13 August 2019 – Minutes
THAME TOWN COUNCIL
Minutes of the Meeting of the Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Committee held on 13 August 2019 at 7:15pm in the Upper Chamber, Thame Town Hall
Cllrs B Austin, D Bretherton, P Cowell (Deputy Mayor), M Deacock, M Dyer (Deputy Chairman), L Emery, H Fickling, S Francis, C Jones (Chairman), A Midwinter (Town Mayor) and J Tipping
G Hunt, Town Clerk
G Markland, Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Officer
L Fuller, Committee Services Officer
1 Apologies for Absence
There were no apologies.
2 Declarations of Interest and Dispensations
There were no declarations of interest. Cllr Bretherton declared an interest in relation to Chinnor Rugby Club later in the meeting.
3 Public Participation & Public Questions
Mr Bond, from Chinnor Rugby Club, spoke with regard to Agenda Item 7. The proposal was for a new irrigation system for the rugby pitches. The club had recently discovered during the off-season that watering pitch 1 using the existing tank of potable water provided a good result.
The borehole proposal has been in discussion for around 5 years, but this recent change in approach has brought this up the agenda. The new proposal would be to install a borehole behind the barn, and extend the existing pipework to pitches 2 and 3. The rugby club would like to be able to reallocate existing S106 funds to this new project.
A question was raised as to whether the water could be collected through rainwater harvesting? Mr Bond advised this was not in existing plans, however the club were committed to being more sustainable.
The Committee then discussed and agreed a recommendation on Agenda Item 7.
Cllr Bretherton entered the meeting during this item.
The minutes of the meeting held on 2 July 2019 were approved and signed by the Chairman.
5 Working Groups
To receive a verbal update from the chairmen of:
a) NPCC Co-Ordination Working Group
Cllr Jones reported that the NPCCCWG had not met since the last NPCC meeting and that items 6 and 10 of this agenda covered the main actions of the group.
b) The Infrastructure Delivery Plan Working Group
Cllr Bretherton reported that he and the Town Clerk had met with a new representative of the Chinnor Rugby Club last week to receive an update on their latest plans.
The Town Clerk reported that he and the NPCO had a site visit to sites C1, C2, D and F with Officers from SODC last month to discuss a range of outstanding issues on these sites. SODC were due to provide a write-up of the meeting but nothing has yet been received, however the Town Clerk had been in discussion with the S106 Officer at SODC, Silke More O’Ferrall who has advised SODC are progressing the allotments and burial space issues as best they can. SODC are aware of their own shortcomings here and those of the developers.
It was reported that the Town Council had received the forward spent S106 funds for St Mary’s Burial Space and the LEAP consultancy on the Community Facility. S106 funds had also been received towards the Public Art Wayfinding Strategy. The Town Council had also assisted Bloor Homes with information on the likely use of various S106 funds they had provided.
A question was raised about the parking of road laying equipment on grass verges on Wenman Road and who was responsible for any damages caused by this? This would be the management company, on behalf of the developer, but the Town Council had not been notified who this was. A member asked for an update on the footpath connecting Site F and the Town Council-owned field on Oxford Road. The Town Clerk reported that this was on the to-do list for the new Asset Manager and a likely next step was to use a known consultant to advise on how best to spend the S106 money allocated for this public open space.
c) The Green Living Plan Working Group
Cllr Fickling reported that various working groups had successfully been set-up by Thame Green Living and the Cycling Group had met yesterday. Cllr Midwinter added that the Footpath Group would be meeting tomorrow and she would report back at the next NPCC.
The NPCO had met with Charles Boundy and John Scott from Thame Green Living. The public consultation workshop on air quality and clean energy on 10th July had gone well with around 40 attendees, 30 of whom took part in the workshops. Their comments and views will help form part of the evidence base and action plan. The group were developing ideas for personal action (for individuals) and strategic action (for the Town Council and Thame Green Living). The group had been in touch with the Centre for Sustainable Energy for advice on policy formation.
d) The Town Centre Working Group
Members noted the report. The Market Town Co-Ordinator had requested for a volunteer to join the Public Arts Working Group to replace Mary Stiles. Cllr Francis volunteered to join the working group. Members noted that the Midsomer Murder tours seemed to be going very well with a recent tour group seen with 40 participants. Members noted that the size of the font for the twin towns on the new gateway signs was too small, but were pleased to see that action was being taken and alternatives were being investigated.
e) Transport Plan Working Group
The Town Clerk reported that he had approached Chigwell Parish Council for further information on their hopper bus scheme. Two comprehensive reports were received however it has emerged that their hopper bus is provided by Epping Forest Community Transport who already provide a number of other local bus services and associated staffing / maintenance / licensing / timetabling so unfortunately it was not comparable to Thame. The Town Clerk had also contacted Sevenoaks Town Council who had a ‘figure of eight’ bus. This had been a recommendation of their own Transport Strategy. The Town Clerk has received a copy of their specification for recruiting a consultant to prepare that strategy which may assist Thame’s aspiration for something similar.
Various concerns and complaints had been received: regarding the safety of the pedestrian crossing by Prezzo; speeding traffic on Wenman Road; illegal parking on Kings Close and Moats Crescent; all day parking on Lashlake Road and Moorend Lane; the Churchill Construction Traffic Management Plan and lack of town centre parking enforcement.
The speed indicator device specification has been drafted and is with the management team for review. Discussions have been had with the police with regards to parking enforcement options but they currently lack resources for new initiatives.
f) Community Facilities Working Group
The discussions with Chinnor Rugby Club and receipt of LEAP funding had already been noted. The Town Council continue to await an update from SODC regarding the Cattle Market site.
g) Burial Space Working Group
The Town Clerk will continue to assist the S106 Officer Silke More O’Ferrall who is progressing the outstanding burial space issues with the developer.
