14 August 2018 – Minutes
THAME TOWN COUNCIL
Minutes of the Meeting of the Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Committee held on 14 August 2018 at 7.20pm in the Upper Chamber, Thame Town Hall
Cllrs D Bretherton (Deputy Chairman), P Cowell, D Dodds, M Dyer, H Fickling, C Jones and A Midwinter (Town Mayor)
G Hunt, Town Clerk
A Oughton, Committee Services Officer
1 Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs Austin (Holiday), Emery (Holiday), Lambert (Unwell) and Stiles (Personal).
In the absence of Cllr Austin, Cllr Bretherton took the chair.
2 Declarations of Interest and Dispensations
There were no declarations of interest.
3 Public Participation & Public Questions
Mr Dite put the following question;
‘What is the schedule and agreements of the s106 agreements / ‘developer contributions’ / highway contributions and any Community Infrastructure Levy linked to the developers / developments currently underway or planning agreed? i.e. c.£300k from the Elms site for Elms Park redevelopment, due I understand when a percent of the planned properties are completed’?
Cllr Bretherton replied that all the sites currently being developed in Thame had s106 agreements, the details of which (and monies received / spent / due) were publicly displayed on the South Oxfordshire District Council’s website at http://www.southoxon.gov.uk/services-and-advice/planning-and-building/planning-policy/delivering-infrastructure/section-106. Some of the monies are controlled separately by Oxfordshire County Council, some of which had been spent on the extended X8/280 bus route.
All CIL detail on more recent windfall developments can be found at http://www.southoxon.gov.uk/services-and-advice/planning-and-building/planning-policy/delivering-infrastructure/community-infr-2. To date Thame Town Council has received £22,384 of Community Infrastructure Levy through the 25% allocation provided by the Neighbourhood Plan. Policies / procedures / processes with regard to how that (and the 75% retained by SODC) would be allocated to future projects are being considered.
The funding from S106 and Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is not upfront but received in ‘dribs and drabs’ related to agreed trigger points.
The £300k from the Elms site for the redevelopment of Elms Park has not been triggered yet as development has not commenced. If the development goes ahead then the payment will be triggered on the occupation of the 20th dwelling.
To date s106 money has been received and spent on the Sports Facilities Strategy, the redevelopment of the Skate Park, lighting at Southern Road Recreation Ground and the redevelopment of Rugby Club facilities. The Town Council has additionally forward spent s106 funds yet to be received on planning for Elms Park refurbishment, the Cricket Pavilion, the extension of St Mary’s Churchyard, additional data analysis relating to the Community Facility and Green Living Plan support. The proposed detailed allocation of all sports related s106 funds was agreed at the last meeting of this Committee. The Town Council’s thoughts on the appropriate spending of all s106 monies due have been discussed repeatedly with SODC, but they have no means of logging such planned spending ideas on their database.
The minutes of the meeting held on 3 July 2018 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
5 Working Groups
To receive a verbal update from the chairmen of:
a) NPCC Co-Ordination Working Group – there had been no requirement for the group to meet.
b) The Infrastructure Delivery Plan Working Group
The Town Clerk reported Chinnor Rugby Football Club had invited local residents to a meeting on 9 August 2018 to discuss the proposed new lighting scheme. This was part of the process required by SODC following the Rugby Club’s request to reallocate s106 monies from the refurbishment of the changing rooms to provide additional external lighting.
£100k of s106 funding had been allocated to the redevelopment of Thame Sports Club. Thame Sports Club had provided an update to Town Clerk at a recent meeting. Their aim was to start work on the redevelopment in October although there was still a shortfall in funding.
c) The Green Living Plan Working Group
Cllr Fickling reported the RSA Group and Officers had been working hard on the preparations for the Green Living Plan (GLP) Consultation. Three drop in consultation events were planned; at Thame Market on Tuesday 21 August, 9am-1pm and at the Town Hall on Saturday 25 August, 9am-1pm and Wednesday 12 September, 4pm-7pm.
