28 April 2020 – Minutes


Minutes of the Virtual Meeting of Thame Town Council held on 28 April 2020 at 6.30pm by Zoom Conference Call.


Cllrs B Austin, D Bretherton, N Champken-Woods, P Cowell (Deputy Mayor), A Dite, M Deacock, D Dodds, M Dyer, L Emery, H Fickling, S Francis, K Gregory, C Jones, A Midwinter, J Tipping and T Wyse


J Cole, Town Clerk
C Pinnells, Community Services Manager
G Markland, Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Officer
L Fuller, Committee Services Officer

1 Apologies for Absence

There were no apologies for absence and all Members were able to be seen and be heard. It was noted that District Councillor Pieter-Paul Barker was unable to attend the meeting due to work commitments and gave his apologies.

2 Declarations of Interest and Dispensations

Cllrs Champken-Woods and Midwinter declared an interest in Agenda Item 12 – Planning Application P20/S1200/HH as residents of Ludsden Grove. Cllr Wyse also declared an interest in this item as a relative lived next door. These non-pecuniary interests did not preclude Members from discussing or voting on this item.

3 Civic Announcements

The Mayor’s civic attendances were noted. Cllr Midwinter noted that the VE Day Celebration Events were cancelled but other ways to celebrate the day were being planned. Condolences were given to Lord Williams’s School following the recent passing of David Kenningham who was a principal at LWS in the 1980s and 1990s and a well-respected man. The Mayor also acknowledged Atalay’s Kebab Van recent success at the British Kebab Awards winning ‘Best Kebab Van’ for the third year running and putting Thame on the map.

4 Public Participation and Public Questions

There were no applications to address the Council.

There were no questions put to the Council.

5 Report from County Councillor N Carter

Members received the report. Cllr Carter explained that his report was mainly focused on the ways in which Oxfordshire County Council’s activity and focus were on mitigating the current crisis. Many areas of work had been suspended as staff were redeployed to respond to the crisis.

6 Reports from South Oxfordshire District Councillors

Members received the report. South Oxfordshire District Council’s (SODC) Community Support Team will be sending out weekly updates. Cllr Gregory noted highlights from the report including the grants available from Scottish and Southern Electricity to town councils. SODC had written to the Government regarding the 15,000 businesses in South and Vale who were ineligible for business grants, to request extensions for determining planning applications and for the 5-year Housing Land Supply calculation to be readjusted. It was also reported that very little of the Government’s £1.6bn for councils was available to district councils, and that of the £1m spent by SODC only £45,000 had been received from the Government.

Cllr Deacock expressed his disappointment over the recent increase in price for the council’s Garden Waste collection service, particularly that residents had not been given prior warning of the increase. It was suggested that SODC should consider looking at the running costs of Cornerstone at Didcot which was costly to run and making a loss, rather than raising its income through residents and also town and parish councils through dog bin charges. Cllr Gregory advised that SODC had not increased charges for the brown bin service for 7 years, and remained lower than other counties, which meant that council taxpayers were actually subsidising the service, but agreed to investigate why residents were not informed of the increase. It was acknowledged that Cornerstone was running at a loss, much like other similar centres across the country, and the review which had been due to take place had been delayed by the current crisis. Regarding dog bins, these were running at a loss of £6 per dog bin across the district so an increase was necessary, although the dog bins continue to run at a loss of £3 per bin.

A question was raised regarding the Local Plan and whether SODC could ask for an update from the Secretary of State (SoS)? Cllr Bretherton advised that the Local Plan remained under control of the SoS and that planning officers continued to work on the plan, but that he would look into this and report back.

7 Members Questions (under Standing Order 11)

Cllr Dyer asked the Mayor for an urgent extraordinary council meeting to be convened to consider acting on the legal advice regarding a planning appeal decision? Cllr Midwinter acknowledged this matter was time-limited. The Town Clerk advised that a Council Meeting could be called for Monday if the agenda was published this evening. It was agreed that a Council Meeting would be held at 10am on Monday 4 May.

