28 July 2015 – Minutes
THAME TOWN COUNCIL
Minutes of the Meeting of Thame Town Council held on 28 July 2015 at 7.30pm 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
L Spokes, Community Project Support Officer
1 Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Cowell (Holiday).
2 Declarations of Interest and Dispensations
There were no declarations of interest.
3 Civic Announcements
The Mayor gave Members an update on the many events she had recently attended including the Girlguiding Oxfordshire Camp, where a member of Town Council staff had received an award for her service as County Commissioner. She commented on how her various attendances had made her aware of all the valuable organisations that were operating in the local area. The Mayor also displayed the poster for her upcoming charity skydive and encouraged Members to sponsor her.
4 Public Participation
There were no applications to address the Council.
5 Thame Citizens Advice Bureau
Tom Fox, Director of South and Vale Citizens Advice Bureau, gave an insightful presentation to Members using alphabetical flashcards highlighting the wide variety of services the Bureau offered to the public. He informed Members that the merger in 2013 between the South and Vale Bureaus had been successful in allowing services to be maintained whilst also resulting in less funding being required from the Town Council.
Aims that had been set out in 2014 were being met, including additional service delivery and an extension of training offered to Bureau volunteers, which included mental health training in partnership with Mind, Oxfordshire. Over the last year the Thame Bureau had provided SAFARI with money management training, Thame and District Day Centre and Red Kite Children’s Centre with safeguarding training and delivered employment rights and money management workshops to students at Lord Williams’s School.
The budget for 2015 was circulated to Members to demonstrate how the funding received from the Town Council was being spent appropriately within the Town.
Thanks were expressed from Tom Fox for the continued support from the Town Council, and commented that this further encouraged the volunteers in feeling valued by the community.
i) The £4,000 grant funding for Thame Citizens Advice Bureau be released, as proposed by the Grants Panel.
6 Thames Valley Police
PC Lucie Roberts and PCSO Diane Jackson were in attendance to answer questions from Councillors.
The issue of parking was raised and PC Roberts informed Members that Thames Valley Police were realistic about how many resources could be put into parking enforcement, however, enforcement operations were taking place as often as possible.
The Council expressed thanks to all the local PCSO’s for their continuing hard work in the Town. A future report would be requested by the Town Clerk.
7 Report from County Councillor N Carter
Cllr Carter began by congratulating the Mayor for the many engagements she had attended and welcomed questions from Members on his report.
Members asked that Cllr Carter assist in obtaining the bus subsidy information that had been requested by the Town Clerk from Oxfordshire Rural Community Council. Cllr Carter agreed to do so and offered his assistance in any future requests.
Cllr Carter expressed his concern regarding Section 8 of the Town Council’s Standing Orders, highlighting there was no provision for members of the public to ask questions of the Council on issues not on the agenda. This issue would be considered under Item 17 of the agenda.
8 Reports from South Oxfordshire District Councillors
Cllr Matelot Green reported that the District Council had now completed its relocation to Milton Park, Didcot. However, planning meetings would continue to take place at different venues around the District.
Cllr Dodds updated Members on the South & Vale’s new joint scrutiny committees that would scrutinise contracts that impacted both Councils.
Cllr Champken-Woods gave a brief overview of his recent visit to the Energy Recycling Facility, commenting that the 300,000 tons of waste that was processed at the site was transferred into enough energy to power 38,000 homes. Ash that was left over was used as aggregate for road building and waste gas used in engineering bricks. Members were also informed that residents would soon be able to recycle small electrical items and fabric as part of their household waste collection.
9 Notices of Motion
There were no notices of motion.
10 Questions (under Standing Order 11)
There were no questions.
The minutes of the Council meeting held on 23 June 2015 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Mayor.
12 Policy & Resources Committee
The minutes of the meetings on 19 May 2015 and 21 July 2015 were noted. It was noted that the recommendations rising from the meeting would be considered at Item 21 of the agenda.
13 Community, Leisure & Recreation Committee
The minutes of the meetings on 19 May 2015 and 14 July 2015 were noted.
Item 10 – War Memorial
i) £1,200 be released from the Capital Rolling Fund to enable essential works to be undertaken to the War Memorial lights.
