28 April 2015 – Minutes
THAME TOWN COUNCIL
Minutes of the Meeting of Thame Town Council held on 28 April 2015 at 7.30pm in the Upper Chamber, Thame Town Hall
Present: Cllr D Bretherton, D Butler, 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.
G Hunt, Town Clerk
A Oughton, Committee Services Officer
1 Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from County Cllr Carter.
2 Declarations of Interest
Cllrs Lambert and Wyse declared an interest in Item 16 – Stones Close Allotments as members of the Allotment Society.
3 Civic Announcements
The Mayor had attended a number of engagements and drew particular attention to the Charity Dinner held on Saturday evening. The Mayor thanked everyone who attended for their support; the evening had been a great success and raised £4,100 which would go towards the removal of the Skate Park.
4 Public Participation
It was agreed that public participation would take place at the relevant agenda item.
5 Land North of Oxford Road
P14/S3841/FUL – Amendment No. 2 & 3
Fiona Pettifer and Carol Warwick spoke on behalf of the residents of Town Farm Close against the planning application for Land North of Oxford Road. It was felt the proposals would dramatically change the character and appearance of the area and made reference to comments by the Conservation Area Team. There was an expectation that there would be public open space behind the existing houses of Town Farm Close which was not included in the proposal. It was suggested that if the allotments were situated behind Town Farm Close this would go some way to minimizing the visual impact of the development.
It was expected that no dwelling would exceed two storeys behind Town Farm Close with previous plans showing 1 storey bungalows and a graduation of building heights into the site. However, there were now 2 storey dwellings and a three storey block of flats.
Concern was raised with regard to increased traffic movement, it was already a challenge at busy periods for vehicles to access and egress from Town Farm Close, a problem that would also be mirrored with the new development. It was felt imperative that a pedestrian crossing be installed on Oxford Road to provide a safe crossing point for students, parents, the elderly and other residents.
With regard to flooding it was highlighted that during extensive rainfall the area was prone to flooding and would want assurance from the developers that both drainage and sewage systems would be adequate. The final comment was with regard to the position of the cycle/pedestrian access route to the rear of properties in Town Farm Close which would lead to overlooking into the properties and noise disturbance 24 hours a day.
David Joseph, of Bloor Homes spoke for the planning application for Land North of Oxford Road. The improved scheme to be considered had resulted from consultation with key stakeholder groups, consultees and the Town Council. Discussion and debate had previously taken place with regard to the location of the allotments and the current position reflected the result of those discussions. The amendments showed an increase in hedging along all boundaries and together with all the amendments Mr Joseph hoped the Council would feel able to recommend approval of the application.
The Council’s planning officer set the context of the proposed application against the Neighbourhood Plan and that the Council had agreed in principle the Design Brief for the site in the Autumn of 2014. At that time discussion took place on the location of the allotments and the bungalows and the agreed location at that time was now reflected in the planning application before Council.
In view of the significant improvements that had been made to the original design and layout and the subsequent refinements it was considered that (subject to conditions) the design and layout of the proposed scheme was acceptable and complied with the requirements of the Neighbourhood Plan and site-specific Design Brief.
A formal response had now been received from the County Highways Officer which stated safety was acceptable. Measures to alleviate flooding had been incorporated into the scheme and approved by the Environment Agency. Thames Water had been advised there was a need for capacity work to be undertaken and a study undertaken in conjunction with the Residents Association.
There was a grave concern that Thames Water would not undertake the necessary capacity work to the network to ensure it would cope with the increase in demand once the development was completed. After further discussion and clarifications it was:-
The application be recommended for approval subject to the following:
i) A Grampian Condition be placed stating that development shall not commence until a drainage strategy detailing any on and/or off site drainage works, has been submitted to and approved by, the local planning authority in consultation with the sewerage undertaker. No discharge of foul or surface water from the site shall be accepted into the public system until the drainage works referred to in the strategy have been completed.
ii) Full involvement in matters connected with the Section 106 Agreement, including the identification and delivery of off-site pedestrian links and financial contributions to local services and infrastructure.
iii) In addition to ‘normal’ conditions, specific Planning Conditions in relation to the following:
• Alternative boundary treatments to the parking courtyards – to comprise 1.8m high walls rather than close-boarded fencing.
