14 March 2017 – Minutes
THAME TOWN COUNCIL
Minutes of the Meeting of the Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Committee held on 14 March 2017 at 7.30pm in the Upper Chamber, Thame Town Hall
Present: Cllrs B Austin (Chairman), D Bretherton (Deputy Chairman), D Dodds, M Dyer, L Emery (Town Mayor), H Fickling, A Midwinter and M Stiles
G Hunt, Town Clerk
G Markland, Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Officer
A Oughton, Committee Services Officer
1. Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs Cowell (Unwell), Dixon (Business) and Lambert (Business).
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 31 January 2017 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 – Nothing further to report.
b) The Infrastructure Delivery Plan Working Group
Cllr Bretherton reported that at the previous meeting it was agreed that the revised Infrastructure Delivery Plan / Capital Projects List would be brought to this meeting for formal review. The document had been colour coded to highlight the progress of projects on the list and additional projects had been added. Item lines 20, 42 and 43 had each been split in two.
Cllr Bretherton had also reviewed the Infrastructure Delivery Plan / s106 Sports Funding Allocation spreadsheet showing monies already received. Funding allocated to the Bowls & Tennis Club and Cricket Club projects had risen slightly.
The Town Council was still waiting to receive confirmation from SODC as to when further s106 related funding is expected to be received. Members thanked Cllr Bretherton for his hard work on both the Capital Projects List and the s106 Sports Funding Allocation spreadsheet.
The Town Clerk reported that three important things had happened since the last meeting. It had now been established which County Council officer was responsible for the s106 funding related to the Thame to Haddenham cycle path.
The Town Clerk had met with Daniel Palmer, the District Council Officer responsible for s106 funding. It had been an excellent meeting with both SODC and the Town Council in total agreement as to the s106 funding allocations expected and also imminent funding to be received. One thing not on the list as yet was funding from the development on the old Thame Service Station site. Mr Palmer had shown a complete understanding of what was happening on each of the development sites in the Town.
TOE2 funding issues were discussed and Mr Palmer understood and agreed that the Town Council should have a say in how the funding is spent. He would do his best to ensure this happened and confirmed that any future funding received would stay with SODC.
The Affordable Housing allocation and funding for the Health Hub, specifically allocated to Thame, were discussed and agreed should be spent in Thame. It was further agreed that allocations related to the Green Living Plan could be drawn down against officer time spent on the project together with monies related to the provision of a community facility would be drawn down against the work being undertaken by LEAP Design and also the archeological study at Priest End for the site to be converted to burial space.
The Town Clerk raised concern with regard to County Council s106 funding being returned to the developer where development had not been completed. The SODC Officer did not know of any circumstances where this had happened.
c) The Green Living Plan Working Group
Cllr Fickling reported that the Green Living Plan was progressing and it was hoped that the draft would be available soon. As mentioned in item 5b. there had been a break through with regard to making contact with the Oxfordshire County Council Officer responsible for s106 funding in relation to the Thame to Haddenham cycle path and also the officer responsible at Buckinghamshire County Council. The County Council Officer appreciated the feeling of frustration at the slow progression to date.
The Countryside team at OCC had taken the view that the ‘over land’ route posed several difficulties and had approached Sustrans to conduct a feasibility study into the road route. The report was expected to be published in May / June this year. Cllr Fickling stated that there would be a shortfall in funding for the project and additional funds may be raised through crowd funding.
Members agreed that it was encouraging to know that both County Councils were now communicating with each other and thanked Cllr Fickling for her persistence with OCC in establishing the officer responsible for the project.
d) The Town Centre Working Group – The report was noted.
e) Transport Plan Working Group
Cllr Austin reported that the Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Officer (NPCO) would now chair the Transport Plan Working Group and that following the last meeting a note had been sent to all participants defining next steps.
f) Community Facilities Working Group
The Town Clerk reported that at the last meeting it was agreed to employ LEAP Design to establish further requirements for a community facility together with an audit of current requirements. The proposed survey had gone through a number of iterations and was due to be launched very shortly, subject to final sign off by CFWG Chair and agreement of covering text.
The Town Clerk and the NPCO had met with representatives from Lord Williams’s School regarding the proposal for a Performing Arts Facility although more of the discussion centred on the proposal for a single site school. Notes of the meeting had been circulated to Councillors.
