21 June 2022 – Minutes
THAME TOWN COUNCIL
Minutes of the Meeting of Thame Town Council held on 21 June 2022 at 6:30pm in the Upper Chamber, Town Hall, Thame.
Cllrs B Austin, N Champken-Woods, P Cowell (Town Mayor), A Dite (Deputy Mayor), D Dodds, M Dyer, L Emery, H Fickling, K Gregory, and T Wyse
M Sturdy, Town Clerk
C Pinnells, Community Services Manager
K Slater, Office Administration Manager & Responsible Financial Officer
G Markland, Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Officer
1 Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs Bretherton (personal), Deacock (personal), Gilbert (personal), Jones (personal), Midwinter (personal) and Richards (personal).
2 Declarations of Interest and Dispensations
There were no declarations of interest.
3 Declarations of Acceptance of Office
The Town Clerk confirmed that Cllr Gilbert had signed the Acceptance of Office.
4 Civic Announcements.
Cllr Cowell had circulated the list of engagements and commented that this is a busy time
5 Public Participation and Public Questions
There were no applications to address the Council.
There were no questions put to the Council.
6 Thame Neighbourhood Plan 2 (TNP2)
Troy Planning joined the meeting remotely and provided an update on progress towards TNP2 (see appendix A [PDF])
Following the introduction, Councillors questioned various aspects of the draft plan including confusion around the number of houses still to be delivered. It was requested that a matrix be provided to confirm why the current number in the draft plan differs form that in the Local Plan. This would help clarify matters for residents.
A question was raised about the requirement for developers to provide 40% affordable housing on sites where there are more than 10 new properties. Some developers have avoided this by building in two 5 house phases. How can this loophole be prevented?
The permitted development which allows homeowners to turn their front garden into parking spaces was raised as a concern. This could potentially remove on street parking which is available to all and replace it with a space specific to one resident; can this be changed?
The analysis of housing mix was questioned and discussed as there is concern that it appears to have very few 1- and 2-bedroom properties and still allowed for further 5-bedroom properties which does not match the need returned from the Community Land Trust (CLT) household survey. This does not appear to address the issue of affordable house for the people of Thame.
The suitability of the 1- and 2-bedroom properties for the older population was also raised as it is felt that not everyone wishes to downsize to a retirement home.
With more large homes there is a concern that this will put greater pressure on school places. It was explained that the County Council calculated the numbers relating to schools and will have taken into account that most of the new houses will not be occupied for several years, giving time for the current peak student numbers to reduce.
It was felt that the draft plan needed further work to reassure the councillors and public that the roads would not get even busier and that the HNA, which was completed by independent experts, was correct and suitable for Thame.
With regard to design policy, it was requested that the design of any industrial units at the proposed Rycote Lane allocation site include a restriction on height and guidance on appearance to ensure they do not adversely affect views by potentially insisting on how the buildings are distributed and screening is used. In addition, it is important that developers are held to account and complete projects in line with the agreed planning conditions. It was noted that this was not always the case with landscaping elements.
Whilst there is a real concern that we must be able to provide housing for the people of Thame it was also felt that the Council must not make decisions on a nostalgic view of what Thame used to be like and that whilst the expert’s views may not be perfect, they are unbiased.
It was noted that while the proposed housing mix could be adjusted by the council this would risk rejection at the Plan’s examination.
- A new matrix be produced to show how the housing numbers have been reached including an explanation of how the HNA results were arrived at.
- The TNP2 document in its draft form is not approved to go to consultation.
7 Reports from County Councillors
Cllr Cowell thanked them for their report – there were no questions. Cllr Champken-Woods thanked Cllr Gregory for producing the report. Cllr Fickling welcome funding for social care.
8 Reports from South Oxfordshire District Councillors
Cllr Pieter-Paul highlighted from the report; Community grants are opened. The Joint Local Plan consultation is active and closes on Thursday June 23.
EV charges are now in use at Southern Road Car Park and there will be a launch event in early July. Cllr Champken-Woods reported that they were easy to use. However, the payment machines for parking are very slow and should be looked at.
Cllr Pieter-Paul was asked if all Ukrainians are being hosted or are some going into empty housing. He confirmed that they were all being hosted.
Cllr Austin reminded Cllr Pieter- Paul that when work took place to install the EV chargers it was agreed that the disabled spaces would be replaced. As this has not been done yet it was requested that this be chased.
9 Members Questions (under Standing Order 11)
No questions were raised.
The Minutes of the Committee Meeting held on 24 May 2022 were confirmed as a correct record, and were signed by the Chairman.
11 Planning & Environment Committee
The minutes of the meeting held on 14 June 2022 were noted.
12 Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Committee
The minutes of the meeting held on 14 June 2022 were noted.
13 Internal Audit
Members received the Internal Audit Final Update Report 2021-22. The Responsible Financial Officer (RFO) advised there were no issues identified following the Internal Auditor’s visits that warranted formal comment.
14 External Audit / Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR) / End of Year Accounts 2021-22
The RFO presented the report and supporting documentation in relation to the AGAR. It was noted that the Notice of Public Rights and Publication of Unaudited Annual Governance & Accountability Return will be 23rd June – 4th August 2022.
Members expressed a vote of thanks to the RFO in recognition of the hard work involved in undertaking the audits over the last couple of years. There being no questions the following items were agreed:
Annual Governance Statement 2021-2022
- The Annual Governance Statement for 2021-2022 be approved.
Unaudited Financial Statements for the year ending 31 March 2022
- The Unaudited Financial Statements for the year ending 31 March 2022 be received.
Accounting Statements for 2021-2022
- The Accounting Statements for 2021-2022 be approved.
- It be noted that the Notice of Public Rights and Publication of Unaudited Annual Governance & Accountability Return will be 23rd June – 4th August 2022.
15 Thame Fair
The report was noted.
- The offer from the guild to manage and run the 2022 fair for £10,000 be declined.
- The proposal to run the fair in the same way, and at the same cost as 2016/17, with both parties adopting the updated agreement be put to The Showmen’s Guild.
- The Town Council approves the Agreement for signing by the Town Mayor and the Town Clerk.
- That in the event of the Guild not signing the Agreement that further delegated authority is given to the Fair Working Group working with the Community Services Manager and Town Clerk to do what is right for the town.
16 Joint Local Plan
This was held over to ensure Members had a final opportunity to comment on the proposed submission. This will be made in line with the close of consultation on 23 June 2022.
- Cllr Gilbert be appointed to the Planning & Environment and Policy & Resources committees.
18 Mayor of Thame Charity Trust
The annual technical summary of the Mayor of Thame’s Charity Trust for the year 2021-22 was received.
19 P20/S2593/O – Land east of Tythrop Way (B4012) and south of Kingsey Road (A4129), Thame
Noted that this application was withdrawn prior to determination on 20 May 2022
The meeting concluded at 8pm.
Chairman, 2 August 2022