• Alternative boundary treatments to the school expansion land – to comprise 1.8m high chain link fencing with planting on the southern edge of the allotments and planting to the outside face of fencing to plots 1, 3, 4, 8 and 9.
• That any landscaping scheme includes appropriate provision for soft landscaping within the parking courtyards.
• The removal of permitted development rights for Classes A, B, C and E of plots 182-188 (inclusive).
• That the grey brick/quoining detail on all plots proposed for such be carried through to all external elevations on plots 3, 4, 5, 6, 155, 196, 197, 198, 25, 36/37, 144, 123, 126, 129, 161, 135, 138, 159, 108. With detailed sections provided of fenestration and door details and brickwork arrangement for these plots.
• Approval of details of the surfacing finish for all roads, parking areas and footways.
• Details of bin storage provision, including refinements to the bin storage for plots 168-176.
iv) That where the above ‘specific’ planning conditions require the submission of additional details, the Town Council be consulted in respect of such.
v) That the relevant Residents Associations and the Town Council be fully consulted in the foul sewage study and proposed measures.
6 Lord Williams’s Upper School, Oxford Road
The principal reason for discussion and consideration of this planning application by Full Council was the amalgamation of Lord Williams’s School onto a single site at Oxford Road and in so doing the release of the existing Lower School Site for housing development which was a fundamental component of the Thame Neighbourhood Plan. It was therefore important to consider whether the proposal would, in any way prejudice or affect the delivery of a single site School in physical, planning or financial terms.
Written reassurance had been received from the agent confirming the development would not compromise plans or funding streams for a single site school and it was therefore agreed to recommend approval.
i) Recommend Approval.
7 Report from County Councillor N Carter
Cllr Carter had sent his apologies. There was nothing further to add to the report given to Council on 24 February 2015.
8 Reports from South Oxfordshire District Councillors
Cllrs Bretherton and Dodds had nothing further to add to the reports given to Council on 24 February 2015.
9 Notices of Motion
There were no Notices of Motion.
Cllr Stiles asked Council if it would consider undertaking a formal link between Thame (pronounced Tah-Mey) in Nepal and the Town? It was agreed to suspend Standing Orders to allow Mr Tyson-Taylor, Director and Nepal Specialist, The Snowline to address the meeting.
Mr Tyson-Taylor reported that Thame was located to the west of the main Everest trekking hub of Namche. Following the earthquake in Nepal many had been made homeless or were scared to return to their homes for fear of further earth tremors. News was grim with the death toll over 3,000 and rising. Early reports indicated that the village of Thame had been reduced to rubble, however, no news was available on the state of the school which had been founded and opened by Sir Edmund Hilary. Apa Sherpa, who had climbed Everest 21 times and was a Thame boy, was on the ground in Nepal and able to send regular updates.
Before the disaster it had been an ambition to twin the schools of Thame and Thame and undertake cultural exchanges. The focus now was on what immediate relief could be given and thought to long term support. Cllr Matelot Green reported that Rotary would be sending a shelter box.
After discussion it was agreed that as a first step a letter of support would be sent from the Town Council to officials in Thame.
i) A letter of support be sent from the Town Council to officials in Thame.
The minutes of the Council meetings held on 17 March 2015 and 7 April 2015 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Mayor.
12 Policy & Resources Committee
The minutes of the meeting held on 21 April 2015 were noted.
Item 10 – Standing Orders
i) The words “In a non-election year,” be added to the start of Standing Order 7.4(a) be approved.
ii) Other changes to Standing Orders 3, 6, 7, 9, 10, 13, 24 and 31 be ratified.
Item 11 – Full Council AGM and Civic Reception Date Change
i) The Full Council AGM currently scheduled for 6.30pm on 12 May 2015 be cancelled and replaced with an initial induction/training session for all elected Councillors.
ii) The Civic Reception currently scheduled for 7.30pm on 12 May 2015 be cancelled and rescheduled to a date in June agreed with the incoming Mayor.
iii) The Full Council AGM be rescheduled to 6.30pm on 19 May 2015.
13 Community, Leisure & Recreation Committee
The minutes of the meeting held on 14 April 2015 were noted, and the recommendations were approved.
Item 8 – Flagpole
i) A flagpole be installed in the pavement outside the Town Hall be approved.
ii) A recommendation be made to Full Council that £1,807.90 be released from the Capital Rolling Fund.
