12 January 2016 – Minutes
THAME TOWN COUNCIL
Minutes of the Meeting of the Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Committee held on 12 January 2016 at 7.30pm in the Upper Chamber, Thame Town Hall
Present: Cllrs B Austin (Chairman), D Bretherton (Deputy Chairman), P Cowell, N Dixon (Town Mayor), D Dodds, L Emery (Deputy Mayor), H Fickling and A Midwinter.
G Hunt, Town Clerk
A Oughton, Committee Services Officer
1 Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Stiles (Personal).
2 Declarations of Interest and Dispensations
There were no declarations of interest.
3 Public Participation & Public Questions
There were no applications to address the Council.
There were no questions put to the Council.
The minutes of the meeting held on 1 December 2015 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
5 Neighbourhood Plan Monitoring Report
Members noted the Monitoring Report and thanked the Town Clerk for his work in updating the document. The next update would be published as a newsletter in May 2016.
6 Working Groups
a) Infrastructure Delivery Plan Working Group
Cllr Bretherton reported that the group had been working on a list of Infrastructure Delivery Projects which had been circulated to Councillors for comments. This was a top level document and each project on the list would have a separate sheet to record the level of funding, the project lead, business case / need.
The next stage was to go through each S106 agreement to match available funding to the project.
Discussion took place as to the process by which projects would be prioritised / ranked on the list and new projects added. The Working Group would give some thought to the process / criteria and report back to the next meeting.
The Chairman thanked the Group for the work that had been completed in compiling the list of projects. It was work in progress but definitely moving in the right direction.
b) Green Living Plan Working Group
Cllr Fickling reported that a meeting had taken place with the RSA and it was proposed that the RSA would act as a consultant to the Town Council in the production of a Green Living Plan (GLP). At this stage is was not certain what shape the Plan would take but the aim of the policies contained in the Plan would be to make Thame a pleasant and sustainable place to live and work.
If the RSA’s acceptance of the consultancy role was confirmed, one of the first priorities for the RSA would be the Thame to Haddenham Cycle path, to look at the preferred routes and liaise with both Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire County Councils. The RSA would also review and monitor the progress of travel plans submitted by developers.
A Brief for the GLP was tabled at the meeting and Members asked for comments. It was agreed that flood management would be added to the list of objectives.
c) Town Centre Working Group
Cllr Emery reported that the scoping document for the vibrancy and vitality study for the Town Centre had been circulated to Councillors. Representatives of the Charter Market had been invited to meet with the Working Group to discuss their concerns and objectives and how to protect the market for the future. The Working Group would also look at the relevance of employing a Market Town Co-ordinator.
Cllr Emery had met and would meet with groups such as 21st Century Thame, Thame Business Forum, Thame4Business and the District Economic Development team to ensure delivery of the Town Centre Action Plan. A survey had been completed of all the businesses that operated in the Town Centre, the results of which could be used to influence new businesses to locate to the Town. There was also a lot that could be learnt from organisers of the Food Festival, TAL and the Christmas Light Switch on. New festivals such as a jazz festival or Thame in Bloom could be considered. It was suggested that contact was made with the Thame Show Committee and the Cattle Market Action Group.
7 Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Officer
The Town Clerk reported that it was intended to recruit a Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Officer, dependent on the Town Council approving the budget, from 1 April 2016.
Members discussed the elements that should be included in the Job Description and agreed that the recruitment process be delegated to the Town Clerk and the Chairman of the Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Group.
i) The recruitment of the Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Officer be delegated to the Town Clerk and the Chairman of the Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Group with officer support as appropriate.
8 Neighbourhood Plan Amendment Process
Currently there was no legal process by which a Neighbourhood Plan could be amended. Even to make minor changes would involve the production of a new Plan with a Referendum. The report aimed to suggest the nature and extent of any amendment powers that could be sought from or given by the Government.
Thame was one of the first Towns to adopt a Neighbourhood Plan and it was important that Thame now took the lead and put forward suggestions on how any amendments may take place.
i) ‘The Possible Approach to Neighbourhood Plan Amendments’ document be taken forward and used to lobby Government.
The meeting concluded at 8.49pm
Chairman, 23 February 2016