18 October 2022 – Minutes


Minutes of the Meeting of the Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Committee held on 18 October 2022 at 7:18pm in the Upper Chamber, Thame Town Hall.


Cllrs B Austin, N Champken-Woods, P Cowell (Town Mayor), M Dyer, H Fickling, A Midwinter, H Richards


M Sturdy, Town Clerk
G Markland, Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Officer
L Fuller, Committee Services Officer


1 Apologies for Absence

Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs Bretherton (personal), Dite (personal), Emery (personal), and Jones (personal).

In the absence of both the Chairman and Deputy Chairman, the first item of business was to elect a Chair for the meeting.

It was moved and duly seconded that Cllr Cowell be appointed Chairman for this meeting. There being no other nominations it was:


  1. Cllr Cowell be elected as Chair for this meeting.


2 Declarations of Interest and Dispensations

There were no declarations of interest.


3 Public Participation and Public Questions

There was no public participation.
There were no public questions put to the Committee.


4 Minutes

The minutes of the meeting held on 6 September 2022 were approved, and signed by the Chairman.


5 Working Groups

a) NPCC Co-Ordination Working Group (NPCCCWG)

There was nothing to report.

b) Infrastructure Delivery Plan Working Group (IDPWG)

There was nothing to report.

c) Green Living Plan Working Group (GLPWG)

In the absence of Cllr Jones, Cllr Richards reported that a successful Thame Drive Electric had been held last month, featuring an energy marquee with advice on using more sustainable energy. The event also saw the launch of two initiatives: Cosy Thame and the Electric Vehicle Hire Club at Thame Barns Centre and Haddenham Village Hall. Cosy Thame offers residents thermal imaging of their property via a camera which connects to a smartphone to show any heat loss. Images cost £10 with Thame Green Living planning to use the revenue to purchase their own camera. The EV Hire Club operates via a smartphone app and costs £10/hour with free charging.

It was noted that the Environmental Forum would be meeting on 19 October 2022 at 6pm.

d) Town Centre Working Group (TCWG)

The report was noted.

e) Transport Plan Working Group (TPWG)

The TPWG were looking to change their name to the Travel Plan Working Group to reflect the group’s work on walking and cycling. Members were also asked to approve the updated Terms of Reference.

It was felt that the Terms of Reference did not refer to the needs of those with mobility issues or ensuring provision for them.

Members felt it was important that the TPWG was able to consider matters such as HGVs, commercial transport, and delivery vehicles, as well as matters that impact on Thame but may not be within the parish. The scope of the TPWG, as outlined in the Terms of Reference, does include projects within (or impacting on) Thame civic parish, and working with other parishes, but it was agreed this needed to be reflected in the ‘Goals’ of the TPWG. It was noted that parking, transport, and highways matters fall under the Planning & Environment Committee.


  1. The Transport Plan Working Group be renamed as the Travel Plan Working Group.
  2. The Terms of Reference be updated to ensure that those with mobility issues are included.
  3. The Terms of Reference be updated to include transport and travel projects that impact on Thame, as well as projects within.

f) Burial Space Working Group (BSWG)

There was nothing to report.


6 Reports from Town Council Representatives

  1. Transport Representative – The next Parish Transport Representative meeting is 19 October 2022.


7 Oxford Local Plan 2040 – Preferred Options Stage Consultation

The Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Officer’s (NPCO) report was noted. The vision and objectives of the Oxford Local Plan 2040 align with other local plans, including the Thame Neighbourhood Plan (TNP), in keeping development within reach of central services. The City market is unusually skewed towards Research and Development (R&D) floorspace making it hold the highest land value, and therefore Oxford City need to carefully construct their policy to ensure delivery of housing, employment, and community needs.

It was recommended that the Town Council support Oxford’s proposals to keep development within their borders as this will reduce the direct and indirect impacts on Oxfordshire towns and villages. It is also recommended that proposals to examine the capacity of existing sites should be supported as well as enabling mixed use development on poor quality sites, whilst retaining and modernising better-quality sites. Mixed use development would deliver housing that Thame would struggle to provide.

