27 October 2015 – Minutes
THAME TOWN COUNCIL
Minutes of the Meeting of Thame Town Council held on 27 October 2015 at 6.30pm in the Upper Chamber, Thame Town Hall
Present: Cllrs B Austin, D Bretherton, D Butler, N Champken-Woods, M Deacock,
N Dixon (Town Mayor), D Dodds, M Dyer, L Emery (Deputy Mayor), H Fickling,
C Jones, P Lambert, A Midwinter, M Stiles and T Wyse.
G Hunt, Town Clerk
Morag Robinson, Office Administration Manager
Lizzie Spokes, Community Project Support Officer
A Oughton, Committee Services Officer
A The meeting was preceded by the presentation of a cheque for £10,000 from the The Skatepark Working Group to Thame Town Council.
1 Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Cowell (Business), County Councillor Carter and District Councillor Matelot Green.
2 Declarations of Interest and Dispensations
Cllr Dodds declared an interest in item 11 as a trustee of the Thame Museum. Cllr Lambert declared an interest in item 17 as a relative was employed by one of the companies named as a potential supplier.
3 Civic Announcements
The Town Mayor had attended a number of events since the end of July and declared it had been very busy but enjoyable. A number of Councillors and Officers had visited the Battle of Britain Bunker at RAF Uxbridge and the Town Mayor had laid a Thame Remembers Cross at the grave of Sgt Perry in Berkhamsted.
4 Public Participation and Public Questions
The following question was put to the Town Council by Ms Humphries on behalf of Mr Chainani:
‘Bearing in mind a number of recent appeal decisions by Planning Inspectors which indicates that an outbuilding the size of a house is very unlikely to be incidental to the enjoyment of the main dwelling and therefore is unlawful can the Town Council please (re)consider the two applications for a Certificate of Lawfulness for an outbuilding in the land to the rear of 1 Moats Crescent (P15/S1361/LDP) and 2 Moats Crescent (P15/S3285/LDP) at the next Full Council meeting on 3 November 2015 (as unfortunately the next Planning Committee meeting is on 11 November which is after the consultation deadline of the 5 November for application P15/S3285/LDP) and if appropriate request that the matter be referred to SODC Planning Committee bearing in mind the impact this decision will have on the character of homes not just in the crescent and surrounding streets but across the town as whole?
On being asked if there was a supplementary question Ms Humphries replied that the issue had been ongoing for the last 18 months and that a group of residents were seeking the support of the Town Council.
It was agreed that the question be discussed at the next Full Council meeting on 3 November 2015.
5 Cricket Club
Mr Lachlan, Mr Swain and Mr Thomas gave a presentation, on behalf of Thame Cricket Club, on the plans to redevelop the clubhouse. The Cricket Club had been in Thame for over 130 years and located at Church Meadow since the 1970s. Since then it has grown in size, membership and number of teams that play and was the largest summer sports club in the town.
The current clubhouse, which was built from a converted barn in 1974, had come to the end of its useful life. The Club Committee has a business plan for the club to redevelop the clubhouse and form stronger links with Lord Williams’s School, the primary schools, local businesses, sports clubs and the community. The Club believed the time was now right to redevelop the facilities in view of the anticipated growth of the town.
The proposal was for a modern building in keeping with the status of the Club and to accommodate other users. It was intended that Thame Hockey Club, who currently do not have their own clubhouse, would share the facility. The clubhouse would also provide a venue for play groups, business functions, parties and receptions and would have a positive impact on both local sport and the community.
It was proposed to move the new clubhouse forward by approximately 15m from its current position to be closer to the boundary, this would free up car parking space for the Barns Centre and potential burial space for the Church. The design would be sympathetic to the surrounding area with a pitched roof, clay tiles and stone clad.
Initial discussions had taken place with the Town Council and construction costs were based on current prices with a built in contingency. If successful in obtaining funding from the Town Council the plan would be to submit a planning application in the first quarter of 2016 and to secure the remainder of the funding with a view to starting construction in September 2017 and to be completed in time for the start of the 2018 Summer season.
6 Report from County Councillor N Carter
Cllr Carter had sent his apologies and stated that a written report would be circulated to Councillors in the next few days.
7 Reports from South Oxfordshire District Councillors
Cllr Champken-Woods reported that he had attended a governance meeting at which Thame and Henley Town Councils had been praised on the success of the election count in May. In August 2012 the Town Council had agreed that Thame would become one ward but the District Council had not been notified. If the Council were still of a view that Thame should become one ward, after ratification at Council, all that would be needed would be a letter of notification be sent to SODC.
Cllr Champken-Woods, when questioned on the District Council’s intention to withdraw the Council Tax Reduction Scheme grant reported that he had lobbied members of the District Cabinet and would continue to do so.