6 NPCC Co-Ordination Working Group Terms of Reference
The Terms of Reference had been updated to reflect what the Working Group is currently doing to progress TNP2. The draft ToR had been circulated to members on 25 July 2019.
i) The Revised Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Committee Co-Ordination Working Group Terms of Reference be adopted.
7 Chinnor RFC s106 funding
Following the presentation by Mr. Bond, Members felt the borehole proposal was a good suggestion.
i) Chinnor Rugby Football Club be allowed to extend the use the already allocated S106 funds towards improvements to the club house / changing rooms, the proposed barn conversion, the new stand and pitch lighting, to also include the provision of a borehole.
8 Infrastructure Delivery Plan / Capital Project List
Members noted the updated document. The Town Clerk advised that this was constantly changing but the current document as presented reflected the discussions of the Budget Working Group last year as well as any updates and suggestions since. Several members supported the suggestion of adding a column, or similar, to note when each item was added and last updated. The Town Clerk advised that there were online tools which can be used to compare / track changes between two documents and that doing this manually would be time-consuming, however it was agreed that the Town Clerk would look at options for this with Cllr Bretherton.
i) The updated Infrastructure Delivery Plan / Capital Projects List be approved.
9 South Oxfordshire District Local Plan
The latest updates on SODC’s Local Plan had been received via the District Councillors’ update and the more widely circulated newsletter, which confirmed their greater focus on avoiding speculative development and protecting Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF), whilst also addressing concerns regarding climate change and Oxford’s unmet need. Securing HIF is important to prevent the Vale of White Horse from losing their five year supply of housing land. SODC had received a letter from Kit Malthouse, the then Minister of State for Housing, putting pressure on SODC to make progress with their plan in order to be able to access HIF. Cllr Sue Cooper, Leader of SODC, has responded stating that they are committed to the plan and are liaising with OCC and others regarding HIF. There is still no certainty on housing numbers from the emerging Oxford City Plan.
10 Thame Neighbourhood Plan Revision (TNP2)
The Town Clerk had circulated the draft consultancy brief for TNP2 support on 2 August 2019. Various suggestions for additions had been received including: an increased focus on environmental aspects; clarity on the evidence and scoring mechanism; greater emphasis on community involvement, all of which the Town Clerk was happy to include. The recent meeting with Stoford had made the need to progress with TNP2 very clear.
A question was raised about the evidence base review in point 9c with regards to employment needs in terms of loss and increasing population? The Town Clerk advised that the consultancy brief did not need to go to this level of detail. A question was also raised regarding the budget available for such consultancy? The Town Clerk advised that there was a budget for Neighbourhood Plan consultancy generally but the proportion of this to be available for this brief was to be decided.
Concern was raised about conformance with Town Council policies, such as the suggested Environmental Policy, in the Neighbourhood Plan which belonged to the community, not the Town Council. The Town Clerk reasserted that the brief would be strengthened in terms of the environment.
The Town Clerk suggested that the final Consultancy Brief be amended to take account of comments in the discussion, with the final version to be approved with Members via e-mail before posting on Contract Finder.
i) The proposed Consultancy Brief be amended as suggested and the final version be approved via email.
11 Oxfordshire Growth Board / Oxfordshire Plan 2050
The Oxfordshire Growth Board had acknowledged their early work had been too fast to ensure support on the ground. They had decided to pause and review progress and direction and are now about one-third of the way through their 6-month review. Through the Oxfordshire Neighbourhood Plan Alliance, it had emerged that officers at the Joint Statutory Spatial Plan were seeking greater partnership working with councils, the Environment Agency etc. whilst councils wanted greater representation at the Growth Board.
12 Affordable Housing / Community Land Trust (CLT)
Cllr Austin reported that members of the CLT group were due to meet with the owners of the proposed site to discuss the options agreement. The ecology survey had to be forward funded ahead of the options meeting otherwise the window of opportunity for surveying flora and fauna of interest would be closed, causing a one year delay on the project. The money for this had been provided by Homes England, with their full understanding that this funding was provided without guarantee that the use of the site for Thame’s CLT would ultimately be successful. Various other grant applications had been made. The next step was to create the project plan and designs. It was reported that that SODC are still showing positive support for Thame’s CLT.
Cllr Midwinter gave her thanks to Cllr Austin who had worked extremely hard in progressing the CLT. Cllr Austin said it was a team of 11 people who all deserved thanks and recognition.
13 Other Items to Note
The items for information were noted.
Following a question regarding the likelihood of the Town Council receiving the funding for Elms Park improvements in Item 13b), the Town Clerk explained that we still didn’t know if or how much Rectory Homes were going to give. The deed to honour the verbal commitments had been drafted and had taken a lot of effort. The Town Council had been in receipt of some amendments to their planning application ahead of the appeal next month, and it was possible that Rectory Homes may agree to the deed after the appeal outcome.
With regards to Item 13f) it was noted that the reason for the cancellation of Stoford’s pre-application meeting with SODC was not known.
Cllr Dyer provided an update on the meeting with the Oxfordshire Neighbourhood Plan Alliance and John Howell MP (Item 13g). John Howell MP has given his support to the ONPA and has offered to be a patron. The next meeting of the group would see the approval of the constitution. The OPNA could become a model for other counties.
The Town Clerk reported that on 12 August 2019, the Town Council received notification of the withdrawal of the Site D intensification planning application by Persimmon.
The meeting concluded at 8:26pm
Chairman, 24 September 2019