8 Standing Orders

The Town Clerk presented the principals for holding virtual council meetings, which had been produced by the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) and Oxfordshire Association of Local Councils (OALC). The principals reflect how the Town Council is currently operating however the principals must be formally adopted and approved as an appendix to the Town Council’s Standing Orders.


i)             The principals for holding virtual council meetings be approved as an appendix to the Town Council’s Standing Orders.

9 Minutes

The minutes of the meeting held on 3 March 2020 were approved.

10 Committee Meetings

It was noted that there had been no committee meetings since the last Full Council meeting on 3 March 2020, and that Council will temporarily conduct its business through virtual Full Council meetings, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

11 Planning & Environment Committee

The minutes of the meetings held on 25 February 2020 were approved.

12 Planning Applications

The following recommendations from the Planning & Environment Committee were received and agreed:

Conversion of existing first/second floor flat to create four flats. (Amended plans and additional information received 15 April 2020)
NO OBJECTION plus comments

  • Subject to no objection from the District Conservation Officer
  • The committee regret the lack of amenity space for future occupiers
  • Whilst the committee do not object to replacing the steel Crittall windows with Aluminium windows it would appear that many of the timber windows are original to the building. These should be repaired if possible or replaced with timber windows if not.

Neighbourhood Plan Policies: H5, H6, WS8, WS9, GA6, ESDQ15, ESDQ16, ESDQ17, ESDQ20, ESDQ28, ESDQ29
SODC Local Plan Policies: G5, G6, D1, D4, D11, TC8, T2
Core Strategy Policies: CS1, CSR1, CSTHA1, CSH2, CSQ2, CSQ3

Demolition of outbuilding. Single storey extension to side.
Neighbourhood Plan Policies: ESDQ16, ESDQ20
SODC Local Plan Policies: G6, CON7, D1, D4, H13
Core Strategy Policies: CSQ3, CSEN3

P20/S1145/HH – 21 ASTLEY ROAD
Garage to be partially converted into Home Office.
NO OBJECTION plus comment

  • The committee regret the loss of the garage for its original purpose.

Neighbourhood Plan Policies: ESDQ16, ESDQ29
SODC Local Plan Policies: G6, D1, D2, D4, T2
Core Strategy Policies: CSQ3

Demolition of existing garage and other single storey extensions, and provision of new consolidated single storey rear extension.
NO OBJECTION plus comment

  • The committee regret the loss of the garage for its original purpose.
  • Subject to the front garden being re-landscaped to provide three off-street parking spaces and harnessing the topographical character of the site and retaining existing landscape features and trees encouraged.

Neighbourhood Plan Policies: ESDQ16, ESDQ29
SODC Local Plan Policies: G6, D1, D2, D4, H13, T2
Core Strategy Policies: CSQ3

Single storey side and rear extension.
NO OBJECTION plus comments

  • The committee regret the loss of the garage for its original purpose.
  • Subject to the front garden being re-landscaped to provide three off-street parking spaces and harnessing the topographical character of the site and retaining existing landscape features and trees encouraged.
  • The committee felt that the drawings and application were poor with no indication on the proposed drawing of the position of the demolished garage.

Neighbourhood Plan Policies: ESDQ16, ESDQ19, ESDQ29
SODC Local Plan Policies: G6, D1, D2, D4, H13, T2
Core Strategy Policies: CSQ3

Put an internal door into an existing door space, and put another internal door where there is no existing door space.
NO OBJECTION plus comment

  • Subject to no objection from the District Conservation Officer

Neighbourhood Plan Policies: ESDQ16, ESDQ19, ESDQ20
SODC Local Plan Policies: G6, CON3, CON7, D1
Core Strategy Policies: CSQ3, CSEN3

13 St Mary’s Church Cemetery

The Town Council has been working with St Mary’s Church to draw down S106 funding for the cemetery extension with an application submitted in December 2019. The Town Clerk reported that following identification of urgent repair works required to the brickwork and Dove Cote, the S106 Officer at advised that the Town Council could submit a further application for the full £20,000 – which is allocated specifically for St Mary’s Church under S106 agreements – to carry out the works. The Town Clerk has submitted this application and supporting documents, however due to the current Covid-19 crisis there would be a delay in SODC considering the application and releasing the funds. Therefore in the interest of public safety, the Town Clerk proposed that the Town Council forward-fund, either partially or in full, the repairs to the wall and Dove Cote.


i)             The Council agree to forward fund in full the S106 monies to St Mary’s in order to restore the wall and Dove Cote.