In terms of housing requirement, Oxford is looking for housing growth and to base their need on meeting the demand resulting from the city being a high demand area for R&D businesses. The standard methodology would likely generate a lower housing number, however this would not generate funds from the Growth Fund for essential infrastructure. Whilst Thame might prefer lower housing numbers, it is considered that the overall approach is sound.

The data shows that population grew by around 10,000 between 2011 and 2021, but there had not been a growth in the number of households despite 400 homes being built a year. This was likely due to the expansion of Homes in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in the city, as well as distortion caused by student accommodation.


  1. The Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Officer is delegated to send the Town Council’s response, as outlined in the report, to the Oxford City’s 2040 Local Plan Preferred Options Consultation.


8 South Oxfordshire District Local Plan

There were no new updates since the last committee meeting on 6 September 2022.


9 Thame Neighbourhood Plan Revision (TNP2)

The NPCO’s report on employment-related planning permissions in and adjacent to Thame granted by the District Council since 2011 was noted. To date, the loss of employment in Thame has been a concern but without evidential data. The NPCO has undertaken the lengthy task of calculating all employment gains and losses in Thame since 2011. The data shows that there is a slight deficit in employment land, but generally remains about the same, mainly due to delivery of largely industrial employment sites at Cotmore Wells and Rycote Lane, however the capacity for jobs has fallen locally by around 600 jobs. As a guide, a development similar to that under construction at Rycote Lane would provide 275-300 jobs.

‘Not Started: Office’ within the report relates to buildings with permission but work has not started, for example the existing CPM offices have permission to be converted to residential through permitted development however this could be a marketing exercise as the building remains occupied.

‘Industry’ and ‘Warehousing’ are separated out within the net employment floorspace table as they fall under different use classes. The development at Rycote Lane had been identified as not suitable for a large distribution centre and it was unlikely to all be warehousing, but the end users were unknown, and any office space was likely to only be ancillary to support the warehouses.

The Town Council awaits the employment analysis report from AECOM which will make recommendations on types and amount of employment required for Thame. The draft report, which will include the latest census data, should be available in the coming days.

In terms of the timeline for TNP2, the NPCO advised that the consultation was likely to now run over Christmas. Master-planning work and the draft plan could not be progressed until the employment report from AECOM has been received. The draft plan would need to be presented to the Strategic Environmental Assessment team before going to consultation.


10 Affordable Housing / Community Land Trust (CLT)

Cllr Austin advised that the Land Registry had notified the Town Council that the application by the owners of Meadowbrook House to claim squatters’ rights on the trackway has been withdrawn, and thanks were given to the Town Clerk and NPCO for their efforts in this matter.

Following the grant application submitted to South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) in May, Thame CLT were recently advised that delays were due to missing information, which was not the case as the application was fully justified and detailed. Cllr Austin had written to SODC’s leader and executive to progress the application to cabinet, which is now looking likely to be 1st December. It appeared that SODC have taken little action in the last 6 months with regards to this application, which has been very frustrating. Any further delays will mean the full project may be undeliverable.

With regards to S106, a draft was not received until April 2022 which was five months after planning approval. Examination revealed deficiencies in the drafting of the affordable housing clauses. In August 2022, Cllr Austin submitted a letter detailing those deficiencies and asked that they be changed. The solicitor did not reply and only by reminder did the Trust discover that the solicitor had left SODC and they had not been informed. SODC then demanded an additional £3,000 in legal fees as they had exhausted the original payment.

After many hours given by the members of Thame CLT, it was disappointing that as the first CLT scheme in South Oxfordshire, SODC Officers were not supporting the project to progress, although it was noted that SODC Councillors were supporting Thame CLT.


The meeting concluded at 8:19pm.


Signed ………………………                                       ………………………

Chairman                                                        Date