20 January 2015 – Minutes
THAME TOWN COUNCIL
Minutes of the Meeting of Thame Town Council held on 20 January 2015 at 6.30pm in the Upper Chamber, Thame Town Hall
Present: Cllr D Bretherton, N Champken-Woods, A Dite, N Dixon (Deputy Mayor),
D Dodds, M Dyer, L Emery, H Fickling, V Humphries, P Lambert, D Laver,
J Matelot Green (Town Mayor), M Stiles and T Wyse.
H Stewart, Town Clerk
A Oughton, Committee Services Officer
J Collinge, Thame Town Council Planning Officer
1 Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs Butler (Personal) and Welply (Unwell).
2 Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations of interest.
3 Public Participation
Mr Yates, Chair of Oxford Road Residents Association spoke on item 4 – planning application P14/S3841/FUL. Whilst the application fell within the criteria specified in the Thame Neighbourhood Plan there were issues with regard to flooding, sewerage, traffic/access and pedestrian crossings. The developer had addressed some of these issues but due to the recent fire at the District Offices it was not possible to view any reports from other agencies.
Residents living on the edge of the Cuttle Brook flood plain were concerned about the possible increased risk of flooding with the proposed development as the area had already experienced problems with flooding in the last 12 months. Sewerage was a concern as there had already been incidents of raw sewerage spilling onto the path along Oxford Road.
With regard to traffic and access the proposal for access onto the site was welcome, however, it would be difficult for traffic to turn right out of the site onto Oxford Road as vision would be blocked by the brow of the hill. In addition to the two pedestrian crossings included in the plans it was felt these should be supplemented by a controlled crossing by the entrance to the Leisure Centre and Lord Williams’s School and another uncontrolled crossing before Cuttle Brook Bridge to link with the Cuttle Brook Nature Reserve.
4 Site F – P14/S3841/FUL – Land North of Oxford Road
Having considered the planning application for Land North of Oxford Road it was resolved that:
1. The Town Council should be given the opportunity to consider the proposals further once responses on the application had been received from:
i) Oxfordshire County Council, as Highway Authority.
ii) The Environment Agency, in respect of flooding and drainage matters.
iii) Thames Water in respect of foul sewerage capacity.
These responses were not available online when the Town Council considered the application on 20 January 2015 due to the circumstances at SODC.
2. The following objections to the application be lodged with the District Council:
i) Design-based Issues set out below:
a) That, whilst the Design and Access Statement included some details in respect of the distinctive design qualities of Thame, the document failed to sufficiently demonstrate how these principles had been translated in to the design and form of the proposed units and their scale.
b) That within each perimeter block, the form, juxtaposition and relationship between buildings lacks a sense of creating clear and cohesive streets with, in areas, an extensive use of on-street parking.
c) That, in a number of areas, back-to-back distances fall below the privacy standards set out in the South Oxfordshire Design Guide, or would otherwise give rise to overlooking of private areas.
d) That, for a significant number of units, levels of private amenity space fall below the standards set out in the Design Guide.
e) That the scale of the ‘HOG’s’ to the larger houses, combined with the lack of space between the dwellings, would fail to achieve the softer-interface anticipated to the rural edge of the site and result in an inappropriate development in these respects.
f) That, in general terms, there is limited scope for meaningful soft landscaping within each development block, with gaps between buildings generally restricted to hard surfaced parking areas and driveways.
g) That, in places, rear elevations (containing habitable room windows) face on to flank elevations of adjoining buildings at distances where the flank elevation would appear oppressive and overbearing and, in others, the relationship with ‘HOG’s’ would have similar consequences.
h) Some of the detailing on ‘focal buildings’ – particularly the quoining detail – is only proposed on two elevations when, in places, other elevations of the same building will be visible from the public domain. This would appear incongruous.
i) Treatment of the rear boundaries to plots 1 and 3-9, which should be softer.
j) That the siting of a bungalow (plot 198) only 1.0m from a two-storey flank elevation (plot 197) would be inappropriate in street scene terms.
k) Limited rationalisation of the need for, and design of, the wall across the site frontage.
l) There were evident discrepancies between the detailed floor plans and the site layout plan.
m) There was a lack of street scene elevations to assist in the consideration of the factors described above.
n) Graphic evidence should be provided to demonstrate that 1.1 hectares of public open space (excluding the allotments and SUDS) are to be provided within the development area, as indicated in the Design and Access Statement.
o) Having regard to Policies ESDQ 26 and 27 of the TNP, further sections and information is required on the detailing of the proposed dwellings, particularly the focal dwellings.
p) No provision is made for bin storage facilities as an integral part of the dwelling design.
ii) The shortfall in allotment provision and the treatment to the boundaries of such.
iii) The depth and form of landscaping along the northern and western site boundaries.
iv) The provision of Lifetime Homes.
3. That clarification is provided by the District Council on the development in respect of:
i) The delivery of cycle parking.
ii) Whether photovoltaics and/or air/ground source heat pumps are to be used to achieve Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4 which is a requirement of the Neighbourhood Plan.
5 Haddenham Neighbourhood Plan
Members noted that the content and policies of the draft Haddenham Neighbourhood Plan would have limited consequences for Thame.
i) The Haddenham Neighbourhood Plan Team be congratulated for their work on producing the draft Neighbourhood Plan.
ii) Specific support be given to Policy TGA4, concerning the Thame to Haddenham and Thame Parkway cycle route, given that this was consistent with Policy GA3 of the Thame Neighbourhood Plan.
iii) A request be made for Thame Town Council to be consulted on the Submission Version of the Haddenham Neighbourhood Plan.
6 Church Meadow (Cricket Ground) Boundary
At a previous meeting the Council agreed that a boundary be established on the cricket side of the ditch between Church Meadow and Bell Close and registered with the Land Registry.
i) The agreement between Thame Town Council and numbers 3 and 4 Bell Close be signed.
7 Budget and Precept for 2015-2016
The Budget Working Group had worked hard to set a Precept at the lowest possible cost whilst maintaining the existing level of services. The Budget presented showed the total net expenditure for 2015-16 estimated as £556,299 an increase of 0.74% on last year.
The Precept Support Grant to be passed on by South Oxfordshire District Council was £20,794 a 14.2% decrease on last year. This left a balance on the budget for 2015-16 of £535,505. Which using the adjusted tax base for Band D equivalents (4296), resulted in a proposed council tax of £124.65 a year, an increase of 1.5% on last year.
i) The budget for 2015-16 be approved.
ii) £535,505 be raised for the Precept for 2015-16 be approved.
8 For Information
The report from County Councillor Carter was noted.
9 Emergency Item
An update was given with regard to the refurbishment of the Town Hall. During the refurbishment additional work had been identified and completed which had resulted in an increase in expenditure over budget. Also the extension to the rear of the town hall required the walls to be repointed and the flat roof repaired.
The Town Clerk would provide a report to the next meeting for Members to consider.
The meeting concluded at 7.30pm
Chairman, 24 February 2015