14 Thame Youth Projects – Youth Hub

The report was noted. Cllr Cowell reported that the Youth Projects Group Committee had spent the last 3 or 4 months selecting an architect for the Youth Hub at Southern Road Recreation Ground (SRRG). An architect with great experience has been chosen and since presented an initial design for the Youth Hub, which the committee would like to be as flexible, future-proof and sustainable as possible. The committee were now at the stage to move forward. Discussions had been held with the architect about drawing up a contract, as well as with the Town Clerk about S106 monies and if that funding could be made available. The committee were hoping to enter into a partnership agreement with the Town Council, similar to the Football Club and Cricket Club, in order to fund the project costs through the council, obtain best rates for expenditure and use the Officer’s advice and experience.

Questions were raised about drainage at the site, given that the Splash Pad had difficulties using this location due to lack of mains drainage. The Town Clerk explained that the Splash Pad project had been pushed back to see if it could be incorporated at the site. The hub would use the main sewerage and there may need to be a pumping station. The relevant site surveys would also be undertaken as part of the works. In response to the location of the site, Cllr Cowell explained that the existing changing rooms at SRRG would be demolished and rebuilt.

Regarding the flexibility of the building, Cllr Champken-Woods asked whether it could accommodate dementia care during the daytime. Cllr Cowell advised that the building would be designed to be used as flexibly as possible by the community, not just the youth, and further discussions would be welcome.

A question was raised about when a development appraisal for the site would be ready? Initial discussions with the architect were already taking place, and a quantity surveyor and consultants were appointed. It was hoped over the next 2 months that a plan would be prepared, including a business plan to ensure the project would be self-funding.


i)             The Terms of a Partnership Agreement, as presented in the report, between Thame Town Council and Thame Youth Projects Group be agreed.

15 Town Clerk’s Report

Members received the report which summarised the key areas the Council Officers had been working on recently. The Town Clerk highlighted some of the work, including the Community Services Manager who had been successfully co-ordinating support to members of the community who were self-isolating. Officers had been keeping residents up to date via the website, e-newsletter and social media, and businesses via the newly launched online business forum. Officers continued to work from home to process planning applications / matters, handle calls to the Information Centre and respond to emails. The Office Administration Manager had worked hard to co-ordinate the year end remotely, with the 2019/20 accounts being closed earlier today. The Maintenance Team continued to do a fantastic job litter-picking, grass-cutting and maintaining open spaces as well as installing the new flower beds at the Memorial Gardens ahead of VE Day.

The Town Clerk reported that some upcoming projects included a Thame Lockdown Treasure Trail and alternative plans to celebrate VE Day on 8 May 2020. The Town Clerk was hopeful of getting a decision on the Thame Football Foundation 3G Pitch application soon. Work was progressing with the Youth Projects Group, on various projects at the Cricket Club and with Thame Community Land Trust (TCLT) on finalising their partnership agreement.

The Town Clerk thanked Officers for their work under increased workloads. The car park attendants, caretaker and cleaner were also being kept in contact and supported. The Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Councillors were all thanked for their support. Cllr Midwinter echoed these thanks, adding that residents were appreciative of this and that businesses were also doing a great job too.

A question was raised regarding the TCLT and when it would come to Full Council? Cllr Austin gave an update on the TCLT, advising that the group would not proceed without pre-application public consultation which would not require Full Council’s approval. The Town Clerk explained that Council would need to agree the partnership agreement once it was ready and approve the consent to borrow.

A question was raised regarding the grass cutting as members of the public had been requesting that some areas be left uncut, and whether a meeting of the Open Spaces Working Group could be called? Cllr Champken-Woods as the Chair of Community, Leisure and Recreation Committee agreed to call a meeting. 

The meeting concluded at 7:35pm


Signed ………………………                          Date ………………..