24 May 2022 – Minutes


Minutes of the Meeting of Thame Town Council held on 24 May 2022 at 6:30pm in the Upper Chamber, Town Hall, Thame.


Cllrs B Austin, P Cowell (Town Mayor), A Dite (Deputy Mayor), D Dodds, M Dyer, L Emery, H Fickling, K Gregory, C Jones, A Midwinter, H Richards, and T Wyse


M Sturdy, Town Clerk
L Fuller, Committee Services Officer


1 Apologies for Absence

Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs Champken-Woods (personal) and Deacock (personal). Cllr Bretherton was absent without apology.


2 Declarations of Interest and Dispensations

There were no declarations of interest.


3 Public Participation and Public Questions

Cllr Gregory entered meeting during this item.

Mr David Dawson spoke as a candidate for the Casual Vacancy. Mr. Dawson has lived in Thame for 10 years and enjoys its strong community values. This was the second time that Mr Dawson had addressed the Council, following his presentation to support 20mph last month. Prior to living in Thame, Mr. Dawson had experience working with and being involved in his local community. It is important to work together to deliver projects and learning and listening from experienced Members. The best decisions are made on solid evidence, and Mr. Dawson was keen to learn more about Thame, the Town Council and its procedures. Mr. Dawson has experience in communications and would like to help the Town Council’s communications reach as many as possible in the community, so that the community can appreciate the Town Council’s hard work. Thame has a strong community spirit, which Mr. Dawson would like to maintain as Thame expands.

Mr Andy Gilbert spoke as a candidate for the Casual Vacancy. He has also lived in Thame for 10 years, with his wife working at the Rycote Surgery and children previously students at Lord Williams’s School. Since 2016, Mr. Gilbert has been running his marketing consultancy business from home. Mr Gilbert described himself as a team player with a head for business and a heart for compassion. He hoped to encourage people to be more civic minded and environmentally conscious. Mr. Gilbert is involved in Thame’s community through Thame United, St Mary’s Church, Inter Church Productions and Thame Foodbank, and has worked as a Returning Officer for South Oxfordshire District Council during the elections, but is keen to do more in his community.

The candidates were asked whether they would consider standing at the next elections if they were not co-opted this evening? Mr Gilbert advised that he would, and hoped Mr. Dawson would do the same, as they were both good candidates.

It was proposed and seconded that Item 6 be taken immediately next.


4 Members Questions (under Standing Order 11)

No questions were raised.


5 Minutes

The Minutes of the Committee Meeting held on 10 May 2022 were confirmed as a correct record, and were signed by the Chairman.


6 Co-Option

It was agreed to suspend Standing Orders for this item to allow for a paper ballot rather than voting by a show of hands. Two candidates had applied for the casual vacancy and their applications were noted. Following the ballot, Mr. Andy Gilbert was appointed to serve until the next local elections in May 2023. The Mayor thanked both candidates for applying and congratulated Mr. Gilbert on being co-opted. The Town Council looked forward to working with him.


7 Thame Fairs

Cllr Fickling left the meeting during this item.

Mr. Phillip Searle from The Showmen’s Guild presented the Town Council with a proposal for the Guild to take over the management of the Fair with an offer of £10,000 to the Council. The Guild would require the Town Council to apply for the road closure, remove street furniture and clear the car parks.

The Guild were asked why they wanted to take on the Fair management? Mr. Searle advised that in recent years there had been differing views between the Guild and Town Council on how the Fair should be managed, and this was interfering with the smooth running of the Fair. The Guild felt that they would be able to provide a better service for the town, and they had recently taken over the management of the St Giles’ (Oxford) and London Fairs as the Guild sought to move its organisation forward.

Could the Guild apply for the road closure? Mr. Searle advised the Guild could do this and it would be taken on board.

The Guild had already made this request to the Council’s Fair Working Group who asked for information and costs from St Giles, to identify any issues that the Council would need to consider. It was felt this information was needed before a decision could be made. Mr Searle advised it would be on a 1-year trial basis and there would be no changes from how the Fair was run last year.

Members raised concern about the Guild self-regulating their own Fair, particularly with regards to ride positioning and noise disturbance in the Town Centre. Mr. Searle advised that the Guild has strict processes for paperwork and noise compliance, and that they would work with the Town Council and Fire Chief to resolve any issues in advance.

The proposal that the Guild had submitted was received at too late notice to be reviewed by Council this evening, which Mr. Searle apologised for. It was agreed that the Town Council needed to review the proposal in detail, follow due diligence, and it would be brought to the next Full Council meeting. The Town Council is accountable to the public and must ensure that the Fairs are being managed in accordance with their wishes, particularly given the Fair’s long history in the town.


8 Grants

The report and Grant Panel’s recommendations were received.


  1. The grant awards as recommended by the Grant Awards Panel be agreed in accordance with the powers identified in Appendix 1.


The meeting concluded at 6:56pm.



Signed ………………………
Chairman, 21 June 2022