Item 9 – Wood Chipper
i) The purchase of a Greenmech Arborist 150-26 wood chipper for use by the Maintenance Team be approved.
ii) A recommendation be made to Full Council that £12,898.75 be released from the Capital Rolling Fund to purchase the wood chipper and £1,650.00 be released from the General Reserves Fund to remove the existing waste.
Item 11 – Thame Carnival
i) A recommendation be made to Full Council to support the event and that associated salary expenditure up to £335 be released from Revenue Funds.
Item 14 – Historic Signage
i) A recommendation be made to Full Council that the Thame Urban District Council Extension of Waterworks and Installation of Filtration Plant 25 March 1933 signage is placed on long term loan with the Thame Museum.
Cllr Stiles reported that since the last meeting the Red Kite Children’s Centre had received a positive report following the OFSTED inspection.
14 Planning & Environment Committee
The minutes of the meetings held on 10 March 2015, 31 March 2015 and 14 April 2015 were noted.
15 Schedule of Meetings
The draft Schedule of Meetings for 2015-16 was presented. Members noted it was good to know meeting dates in good time and that it was the intention to present the draft Schedule of Meetings for the following Civic Year for consideration in December.
i) The Schedule of Meetings for 2015-16 be approved.
16 Stones Close Allotment
It was agreed to allow Kate Cooper, Chair of Stones Close Allotment Society to address the meeting.
Kate reported that a number of challenges had been faced with regard to the access gate to the Allotments over the last four years. Due to the large number of people accessing the site the padlocks had been upgraded several times to withstand the continual use. The gate was not designed for the purpose and had begun to sag. It was difficult to get in and the fear was that once on the allotments visitors would then have difficulty leaving or worst case scenario be unable to get out.
Residents in sheltered housing close by had been encouraged to use the green open space in the allotments but due to age and/or disability they found the gate very difficult to open and close.
The Allotment Society and the Town Council had a partnering agreement and during the last four years the Society had not approached the Council for any assistance or financial help. The Society operated on a very small budget managing to pay public liability insurance, utility bills and purchase petrol for the lawn mower. These costs were met through membership subscription and fundraising. The new gate and lock would cost £1,000 which the Society would purchase and look to the Council for financial support to cover the ground works for the removal of the existing gate and installation of the new gate at a cost of £750.
Members asked if the Allotment Society would consider applying for funding through the Council grant scheme that was currently open for applications. It was felt that this course would delay installation of the gate.
After discussion Members agreed to fund the cost of the ground works, however, to ensure the smooth installation of the new gate and lock the Council would oversee the whole project with the Allotment Society contributing up to £1,000 towards the total cost, aiming to cover the cost of the gate.
i) The Town Council fund the ground works for the removal of the existing gate and installation of the new gate at a cost of £750.
ii) The Town Council purchase the new gate and lock on behalf of the Stone Close Allotment Society and oversee the installation project.
iii) Stones Close Allotment Society donate up to £1,000 towards the cost of the project.
17 Retail Impact Study
It was agreed to allow Claire Nickless of Thame Centre First to address the meeting. Claire had read the Scoping Document before Council with regard to the Retail Impact Study and thought it was a good start. Claire stressed that little had changed with regard to the uncertainty retailers felt to an edge of town supermarket and the impact it would have on retail businesses in the town centre and this had not changed since she addressed the Council in February. Claire urged the Council not to be complacent and to engage a highly skilled consultant to carry out the Study.
The Scope of Work document had been drafted by the retiring Clerk and copied to the Residents Associations inviting their comments ahead of the meeting. Members discussed whether the Study should have a wider scope than that of the impact of an out of town superstore on the town. It was agreed that the Scoping document be sent to the Economic Development Team at South Oxfordshire District Council for comment.
i) The Town Council seek the view of the District Council Economic Development Officer.
ii) The Town Clerk to refine the Scope of Work document and progress the appointment of a Consultant to undertake the Retail Impact Study.
18 Sports Facility Strategy
The Strategy required a number of minor amendments to be made before the document could be finalised. It was agreed that the alterations be made and the final document be tabled for approval by the new civic administration.
19 Rugby Club
i) The Loan Agreement between Chinnor Rugby Football Club and the Town Council be signed and sealed.
20 Skate Park
i) The Capital Grant Award Agreement between South Oxfordshire District Council and the Town Council be signed and sealed.
The meeting concluded at 9.12pm
Chairman, 19 May 2015