, P Lambert and A Midwinter.
G Hunt, Town Clerk
A Oughton, Committee Services Officer


A Outgoing Mayor Announcements

Cllr Matelot Green welcomed everyone to the meeting especially the newly elected councillors. Special thanks was given to David Laver who had stepped down from being a councillor after 16 years loyal service.

As the Annual Town meeting had been held during purdah the presentation of the cheque to the Mayor’s chosen charity, had not taken place. Cllr Matelot Green called upon the representatives of the Skate Park to receive a cheque for the sum of £9153.00 which had been raised through several charitable events held during the civic year.


1 Appointment of Mayor

Town Mayor, Cllr Matelot Green called for nominations for the position of Town Mayor. It was moved and duly seconded that Cllr Dixon be appointed Town Mayor. It was then moved and duly seconded that Cllr Emery be appointed Town Mayor. On being put to the vote it was:


i) Cllr Nichola Dixon be elected Town Mayor for the ensuing year.

2 Declaration of Acceptance of Office by Mayor

Cllr Dixon signed the Declaration of Acceptance of Office of Town Mayor and thanked fellow councillors for electing her.


3 Appointment of Deputy Mayor

Nominations were called for the position of Deputy Mayor. It was moved and duly seconded that Cllrs Butler, Champken-Woods and Emery be elected as Deputy Mayor. On being put to the vote it was:


i) Cllr Emery be elected Deputy Mayor for the ensuing year.

4 Declaration of Acceptance of Office by Deputy Mayor

Cllr Emery signed the Declaration of Acceptance of Office of Deputy Mayor.


5 Apologies for Absence

Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs Stiles (Holiday) and Wyse (Holiday).


6 Declarations of Interest

Cllr Cowell declared an interest in item 22: Skate Park and was granted a dispensation and took part in the discussion but abstained from voting.


7 Declarations of Acceptance of Office

The Town Clerk confirmed that all 16 councillors had duly signed their Declaration of Office.


8 Mayor’s Allowance

Members were asked to agree the Mayor’s allowance of £2000 for expenses incurred during the civic year.


i) The Mayor’s Allowance of £2000 for the civic year be approved.

9 Committees

The Committee Structure, Terms of Reference and Delegations were presented for approval.


i) The Committee Structure, Terms of Reference and Delegations be approved.


10 Appointment of Standing Committees


i) Cllrs B Austin, D Bretherton, P Cowell, M Deacock, D Dodds, H Fickling, A Midwinter, M Stiles and T Wyse be appointed to the Planning and Environment Committee.

ii) Cllrs D Butler, N Champken-Woods, P Cowell, M Deacock, M Dyer, C Jones, P Lambert, A Midwinter and M Stiles be appointed to the Community, Leisure and Recreation Committee.

iii) Cllrs B Austin, D Bretherton, D Butler, N Champken-Woods, D Dodds, M Dyer, H Fickling, C Jones, P Lambert and T Wyse be appointed to the Policy and Resources Committee.

iv) Cllrs N Dixon (Town Mayor), L Emery (Deputy Mayor) and Chairmen of the Policy and Resources Committee, Community, Leisure and Recreation Committee and Planning and Environment Committee be appointed to the Personnel Committee.


11 External Organisations

a) Barns Centre – D Butler, D Dodds & Town Clerk
b) Chinnor Rugby Football Club – D Bretherton
c) Citizens Advice Bureau – B Austin
d) Cricket Club – N Champken-Woods
e) Cuttle Brook Management Committee – C Jones & M Stiles
f) Health Summit – N Champken-Woods
g) Music in the Park – TBC at the next Community, Leisure & Recreation Committee meeting
h) National Association of Local Councils – Chair, Policy & Resources
i) Red Kite Childrens Centre – N Dixon
j) Sinaia Friendship Association – D Bretherton
k) Thame Carnival Committee – L Emery
l) Thame Business Forum – Chair, Policy & Resources
m) Thame & District Housing Association – D Butler
n) Thame Football Partnership – M Dyer
o) Thame Museum Trust – D Butler & L Emery
p) Thame Remembers – D Bretherton & M Dyer
q) Towersey Festival – D Bretherton & P Lambert
r) Transport Representative – M Stiles
s) Twinning Association – D Butler
t) 21st Century Thame – L Emery & H Fickling
u) Welfare Trust – N Champken-Woods


i) The Members as listed above be appointed as representatives to the named External Organisations.


