26 April 2016 – Minutes
THAME TOWN COUNCIL
Minutes of the Meeting of Thame Town Council held on 26 April 2016 at 7.30pm in the Upper Chamber, Thame Town Hall
Present: Cllrs B Austin, D Bretherton, P Cowell, N Dixon (Town Mayor), D Dodds, M Dyer, L Emery (Deputy Mayor), H Fickling, C Jones, P Lambert, M Stiles and T Wyse.
G Hunt, Town Clerk
L Spokes, Community Project Officer
A minute’s silence was held in remembrance of former Councillor, Beatrice Dobie, who passed away on 25 April 2016.
1 Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs Butler (Personal), Champken-Woods (Holiday), Deacock (Business), Midwinter (Holiday) and County Councillor Carter (Business).
2 Declarations of Interest and Dispensations
There were no declarations of interest.
3 Civic Announcements
Cllr Dixon expressed what a particularly busy month she had had. She recommended to Members the recently published Roaming Midsomer book.
4 Public Participation and Public Questions
The Town Clerk explained to Members that local resident, Ms Fisher, had submitted a question regarding the proposed parking restrictions on Elms Road which had also been considered at the preceding Planning & Environment meeting. It had been resolved that a letter be drafted by the Town Clerk to County Councillors Carter and Wilmshurst for improved communication and representation on the matter.
5 River Thame Conservation Trust
Nick Marriner, Louise Bowe and Mike Furness gave an informative presentation to Members on the aims and functions of the River Thame Conservation Trust. The presentation began with an informal quiz on the source, mouth and length of the river which revealed that 88 parish councils and over 400 landowners were involved in its health and maintenance.
The aims of the Trust were to maintain a good water quality from source to mouth and to increase awareness and appreciation of freshwater wildlife. With a team of two part-time staff, 11 trustees and over 50 volunteers, the Trust worked towards its aims by undertaking water quality surveys, bird and amphibian surveys and practical habitat improvement. The Trust worked effectively with farmers, landowners and agencies including the Environment Agency and Thames Water but requested future support from the Town Council to raise awareness of the Trust, to assist with its lobbying and promotional activities, and to work together to mitigate the impact of development on the river via S106 funding.
Thanks were expressed by Members for an enlightening presentation.
6 P15/S2166/RM – Land West of Thame Park Road, Thame
Amendment No. 2
The report from Jack Collinge Planning Consultancy was presented and additional correspondence was read out to Members. It was felt that the latest amendments to the application addressed all concerns except the garden boundary treatments to some plots and the alignment of the riverside walk. Members expressed their faith in the Town Clerk and the Council’s planning consultant that sufficient work had been done to ensure the Council would continue to have an input on the riverside path and boundary detail.
i) Given written assurances from the developer and SODC that the remaining Town Council concerns are covered by conditions and the section 106 agreement, Thame Town Council recommends that the planning application be approved, subject to:
a) Plans 201E and 202D being excluded from the list of approved plans, with boundary treatments to be agreed pursuant to the recommended ‘Boundary Treatment’ condition of the Reserved Matters approval, in consultation with the Town Council
b) the exclusion of Plans 509A and 510A from the list of approved plans (and plan 100D insofar as it relates to the area of land covered by plans 509A and 510A), and that a further application for the partial discharge of the remaining landscaping reserved matter (relating to the land covered by Plans 509A and 510A, and including the alignment of publicly accessible routes on such land) be subject to consultation with the Town Council
7 Report from County Councillor N Carter
Councillor Carter gave his apologies for the meeting. A report was expected to be circulated to Members in the coming week.
8 Reports from South Oxfordshire District Councillors
District Councillor Matelot Green updated Members that the District Council’s Corporate Service Project had been signed off and that interviews for a new Chief Executive had recently taken place. The IT committee had recently negotiated a new contract saving £1million and PWC had been appointed to undertake a review into the devolution options for Oxfordshire. Rules for SODC grants had recently changed allowing Councillors to discuss and vote on applications from their respective wards; in the last round of applications nothing had been received from groups or organisations in Thame.
Cllr Dodds reiterated comments that no organisation from Thame had applied for a grant and requested additional publicity on the funding opportunities available. SODC had recently licensed a new taxi service in Didcot with no exhaust emissions. It was hoped this would be repeated across the district to assist in reducing pollution. Cllr Dodds finished by highlighting that the District Council’s Corporate Plan included funding to support Thame Cattle Market to move from its current location in North Street. He stressed that this would have big repercussions on the town and would need careful consideration when the time came.
9 Notices of Motion
There were no notices of motion.
10 Members Questions (under Standing Order 11)
Referring to a Parliamentary Act of 1605, Cllr Bretherton raised the question “Where are the town’s stocks?” Cllr Bretherton continued to inform Members that other Town and Parish Councils had replaced or repaired their stocks in recent years. It was agreed that the Town Clerk would do further research into the matter.
The minutes of the Council meeting held 1 March 2015 and 15 March 2016 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Mayor.
12 Personnel Committee
The minutes of the meeting on 19 April 2016 were noted.
Item 5 – Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Officer
i) The role is changed to full time (at a cost of an additional £17k per annum) and recruitment re-executed as soon as practically possible. Town Clerk to establish source of additional funding required beyond agreed budget for 2016-17. Budget to be updated for 2017 onwards (although likely to be covered by tax base increase and possible receipt of planning fees in due course).
13 Policy & Resources Committee
The minutes of the meeting on 19 April 2016 were noted.