Item 13 – Play Ares
i) £3,599.60 be released from the General Reserves Fund to enable essential repairs to be undertaken to the play areas as detailed in the report.
ii) £5,520.00 be released from the Capital Rolling Fund for the tarmacing of the footpaths within Southern Road Recreation Ground Play Area.
14 Planning & Environment Committee
The minutes of the meeting held on 7 July 2015 were noted.
15 Sports Facility Strategy
Concern was raised that the sport provision calculations detailed within the Strategy did not accurately represent those available within the Town and may be understated, particularly with regard to facility opening hours and green space. It was agreed that the Sports Facility Strategy would remain a ‘living’ document able to be refined in the future but that adopting it would provide a framework for future s106 and CIL funding.
i) The Sports Facility Strategy be approved subject to its limitations.
16 Green Living Plan (GLP)
Cllr Fickling was nominated as the Council representative to work with the RSA in compiling the Green Living Plan.
17 Public Question Procedure
Further to discussion at the Council meeting on 23 June 2015, Members agreed to include the provision for the public to ask questions of the Council on any matter and that the proposed addition to Standard Orders be approved.
i) The addition of section 8.2 to the Standing Orders be approved.
18 Councillor Surgery Procedure
Members were divided on whether the format of Saturday Surgeries was effective, with some commenting that previous experiences had been dominated by County Council issues or had lacked any engagement from the public.
Some felt strongly that Members should make themselves available to the public as much as possible, thus fulfilling the duty for which they had been elected, regardless of whether or not there was demand from the public.
It was noted that there was a need for a private space in which members of the electorate could meet with Councillors if required and it was agreed that the Meeting Room be made available together with the necessary contact information to redirect enquiries not within the remit of the Town Council.
Cllr Stiles volunteered to manage the rota for future Saturday Surgeries with assistance from Officers as required. Councillors supported this and agreed to introduce the new Councillor Saturday Surgery Procedure for a six month trial period.
i) The Councillor Saturday Surgery Procedure be adopted for a six month trial period.
19 Thame Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Group
Councillors were divided as to whether the monitoring of the Neighbourhood Plan should be the responsibility of a Standing Committee or an external Continuity Group. Some Members felt that Council business had been dominated by the Neighbourhood Plan in the past and commented that the Council was merely a custodian of the Plan and therefore monitoring it should be the responsibility of the community via a Continuity Group.
In contrast, other Members were of the opinion that a Standing Committee would prevent any gaps or overlaps within the monitoring process. It was pointed out that the Delivery Strategy highlighted the monitoring of the Plan as the direct responsibility of the Council but in order to involve the community, a working group(s) could be established.
Councillors voted to form a new Standing Committee that would consist of Cllrs Dodds, Stiles, Austin, Midwinter, Bretherton and Fickling. As seven members were required, it was proposed that Cllr Cowell would be offered the opportunity to sit on the Committee. [Subsequent to the meeting Cllr Cowell has accepted the invitation]
i) A new Standing Committee called the Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Committee be formed with Terms of Reference as circulated with the agenda.
20 Town Hall Refurbishment
It was noted that the Town Hall Refurbishment is now complete, at a total cost of £260,353 all included in 2014-15 accounts.
21 Stones Close Allotments Partnering Agreement
i) The sealing of the Stones Close Allotments Partnership Agreement be approved.
22 Tesco Update
The Town Clerk updated Members on the progress of the Tesco planning application detailing that both the Retail Impact Study report from Carter Jonas and the report from the Town Council’s planning consultant would be available by 18 August 2015. Members felt that it was important to schedule a date to consider the planning application at a time when the maximum Councillor attendance could be achieved with sufficient time to inform the public.
It was agreed that the Town Clerk would establish the optimum date once full Councillor availability was established.
23 What Next for Local Councils Conference
Cllr Dyer gave a brief overview of What Next for Local Councils Conference, complementing the detailed report available to Members in the Dropbox. He commented that the Council should expect and be prepared for a great deal of change in the coming years as the County Council began diverting its responsibilities to lower levels of government.
24 The Elms S106 Agreement
i) The sealing of The Elms s106 Agreement be approved under Standing Order 10.0 (l)
The meeting concluded at 9.16pm
Chairman, 29 September 2015