The questionnaire was being finalised and a press release was sent out yesterday. Signage is planned around the town to publicise the consultation and there will be a dedicated GLP webpage on the Town Council’s website.
Cllr Fickling thanked the Community Services Manager and the Community Project Support Officer for all their hard work with the publicity and consultation material.
d) The Town Centre Working Group
The report was noted. Cllr Midwinter added the Visitor Economy Working Group were working on some exciting opportunities including a ‘Living Advent Calendar’.
e) Transport Plan Working Group
The Town Clerk reported the Town Council continued to receive various requests from residents related to speed calming, parking, accessibility and other transport related issues. National Cycle to Work Day will take place tomorrow. The Haddenham and Thame Cycleway Group has organised a buddy scheme for people cycling between the town centre and the railway station at Haddenham as part of the day.
f) Community Facilities Working Group
The Town Clerk said information was still awaited from SODC. This was one of the items on his agenda to discuss with Mark Stone, CEO of SODC when they met tomorrow.
g) Burial Space Working Group
The Town Clerk reported he had received yet another query from the s106 Officer at SODC who had requested funds from Taylor Wimpey which were not due. An explanation had been provided. This was just another example of the complexities of s106 funding.
6 National Planning Policy Framework
The Town Clerk reported he had just received a response to the letter sent to Dominic Raab, MP regarding the revised NPPF. The response confirmed housing policies in Neighbourhood Plans more than two years old would be deemed out of date if the Local Planning Authority could not prove a 5 year land supply. From December 2018, we will be back to the same position as before the protective Written Ministerial Statement of December 2016.
Having received the statement the Town Clerk would work on a short sharp response to Kit Malthouse, MP the new Minister of State for Housing.
7 South Oxfordshire District Local Plan
Members noted South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) had published an amended Local Development Scheme (LDS, a timetable for producing their Local Plan). The new LDS indicates SODC will consult on a revised Pre-Submission Local Plan in January 2019, with submission to Government, intended by the end of March 2019.
It was also noted that Homes England currently has a consultation website for their Chalgrove scheme, outlining the masterplan, key proposals and ideas for how matters related to transport and flood risk will be handled.
8 Thame Neighbourhood Plan Revision
The Town Council had received a letter from BOC regarding concerns about any future proposed development close to their operational facilities in Thame. In particular the amenity of future occupiers who could be impacted upon by existing noise associated with general operations. Reassurance had been provided by the Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Officer.
The meeting with the Haddenham Parish Clerk and Chair of the Parish Council on 4 July 2018 was noted. Matters discussed included the respective District Councils and where they were in terms of adoption and local plan review; the need to keep in each other informed of change, approaches to be taken for respective neighbourhood plan reviews and traffic management issues.
Members were encouraged by the results of the recent planning appeal successes, especially related to Benson and Sonning Common where proposed developments had found to be in direct conflict with local Neighbourhood Plans.
Members agreed the Government was sending out mixed messages, on the one hand supporting Neighbourhood Plans and on the other effectively limiting the life of a Neighbourhood Plan to two years through the revised NPPF. It was agreed that the Town Council should continue to push the issue of the 2 year life of a Neighbourhood Plan with John Howell, local MP and Government Champion for Neighbourhood Planning.
9 Oxfordshire Growth Board
Members noted the response sent by the NPCO to the Oxfordshire Growth Board’s consultation on a deal to provide a lower test of a 3-year land supply in return for commitment to a joint spatial strategy; and the response received from the Oxfordshire Director of Housing and Growth Deal, Caroline Green.
A report into the responses received by the Growth Board showed a surprisingly small number of representations from parish and town councils. This has been brought to the Growth Board’s attention.
Members also noted the “leaked” letter from Kit Malthouse, the Secretary of State at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, regarding a request for “ambitious proposals for transformational housing growth”. The Government seems to be committing to the housing potential identified in the November 2017 National Infrastructure Commission report, “Partnering for Prosperity: a new deal for the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford arc”, for 1 million homes. The letter expressed that proposals should be led by local authorities.