Item 13 – Thame Football Partnership Permission Requests
i) Thame Football Partnership be supported by the Town Council in submitting the planning application as stated in the report and for officers to take the relevant steps required by the Lease.
ii) The additional use of the Facility for the purposes of filming and related parking as stated in the report be noted.
Item 14 – Lea Park 20mph Speed Limit Survey
i) £500 be taken from the Localism Fund to commission the initial speed survey, in conjunction with Lea Park Residents Association.
Item 15 – SODC Economic Development Projects
i) The various fund be allocated/reallocated as documented.
14 Community, Leisure & Recreation Committee
The minutes of the meeting on 12 April 2016 were noted.
Item 8 – Memorial Gardens Flagpole
i) The installation of a Flag Pole in the Memorial Gardens be approved in principle, subject to the exact position agreement with other parties.
ii) Up to £1,485 be released from the Capital Rolling Fund for works as detailed in the report.
Item 11 – Thame Carnival Operational Support
i) Operational support, as detailed in the report, be given to the Carnival.
ii) Associated salary expenditure of up to £350 be released from Revenue Funds.
15 Planning & Environment Committee
The minutes of the meeting on 15 March 2016 and 5 April 2016 were noted.
16 Annual Town Meeting
The minutes of the meeting on 22 March 2016 were noted.
17 Town Mayor Designate
Town Mayor, Cllr Dixon called for nominations for the position of Town Mayor Designate. It was proposed that Cllrs Dodds and Emery be considered for the position of Town Mayor Designate. On being put to the vote it was:
i) Cllr Emery be elected Town Mayor Designate for the ensuing year.
18 Deputy Town Mayor Designate
Town Mayor, Cllr Dixon called for nominations for the position of Deputy Mayor Designate. It was proposed that Cllrs Dixon and Dodds be considered for the position of Deputy Mayor Designate. On being put to the vote it was:
i) Cllr Dixon be elected Deputy Mayor Designate for the ensuing year.
The Town Clerk appealed to Members for support with a Town Council float at the upcoming Carnival. Cllr Lambert said he was busy assisting with other aspects of the event including a 6-a-side football competition and the East Street road closure. Cllrs Emery and Stiles also stated they were busy manning stalls but would assist as and when they could.
It was decided that an email should be circulated from the Community Services Manager to Members with further information about the event and what would be involved.
20 Risk Management Policy
i) The Risk Management Policy be adopted.
21 Rugby Club Funding
Cllr Bretherton gave Members an update on the position of Chinnor RFC, noting that the biggest issue facing the club and its expansion plans was trying to balance the availability of funds to when they were required by the project. S106 funding allocated for ‘outdoor sport’, generated from the development at 17 Thame Park Road, was available from SODC and it was recommended that the Town Council support the club in applying for this, approval of which would subsequently release additional match-funding. Cllr Bretherton assured Members that applying for this funding would not have a detrimental impact on other town projects and would be the best and most appropriate use of the available funds.
i) Council assists Chinnor RFC in applying for £35,369 of available s106 funding towards improvements to facilities, subject to assurances related to increased community use.
22 Branding and Website
The branding and website update was noted.
23 Saturday Surgery
Cllr Stiles presented her report on the six-month Saturday Surgery trial that had come to an end in March 2016 and expressed her thanks to those that had taken part. Feedback from Members had been mixed; 26 residents had visited the surgery but most issues had related to Oxfordshire County Council.
It was generally felt that Members should make themselves available to their electorate as much as possible. Comments were made that the surgeries gave more informal access to people who were less inclined to attend a public meeting and had the additional benefit of allowing Councillors to get to know each other better.
It was suggested that the word ‘surgery’ was off-putting to many and an alternative, more accessible name should be considered. It was also proposed that, in addition to monthly Saturdays, Councillors could make themselves available at the Town Hall on Tuesday evenings when not required for committee meetings. Those wishing to take part in future drop-in sessions were asked to express their interest and availability to Cllr Stiles who would draw up a rota.
It was highlighted that, regardless of which format Members chose to pursue, the responsibility of following up issues raised at these sessions lay with the Councillor who initially received them.
i) Councillor Saturday Surgeries be renamed to ‘Drop-in’
ii) Drop-in sessions continue on Saturdays and Tuesday evenings according to the availability of interested Councillors with Cllr Stiles organising the rota.
24 Freedom Parade – 8 May 2016
A verbal update on the upcoming Freedom Parade was given to Members and was duly noted.
25 Church Farm Archaeological Finds
i) The transfer of archeological items found on Church Farm to the Oxfordshire Museums Service be approved and the Transfer of Title Agreement be signed.
26 Monitoring of 2 hour On-Street Parking
The Town Clerk informed Members that he had personally conducted an informal survey of on-street parking over the previous weeks and noted that there had been a number of repeat offenders who had been breaching the 2 hour parking restrictions. The proposal for the Council’s car park attendants to extend their role to include monitoring the on-street parking had already been trailed and was very much welcomed by Thames Valley Police.
On receiving the report, Members were in strong support of the proposal, expressing a want for this to be extended further to include double-yellow lines. It was agreed that it was best to start in one area and look to include the monitoring of double-yellow lines in the future.
i) The Town Council’s Car Park Attendants extend their role to include sampled checking of the 2 hour on-street parking for a trial period of 6 months be approved.
ii) Offender details be passed on to the Local Neighbourhood Policing Team for police to action be approved.
The meeting concluded at 8.55pm
Chairman, 10 May 2016