There had been no further information from SODC regarding the report on the Cattle Market site which was expected in February / March. It was crucial that the Town Council were made aware of the findings of the report ahead of the publication of the Local Plan Preferred Options consultation at the end of March so as not be at a disadvantage. The NPCO would follow this up.
g) Burial Space Working Group
The Town Clerk had received the proposed design layout for the burial space on Site C which had been circulated to Councillors. The next step would be for the developer to submit the planning application.
6. Infrastructure Delivery Plan / Capital Project List
Reported under item 5b.
i) The revised top level Infrastructure Delivery Plan / Capital Project List be approved.
7. Infrastructure Delivery Plan – S106 Sports Funding Allocation
Reported under item 5b.
i) The revised Infrastructure Delivery Plan / s106 Sports Funding Allocation list be approved (subject to further SODC procedure) and subject to change as, (a) additional / lesser funds are established, and (b) relevant payment triggers are defined / refined).
8. South Oxfordshire District Local Plan
Members noted that Cllr Dyer and the NPCO would attend the launch of the next stage of consultation on the South Oxfordshire Local Plan to be held on 28 March 2017.
The NPCO had received a response from SODC following submission of an email regarding Neighbourhood Planning allocations and timetable. There had been no direct response on the issue of housing numbers other than to urge the Town Council to continue to gather evidence to substantiate their view.
Discussion took place on the District Council’s lack of a 5 year land supply. It was noted the 3 year land supply protection afforded to towns and villages with an adopted neighbourhood plan would only last for a period of two years. The Housing White Paper suggested a different method of calculation for 5 year land supplies.
9. Park Meadow Cottage
A pre-application meeting had taken place on 9 February 2017 with Cantay Development and DP Architects on proposals for part of the Park Meadow Cottage portion of Site D. The proposal was to put 9 dwellings on just half of the site with the remainder of the site being retained by the land owner. Members were concerned that the retained part of the site would be the subject of a planning application in the future for further dwellings. The site would provide a gateway to the Town and it was therefore important to get the design right.
10. The Elms
A pre-application meeting had taken place on 9 March 2017 with Rectory Homes on their latest proposals for development at The Elms. The Town Clerk had circulated his notes of the meeting to Councillors together with further electronic information received from Rectory Homes which included the commitment to pay the agreed £300k funding for the redevelopment of Elms Park regardless of which development took place on The Elms.
11. Affordable Housing
Cllr Austin reported that he had made contact with Charlie Fisher of the Oxfordshire Community Land Trust and Tom McCulloch of Community First Oxfordshire with a view to arranging a meeting to gain further information. There seemed to be a lot of interest in this aspect of providing Affordable Housing and the Community Land Trust were working to obtain funding for local authorities to appoint officers to concentrate on this type of development. There was an ever widening gap between social rented housing and shared ownership and a need to find a practical solution to the problem.
There had been no further information from District Councillor Matelot Green who had lobbied the Leader of SODC that the local connection applied to social rented properties should also apply to shared ownership properties in the emerging 2032 Local Plan. This would be followed up.
12. Employment Land provision in Thame
Cllr Dyer reported that a strategic planning officer from SODC had attended the last Thame Business Forum meeting where the majority of time had been spent discussing the issue of the lack of provision of employment land in Thame. A separate meeting had taken place with the potential purchasers of Kingsmead Business Park. Evidence would continue to be gathered and it was anticipated that the next revision of the Neighbourhood Plan would focus as much on employment provision as the first Neighbourhood Plan had on housing allocation sites.
13. Neighbourhood Plan Support
It was noted that Cllr Dyer, the Town Clerk and the NPCO had given several presentations to various groups on the Town’s ever increasing experience of life beyond the adoption of the Neighbourhood Plan.
The NPCO had provided evidence to NALC of local authorities ignoring Neighbourhood Plans highlighting planning applications at Goodson Industrial Mews, Land at Elm Tree Farm, Moreton and the discharge of the code for sustainable homes on development at Land at Wenman Road.
14. Housing White Paper Consultation
Members agreed that responsibility for formulating a response to the Government’s Housing White Paper be delegated to the NPCO who may call a separate meeting in line with the accepted consultation response process.
i) Responsibility for formulating a response to the Government’s consultation on the Housing White Paper (by the closing date of 2 May 2017) be delegated to the Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Officer.
The meeting concluded at 8.35pm
Chairman, 16 May 2017