Cllr Dodds reported that it was his understanding that in the first year of receipt of the grant the Town Council had set the level of Precept prior to knowing the level of grant available and once known had chosen not to reduce the Precept. The District had still to ratify the proposals and it was assumed that it would be discussed at the next Budget meeting, then by Cabinet in December and onto the District for ratification.
8 Notices of Motion
There were no notices of Motion.
9 Members Questions (under Standing Order 11)
There were no questions.
The minutes of the Council meeting held on 29 September 2015 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Mayor.
11 Policy & Resources Committee
The minutes of the meeting on 13 October 2015 were noted.
Item 10 – Flag Flying
i) The occasions for flag flying (plus Armed Forces Day) and the provision for short notice flag flying as detailed in the report be approved.
ii) A recommendation be made to Full Council that £200 be released from the General Reserves to purchase the required flags as defined in the Resource Appraisal.
Item 11 – Thame Museum
i) Consent be given to Thame Museum Trust to develop the property as per the lease obligations be approved.
ii) £5,000 is released from Capital Reserves be approved.
Item 14 – SODC Economic Development Projects
i) Up to £5,000 to develop and launch a new Integrated Thame Business website and up to £2,000 to provide the infrastructure to enable feather flags to be flown be allocated from the Rolling Capital Fund be approved.
ii) Up to £4,300 be allocated from the General Reserves to enable projects to progress, on a case by case basis, under the delegated responsibility of the Town Clerk and the Community Services Manager be approved.
Following the Policy & Resources Committee meeting, where the provision of free wi fi access within the Town Centre was discussed, further information had been obtained on security access and linger times. Cllr Dyer, the Town Clerk and the Community Services Manager had met with the SODC Economic Development team and representatives from Henley and Wallingford Town Councils and as a result of these discussions it was felt sensible that free wi fi access within the Town Centre be put onto a future agenda for further consideration.
12 Community, Leisure & Recreation Committee
The minutes of the meeting on 6 October 2015 were noted.
Item 7 – Cricket Club
i) The request from the Cricket Club for funding as detailed in the report, subject to further satisfactory legal discussions be approved.
13 Planning & Environment Committee
The minutes of the meetings on 28 July 2015, 18 August 2015, 8 September 2015, 29 September 2015 and 20 October 2015 were noted.
14 Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Committee
The minutes of the meeting on 20 October 2015 were noted.
15 External Audit
BDO Stoy Hayward had completed the audit for the year ending 31 March 2015. Members noted the Council had received a clean audit and congratulated Officers on their continued hard work in ensuring proper practices and procedures were carried out.
16 Investment Management
Rathbone Investment Management Ltd (Rathbones) had been appointed in 2008 to manage the Council’s Investment Portfolio. As detailed in the Council’s Investment Strategy the choice of Investment Company should be reviewed within the first year of every new administration following an election.
i) Rathbone Investment Management Ltd be re-appointed to manage the Council’s Investment Portfolio for the duration of the civic administration be approved.
17 Branding and Web Specification
In recent months the Town Council website had experienced problems with security due to the outdated operating system on which it was run and had become difficult for Officers to manage. As Joomla no longer provided updates or technical support it was expected that the problems would continue and worsen over time.
It was proposed that in view of the problems the Town Council invests in a new website that would effectively and securely promote the organisation and its activities. It was recommended that a full branding scheme re-design took place alongside the creation of a new website.
i) Up to £10,000 be made available from the Capital Rolling Fund be approved for the brand and website re-design.
ii) The Brand and Website Specification was noted.
18 Thame Mayor’s Charity Fund
In the past Town Mayors had successfully raised a substantial amount of money for their chosen charities. If a Registered Charity had been set up to administer the Fund it would have enabled Gift Aid to be claimed on donations. It was agreed that the viability of establishing a Registered Charity would be explored.
i) Cllr Bretherton and the Town Mayor, with relevant support from officers, establish viability and if viable, to set up a Registered Charity to administer the Thame Mayor’s Charity Fund.
19 Oxfordshire County Council Budget Consultation
Correspondence regarding the County Council’s budget consultation had been circulated to councillors. It was proposed that the Council formulate a formal response in a similar way to that undertaken for the recent Bus Consultation.
i) The task of formulating and submitting a response to the County Council Budget Consultation on behalf of the Town Council be delegated to the Town Clerk.
20 Open Spaces Working Group / Elms Park Consultation
It was noted that TEP (The Environmental Partnership) had been selected by the Open Spaces Working Group to execute the consultation / outline design of improvements to Elms Park and then the management of the subsequent implementation. Their fees would be forward funded from The Elms s106 contribution.
The meeting concluded at 8.10pm
Chairman, 1 December 2015