06 September 2022 – Minutes


Minutes of the Meeting of the Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Committee held on 6 September 2022 at 7:31pm in the Upper Chamber, Thame Town Hall.


Cllrs B Austin, D Bretherton (Deputy Chairman), P Cowell (Town Mayor), A Dite (Deputy Mayor), M Dyer, L Emery, H Fickling, A Midwinter, H Richards


M Sturdy, Town Clerk
G Markland, Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Officer
L Fuller, Committee Services Officer


1 Apologies for Absence

Apologies were received from Cllrs Champken-Woods (personal) and Jones (business).

In the absence of the Chairman, Deputy Chairman Cllr Bretherton chaired the meeting.


2 Declarations of Interest and Dispensations

There were no declarations of interest.


3 Public Participation and Public Questions

There was no public participation.
There were no public questions put to the Committee.


4 Minutes

The minutes of the meeting held on 26 July 2022 were approved, and signed by the Chairman.


5 Working Groups

a) NPCC Co-Ordination Working Group (NPCCCWG)

There was nothing to report.

b) Infrastructure Delivery Plan Working Group (IDPWG)

There was nothing to report, however the Town Clerk was working on an updated version which would be available in due course.

c) Green Living Plan Working Group (GLPWG)

Thame Green Living are currently working towards their Thame Drive Electric event on Saturday, which all Councillors are welcome to attend.

d) Town Centre Working Group (TCWG)

The Market Town Co-Ordinator’s report was noted. It was highlighted that Councillor assistance was needed to hold a new ‘Charity Buzz’ event to encourage volunteers in community projects. The Volunteer Fair at the weekend had not been well supported, and Members suggested that the new event should engage with businesses, perhaps working in partnership with the Business Buzz. Cllr Midwinter offered to be involved with this, particularly given her connections as organiser of the annual Charities Fair.

Within the report, it was noted that the Market Town Co-Ordinator (MTCO) had moved to the new Environmental Project Officer role. The Town Clerk advised that the different aspects of the MTCO role were being worked through and reallocated, but that her business contacts will continue. Members thanked the MTCO for her fantastic work in that role, and the knowledge and connections she had developed with businesses and charities.

e) Transport Plan Working Group (TPWG)

Cllr Richards advised there was a TPWG meeting tomorrow, and an update would be presented to the next committee meeting.

f) Burial Space Working Group (BSWG)

There was nothing to report.


6 Reports from Town Council Representatives

a) Transport Representative – Cllr Bretherton advised that a meeting was scheduled for next month. In positive news, the 121 Bus Service had been extended to the end of December subject to a few timetable changes however it would continue to run twice an hour.

Concern was raised that the spend deadlines for transport-related S106 monies held by Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) were approaching, and if the money is not used it may be lost. Cllr Bretherton provided reassurance that the Officer responsible for bus service provision at OCC is very proactive and has an upcoming meeting with the Town Clerk.


7 South Oxfordshire District Local Plan

There was little to report other than the Joint Local Plan Preferred Options document is due to be published in early 2023.


8 Thame Neighbourhood Plan Revision (TNP2)

The Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Officer (NPCO) had circulated topic papers relating to the proposed housing mix and outstanding housing need to all Members in June / July 2022 following the Full Council meeting on 21 June 2022. No comments had been received but the papers would also be discussed at the next NPCCCWG meeting.

Regarding the Employment Technical Support, the continued delays due to staffing matters at AECOM had had a major impact on the TNP2 timetable. In the last few weeks, AECOM have begun the work which has included interviews with a range of businesses and market research to understand the local employment land and floorspace market. This strategic work will be complemented by local level research by the NPCO within the final report.

Extra funding had been secured for the additional design technical support for the employments, and as part of this package work has been requested to integrate the proposed allocation sites at Site F (Oxford Road), however it was noted that the live planning application at Site F was running ahead of the TNP2 schedule at present. If the site is granted permission it will be built in as an allocation site to promote joint coordination in terms of access and open spaces, however several key stakeholder responses are awaited that will determine whether the application can proceed.

Another request had been made to the design lead to undertake a workshop with Thame residents to establish principles around acceptable materials and scale in relation to minor applications in their neighbourhood such as household extensions, with the intention to write this into the design codes for the character areas.

Some progress had been made on consultation materials with discussions between Officers and Troy Planning on how to best communicate with residents. Detailed display boards were being planned with the intention to have one set displayed in a permanent exhibition, such as at Thame Library or Montesson Square noticeboards.

In terms of the timetable, as previously mentioned this had been seriously impacted by the delays to the employment work. The intention at present is:

  • Bring the draft plan to Full Council for approval in mid-October, although this deadline had not been confirmed by all parties involved;
  • Statutory 6-week Consultation – November – December 2022
  • Drafting the submission plan – January / February 2023
  • Submit plan to SODC – March 2023
  • Consultation by SODC with comments submitted to the Examining Officer. If no extra public consultations are required, the referendum could take place in August 2023.

A question was raised as to whether the 77 homes at Oxford Road, if granted permission before TNP2 is approved, would count towards the number of homes required for TNP2? The NPCO confirmed that this would count.

Concern was raised that previous target dates had been missed, and particularly how much money was being spent on consultants who were missing these deadlines? The NPCO advised that the Town Council was not funding any of the consultants for the design / employment technical support. This was funded via Locality who request the work from AECOM, the Government-retained consultant. Although this had not cost the Town Council in money, it had costed in terms of time, reputation and potentially some development. The NPCO felt that neighbourhood plan support from Locality was geared towards smaller parish councils and was not always suitable for large towns like Thame.


9 Future Oxfordshire Partnership / Oxfordshire Plan 2050

On 3 August 2022, leaders of the City and District Councils issued a joint statement with their intent to end formal work on the Oxfordshire Plan 2050. The Future Oxfordshire Partnership will be dissolved and each council will move forward with their own local plans.

Cllr Bretherton advised that this would not affect the Oxfordshire Growth Board funds. The Oxfordshire Plan 2050 had been quite a radical idea; however, the city and district councils were not able to agree on housing growth figures.

Was there an update on the Oxford-Cambridge Arc? A Government statement advised that the project was not being progressed and councils along the Arc route were now responsible for working strategically, but there were no funds or support available for this.


10 Affordable Housing / Community Land Trust (CLT)

The land ownership issue on Windmill Road was now in the hands of the Town Council to execute with the Land Registry. Thame CLT continue to do what they can to progress S106 matters and were awaiting a reply from SODC on the matter. Thame CLT were exploring access arrangements with Sustrans which are progressing well. No money would be drawn down from the Charities Aid Foundation and the Heads of Terms with the Housing Association could not be finished until the access from Windmill Road could be assured.

The meeting concluded at 8:05pm.


Signed ………………………                           ………………………
Chairman                                                        Date