30 August 2022 – Minutes
THAME TOWN COUNCIL
Minutes of the Meeting of Thame Town Council held on 30 August 2022 at 7:33pm in the Upper Chamber, Town Hall, Thame.
Cllrs B Austin, D Bretherton, N Champken-Woods, P Cowell (Town Mayor), M Deacock, A Dite (Deputy Mayor), D Dodds, M Dyer, L Emery, H Fickling, A Gilbert, C Jones, A Midwinter, H Richards, and T Wyse
M Sturdy, Town Clerk
L Fuller, Committee Services Officer
1 Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Gregory (personal).
2 Declarations of Interest and Dispensations
There were no declarations of interest.
3 Civic Announcements
The Mayor noted it had been a quiet summer and there was nothing to report at this time.
4 Public Participation and Public Questions
There were no applications to address the Council.
There were no questions put to the Council.
5 Members Questions (under Standing Order 11)
Cllr Deacock had emailed the Mayor regarding advertising at the Skate Park, and asked for an update? The Mayor advised this had been received and would be discussed with the Town Clerk.
Cllr Deacock also asked for clarification on whether the civil parking enforcement officers could enforce parking on double yellow lines and pavements? The parking enforcement officers could only issue tickets where parking breached parking regulations, such as on double yellow lines. Parking on pavements was a matter for the Police.
The Minutes of the Committee Meeting held on 2 August 2022 were confirmed as a correct record, and were signed by the Chairman.
7 Schedule of Meetings
The updated Schedule of Meetings 2022-23 was noted, in particular that the Full Council meeting provisionally scheduled for 6th September will not take place. The Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Committee meeting that was originally scheduled will take place on 6th September 2022 after Planning & Environment, instead of Full Council. There will be additional Full Council meetings in September / October (date to be confirmed) for approval of the Draft Thame Neighbourhood Plan 2 for consultation, and consideration of the planning application at Land North of Oxford Road.
8 Exclusion of the Public
- Under Section 1, Paragraph 2 of The Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business because publicity would be prejudicial to the public interest by reason of the confidential nature of the business to be transacted.
9 Democratic Process
Cllr Dyer provided Members with a verbal update, following the previous update to Council on 26 April 2022. The appeal to the Local Government Ombudsman’s decision had been unsuccessful and as such, all regulatory routes had now been exhausted. Cllr Dyer presented Members with four possible courses of action.
A lengthy discussion ensued, with Members considering the benefits and risks of each option. Members were disappointed and frustrated with the outcome but recognised the need to move on from this and maintain a good working relationship with South Oxfordshire District Council in the best interests for Thame’s community.
Overall, the preferred option was to share the Town Council’s findings on the matter with governing bodies and interested organisations, as this would share lessons learnt and may be of interest and assistance to other councils. Organisations would include the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities; National Association of Local Councils; Local Government Association; Society of Local Council Clerks; the Town & Country Planning Association; and Thame’s MP.
Members commended Cllr Dyer for all his work on the matter.
- The Town Council shares its report and findings with governing and representative bodies, including Thame’s MP, as a case study on the inadequacies in the processes of the Information Commissioner’s Office and Local Government Ombudsman.
10 Personnel Committee
The minutes from the meeting on 16 August 2022 were noted. The Town Clerk gave a short review of the Staffing Review Report which had been circulated to all Councillors prior to the meeting. The Council raised several questions including how this review would link to the wider vision and strategy for the council. The Town Clerk confirmed that work on the wider strategy must include input from Full Council and the residents of Thame. Work on a programme for developing the wider strategy would begin following the staff consultation.
- The Council approves the recommendations in the Staffing Review Report and the Town Clerk has the delegated responsibility to proceed with the next stages of the review.
The meeting concluded at 8:24pm.
Signed …………………… Date ………………………