10 Oxford – Cambridge Expressway
It has been suggested by SODC planning staff that the Expressway corridor decision will now not be announced until September.
The NPCO’s letter of 4 July 2018 to the Secretary of State for Transport was commended. The response received from the Transport Secretary on the Expressway corridor option was noted. Our concerns about wider spatial planning issues in relation to the Expressway’s route had been passed to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
Members noted that SODC had agreed to write to the Secretary of State for Transport stating the District’s support for Corridor C, with sub-option C1, to the west of Oxford.
11 Thames Valley Police Station Site, Greyhound Lane
It was noted that the appeal by Churchill Retirement Living Ltd on the Thames Valley Police site was now being dealt with under the written representations procedure.
The Inspector had visited the site on 2 August 2018. The Town Council was invited to attend, but without any specific request from the Inspector to clarify features on the ground referred to in its representations, had declined. It is understood that the Inspector witnessed some serious transport issues during the visit.
The Town Council’s final response to the Planning Inspector provided further detail to the Town Council’s objections, and responded to matters raised by the applicant’s agent.
12 Affordable Housing / Community Land Trust (CLT)
The one day ‘Visioning’ Workshop to firm up on the scope and objectives of the CLT will take place on Monday 17 September 2018.
Members noted that a developer with land options in the Thame parish area had met with the Chair of the NPCC, and Town Council officers, in order to establish the potential for future joint working regarding the Thame CLT.
13 Housing Needs Survey
Discussion took place on the need for an up to date Housing Needs Analysis (HNA) for Thame and alternative ways for working towards establishing the types and sizes of homes Thame will need over the next 15 years.
The existing District HNA was out of date and could not be used as evidence of need in a revised Thame Neighbourhood Plan. Despite a number of requests to the District Council to undertake a HNA they seemed resistant to do so.
This problem had been discussed at a recent meeting with other towns and parishes who were considering revising their Neighbourhood Plans and the frustration at the District’s lack of response to requests for a new HNA. It was suggested that the market towns in South Oxfordshire might consider joining together to undertake a HNA.
i) Town Council Officers commence work on investigating the cost, scope and possible joint working with other market towns to produce a new Housing Needs Assessment.
14 Health Hub / Hallam Land
Members noted that Hallam Land have supplied copies of their proposed pre-application statement and supporting documents to SODC, which were circulated to all Councillors by e-mail on 25 July 2018 and 27 July 2018. Cllr Austin as Chairman of NPCC and East Thame Residents Association had produced a swift commentary / analysis / response.
Hallam Land / Montpelier are drafting a press release, to which a quote from the Town Council has been added, welcoming potential additional infrastructure, subject to due planning process.
The Town Clerk stated that the proposed development was self-funding and that any s106 contributions received would be spent to make further improvements over and above an approved scheme.
i) The initial response be submitted to SODC (subject to further input from Councillors) for their consideration as part of the pre-application response while also noting it as a basis for further wider discussion.
15 Other Items to Note
The items for information were noted. The Town Clerk stressed all the items were important and urged Members to read all the information shared in item 15 of the agenda.
With reference to item c) Members noted the NPCO had sent responses, as agreed at Full Council on 31 July 2018, to SODC related to applications in Moreton and on Site D. The NPCO would send a response to the amendments to the planning application on the Kingsmead Business park on his return from holiday. The Town Clerk reported he has received a request from Angle Property for a further meeting.
With reference to item f) some Moreton residents had had a separate meeting with John Howell to talk about the Thame Neighbourhood Plan and the impact on Moreton village, but their issues had been passed to the Town Council to deal with. Separately a letter had been sent to SODC requesting a Conservation Area Appraisal for Moreton; the response received back suggested that any Conservation Area Appraisal may have to be funded by the Parish Council.
The meeting concluded at 8.11pm
Chairman, 25 September 2018