17 May 2016 – Minutes
THAME TOWN COUNCIL
Minutes of the Meeting of the Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Committee held on 17 May 2016 at 7.30pm in the Upper Chamber, Thame Town Hall
Present: Cllrs B Austin (Chairman), D Bretherton (Deputy Chairman), N Dixon (Deputy Mayor), D Dodds, M Dyer, L Emery (Town Mayor), H Fickling, P Lambert,
A Midwinter and M Stiles.
G Hunt, Town Clerk
A Oughton, Committee Services Officer
1 Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Cowell (Business).
2 Declarations of Interest and Dispensations
Cllr Stiles declared an interest in item 15 as a member of the Cattle Market Action Group. Cllr Dodds declared an interest in any item which involved discussion of Site C as a family member is related to the land owner.
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 meetings held on 23 February 2016 and 10 May 2016 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
5 Working Groups
a) Infrastructure Delivery Plan Working Group
The report covering a recent meeting held with the Chairman of the Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Committee and the Town Clerk was noted.
b) Green Living Plan Working Group
The report covering a recent meeting held with the Chairman of the Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Committee and the Town Clerk was noted. A meeting had taken place today with the RSA and the Consultancy Brief and Objectives had been agreed with some minor amendments. Additional members of the Green Living Plan Working Group had been established and the Working Group would meet shortly.
c) Town Centre Working Group
The report covering a recent meeting held with the Chairman of the Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Committee and the Town Clerk was noted. The Working Group would be driven by the outcomes of the Vibrancy & Vitality Report and the appointment of a Market Town Co-ordinator as recommended in the report.
6 Vibrancy & Vitality Study
It was identified and agreed earlier this year that an independent company would undertake a Vibrancy & Vitality Study of the Town Centre. Miller Research was engaged to execute the Study and undertook a wide range of surveys together with a workshop at the Annual Town Meeting in March.
The Study was now before Councillors to comment on any factual errors / omissions and agree that it delivered the objectives set out in the original Brief.
i) The Vibrancy & Vitality Study be formally received and any final comments for accuracy be forwarded to the Town Clerk by Thursday 19 May.
7 Market Town Co-ordinator
One of the key recommendations of the Vibrancy & Vitality Study was the recruitment of a Market Town Co-ordinator, and it was agreed to proceed.
i) The responsibility for the recruitment of a Market Town Co-ordinator be delegated to the Chairman of the Town Centre Working Group and the Town Clerk, with officer support as appropriate, for execution as soon as practically possible.
8 Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Officer
It was noted that Council resolved on 26 April 2016 that the role of the Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Officer should be altered from part time to full time subject to funding being established. Analysis of 2016-17 End of Year accounts had been executed and the Town Clerk stated that the risk of not recruiting outweighed the financial risk of recruiting. As for the part time role, recruitment would be executed by the Chairman of the Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Committee and the Town Clerk, with officer support as appropriate, as soon as practically possible.
9 Affordable Housing
The Chairman presented the report and outlined the work that had been undertaken to better understand the allocation of affordable housing in Thame. Members agreed that further action be taken as specified in Section E, 1-4 of the report.
i) The report be noted and that the next steps, as highlighted in Section E 1-4 of the report be taken.
10 RTPI Conference – Place Making
Members noted the presentation by Cllr Fickling entitled ‘Thame Neighbourhood Plan – Effective Community Engagement’ to the RTPI East of England Conference.
11 Lord Williams’s Lower School Site
It was noted that further discussions had taken place with representatives from Lord Williams’s School, the District Council and the Town Council on the proposed single site school. The School was seeking professional advice with regard to the present funding gap. A planning application would need to be submitted in 2019, two years ahead of the review trigger identified in the Thame Neighbourhood Plan. One of the key concerns was establishing whether a community building would need to be retained on the Lower School site. It was also agreed that full investigations into s106 money be requested.
12 Infrastructure Delivery Plan – S106 Sports Funding Allocation
The Infrastructure Delivery Plan Working Group had been working on a possible provisional allocation of current and future s106 funds relating to sports provision the results of which were presented. It was noted that the total of all the project costs was £2,663,000 compared with £951,067 of s106 allocated funds. S106 funding was also inflation proofed so the figure could increase from that shown on the spreadsheet.
The District Council had received s106 funding from the development on the old Angus House site this afternoon. There were plans to talk to Taylor Wimpey and Bloor Homes to ascertain when payment triggers would release s106 funding from Sites C1 and F.
i) The proposal be adopted as a starting point (subject to further SODC procedure) and subject to change as, (a) additional / lesser funds are established, and (b) relevant payment triggers are defined / refined.