12 Schedule of Meetings

The Schedule of Meetings for 2015-2016 was received and agreed.


13 Standing Orders and Financial Regulations

The proposed changes to Standing Orders included:

i) Where the Chairman of a Committee was not able to attend the Budget Working Group or Personnel Committee meetings the Deputy Chairman may attend in their place.

ii) Discussion took place on the relaxation of rules on public participation at meetings to allow a member of the public to raise a question on any subject related to the Council. Members raised concern on the process by which a question would be dealt with but agreed in principle to the suggestion.

iii) Minor cosmetic changes such as ‘he’ to read ‘they’.

iv) 35.0 to remove the following wording ‘……and written undertaking to observe the Code of Conduct adopted by the Council’.


i) Standing Orders, to include amendments i), iii) and iv) above, be approved.

ii) Town Clerk to draft refined public participation section, to include questions, for agreement at a future meeting of the Council.

iii) Financial Regulations be approved.


14 General Dispensations

It was good practice to review General Dispensations at the beginning of each new administration. The Dispensation Policy together with the proposed additions would allow the Council to discuss business which would otherwise be precluded through Members having particular interests.


i) The General Dispensations described in the report be adopted and the Dispensation Policy updated accordingly.


15 General Power of Competence

The Localism Act 2011 introduced the General Power of Competence for Town and Parish Councils subject to certain criteria being met. The Power gave Town and Parish Councils the power to do anything that an individual may do and confidence in a legal capacity to act for their communities. The Town Council met the criteria and was therefore qualified to take up the General Power of Competence.


i) The Council meets the criteria for eligibility for the General Power of Competence relating to the electoral mandate and relevant training of the Town Clerk.


16 Mayor’s Report

Cllr Dixon thanked everyone for their support and pledged to do her very best. Her chosen charities for the year would be the Thame and District Day Centre and Thame to Thame. Cllr Dixon had been reminded that she had once pledged that if ever elected to the Office of Town Mayor she would jump out of an aeroplane and stated this would be one of her fundraising events during the year. Cllr Dixon would also lend support to the initiative to Licence the Town Hall for Weddings.


17 Notices of Motion

There were no notices of motion.


18 Questions

There were no questions.


19 Minutes

The minutes of the Council meeting held on 28 April 2015 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Mayor.


20 Planning & Environment Committee

The minutes of the meeting held on 28 April 2015 were noted.


21 Annual Town Meeting

The minutes of the meeting held on 5 May 2015 were noted.


22 Skate Park

Cllr Cowell thanked everyone for their support and looked forward to serving the town as a newly elected Councillor. In 2002 the Town Council made the bold decision to build a Skate Park which had become a figurehead for the Town and a great success. The Skate Park was self-policing and there had been no reports of major accidents. Over the last 18 months users of the Skate Park had put time into fundraising and joined with the working group to choose the design and the contractor for the new Park. The current Park was at its end of life and the facility, if not replaced, would be a great loss to the town and would lead to Skate Boards being used in other parts of the Town such as Lord Williams’s School or retail and town car parks. Cllr Cowell urged the Council to be bold in its decision.

Consideration was given to the options available to meet the shortfall in funding. Members felt all opportunities to obtain grant funding and Section 106 money should be pursued but that the Council should agree to fund any resulting shortfall to ensure that funding from the SODC Capital Fund was not lost and the project moved forward.


i) Potential funding from Sport England, Section 106 money and other sources be pursued.

ii) Any shortfall up to a maximum of £75,000 be underwritten by the Town Council.


The meeting concluded at 7.48pm

Signed ……………………..
Chairman, 23 June 2015