13 Town Centre Working Group Action List
The first draft Action List had been compiled based on the goals defined in the agreed Terms of Reference of the Town Centre Working Group. The essential tasks could be carried out in the short term whilst leaving the larger projects until the relevant personnel were on board. There was very little on the Action Plan beyond the next six month period and it would be for the Market Town Co-ordinator to progress once appointed. Members agreed the action list presented a good starting point from which to move forward.
i) The first draft of the Town Centre Working Group Action List be approved, as a sensible starting point, for expansion in due course.
14 Key Items for Progress
The Committee Chairman had identified three key items that needed to be progressed; a) the future of the Cattle Market Site; b) transport within Thame and c) parking within Thame. All three items overlapped and also needed to be discussed as an entity. Discussion would also need to take place across the three working groups and include members of the Planning & Environment Committee, the Community, Leisure & Recreation Committee and later external groups such as the District and County Councils.
i) A cross party working group be established to coordinate progression of the three identified key issues.
15 Future of the Cattle Market Site
As resolved in item 14 a cross party working group would be established to look at the next steps to progress discussions / decisions related to the site for the good of Thame as a whole.
16 Transport within Thame
It was agreed at the Policy & Resources Committee meeting on 17 July 2015 to execute a transport study and subsequently agreed (at the Policy & Resources Committee meeting on 13 October 2015) that this would be picked up by the Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Committee.
As resolved in item 14 a cross party working group would be established to look at the next steps to progress discussions / decisions related to transport for the good of Thame as a whole.
Reference was made to bus subsidies and the alternative idea of a hopper bus.
Discussion also took place with regard to the suggestion to supplement the individual Travel Plans / Transport Statements for each Neighbourhood Plan allocated site and that a single Thame-wide transport / travel plan should be prepared.
i) A single Thame-wide transport / travel plan be prepared.
17 Parking within Thame
As resolved in item 14 a cross party working group would be established to look at the next steps to progress discussions / decisions related to parking for the good of Thame as a whole.
Cllr Emery had commenced work on analysing the usage of car parking provision within the town. Early findings indicated that parking provision was under most pressure on Tuesdays. Separately the Town Council had agreed to further analysis of two hour parking in the town. The Town Clerk reported that concern had been received from a number of people who travelled by car to work in the town centre and the lack of provision for all day parking.
18 Burial Space at Site C
As part of the Site C planning application, both CEG and Taylor Wimpey, committed to jointly commission a Groundwater Risk Assessment to determine the suitability of the retained agricultural land for burial space. This assessment had now been concluded and outcome is that the retained agricultural land is suitable for burial space.
Since the introduction of the Thame Neighbourhood Plan things had moved on with regard to identifying alternative sites for burial and the potential to extend the existing churchyard at St Mary’s Church.
i) A working group be set up to consider all the facts / arguments for additional burial space and establish the next steps.
19 South Oxfordshire Local Plan 2032
Discussion took place on the report for South Oxfordshire District Council Cabinet preparing the way for the next stage of public consultation on the Local Plan. It was felt it had not sought to address the balance of circumstances including the unmet housing needs of Oxford City or forced the issue of the green belt and was a very disappointing document.
It was agreed that the Town Council press the fact that the number of windfalls in Thame had been enormous, the figure for windfall developments should be subtracted from any additional housing figures for Thame and that windfall numbers should be bottom sliced rather than top sliced. Additional detail is required to enable that.
There was some encouragement from the report in the Oxford Times at the beginning of May which stated that the Local Plan Expert Group had raised doubts about the calculation of the SHMA figures. In their opinion the figure of 100,000 new homes could be reduced downwards by 30% to 70,000 for Oxfordshire as a whole.
It was agreed that a formal response would be made once the public consultation document was published at the end of June.
20 Neighbourhood Plan Amendment Process
A summary of the meeting with John Howell, MP on 13 May 2016 had been provided to Members. With regard to the amendment process for a Neighbourhood Plan John Howell stated that information would be contained within the Queen’s Speech to be given at the Opening of Parliament tomorrow.
He strongly supported the Neighbourhood Right of Appeal and committed to provide more information on how Neighbourhood Plans had been strengthened through amendments to the Housing & Planning Bill.
With regard to the five year land supply, he noted that developers would firstly test opportunities to develop in areas without a Neighbourhood Plan and supported the view that windfall numbers should not be top sliced. John Howell urged the Town Council to lobby their District Councillors to argue the case on behalf of the town.
21 Neighbourhood Plan Update Newsletter
It was agreed that the Town Clerk would work with the Chairman to update the Neighbourhood Plan Update report and a summary of the report would be produced, in a newsletter format, for publication in June. There was some discussion on a town-wide delivery mechanism.
The meeting concluded at 9.06pm
Chairman, 28 June 2016