24 November 2020 – Minutes
THAME TOWN COUNCIL
Minutes of the Meeting of the Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Committee held on 24 November 2020 at 7:08pm by Zoom Conference Call.
Cllrs B Austin, D Bretherton, P Cowell, M Dyer, L Emery, H Fickling, S Francis, C Jones (Chairman) and A Midwinter
Cllr T Wyse
C Pinnells, Acting Town Clerk
G Markland, Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Officer
L Fuller, Committee Services Officer
1 Apologies for Absence
Apologies were received from Cllrs Deacock (personal) and Tipping (business).
All Members who were present were able to be seen and be heard.
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.
The minutes of the meeting held on 6 October 2020 were approved and signed by the Chairman.
5 Working Groups
To receive a report / update from the chairmen of:
a) The NPCC Co-Ordination Working Group (NPCCCWG)
There was nothing to report as the Working Group had not met since the last NPCC.
b) The Infrastructure Delivery Plan Working Group
Cllr Bretherton advised that an update on the work of the IDPWG would be provided under Item 10 of this meeting.
c) The Green Living Plan Working Group
Cllr Fickling reported that the Thame Green Living (TGL) group were coordinating with 21st Century Thame on various projects and organisational work. TGL were also identifying which projects to implement now the plan was adopted. The NPCO (Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Officer) add that the TGL group were looking to become a Charitable Incorporated Company and would be exploring options for start-up funds. TGL will consider a Memorandum of Understanding with the Town Council to ensure projects are well coordinated. The Solar Street project was off to a good start following promotional stalls at the market and outside the Town Hall and a virtual Q&A session, with the first fittings booked.
d) The Town Centre Working Group
The Chairman thanked the Market Town Co-Ordinator (MTCO) for another comprehensive report. Members noted that they had received many compliments from the public on the Advent Calendar booklet and thanked the MTCO and Committee Services Officer for their work on the booklet.
e)The Transport Plan Working Group
The NPCO reported on the meeting between the Town Council and Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) regarding Civil Parking Enforcement. OCC were keen for the model to be self-financing.
A question was raised with regards to a recent ‘20 is plenty’ suggestion. The NPCO advised that the suggestion would need to be subject to a community consultation and would need a holistic approach if supported. The TPWG would be responsible for progressing this and wider provision of public transport, and it was felt that the TGL group should be involved.
f) The Community Facilities Working Group
The NPCO reported further works at Thame Football Partnership and the Terms of Reference for the Youth Projects Working Group was being progressed and reviewed. A meeting had also been held with Rycote Surgery to discuss alternative ways of ensuring the planned expansion of GP services happens in line with local population growth.
g) The Burial Space Working Group
Cllr Bretherton was pleased to report that a meeting of the BSWG had been held and Nexus had put forward their plans for the burial space. Once the planning application was in, the Town Council would need to consider whether to take on the running of it. The Acting Town Clerk added that the updated BSWG Terms of Reference would be taken to the next NPCC.
6 South Oxfordshire District Local Plan
The NPCO advised that the Town Council had submitted its comments on the District Council’s Local Plan Main Modifications, with the main issues reported at the previous NPCC meeting. It was assumed that the Inspector’s report was still due at the end of this month, with the Plan’s adoption due in mid-December and then fully adopted six weeks after that if there are no legal challenges. Cllr Bretherton confirmed that the Plan was due to be adopted on 10 December 2020 and SODC were still under the Secretary of State’s direction.
7 Thame Neighbourhood Plan Revision (TNP2)
The NPCO reported that Members had been briefed on the proposed Main Modifications of the Local Plan and the possible outcomes for Thame. The Inspector’s final report will contain more detail. Within 12 months of the adoption of the Local Plan, Thame will need to have its Neighbourhood Plan at submission stage. The NPCO suggested that a meeting of the NPCCCWG was called to agree on the way forward.
8 Oxfordshire Growth Board / Oxfordshire Plan 2050
The NPCO reported that the draft Strategic Vision for Oxfordshire had been considered by the Oxfordshire Growth Board and that the Oxfordshire Open Thought consultation was still open for comments. The Oxfordshire Growth Board had, alongside partners, endorsed the Oxford to Cambridge Arc Economic Prospectus despite the withdrawal of Buckinghamshire Council, Buckingham LEP and the University of Buckingham. It was also reported that Bev Hindle, the Director of Oxfordshire 2050 had moved on to take up Executive Director role of the Oxford Cambridge ARC.
9 Affordable Housing / Community Land Trust (CLT)
Cllr Austin reported that unfortunately there had been a delay in getting the planning application put in. There had been a 22% increase in the price to meet Passivhaus requirements, which had been attributed to Brexit, Covid-19 and shortages in supplies. It was disappointing that this had made it totally unaffordable to deliver Passivhaus on the site. The site would now adopt Code 4, with 20% renewable energy, and the aim was to achieve maximum sustainability nonetheless. The design remains unchanged however it was noted that the orchard would be replaced with a wildflower meadow and it was hoped that the TGL group would be involved with the planting.
The priority now was to put the planning application in, which would be a key landmark in the project’s progress, and would be done in partnership with the Town Council in order to save on fees – similar to the Cricket Club Clubhouse project. Once the planning application was filed, Cllr Austin intended to circulate a copy to Members and it would also release the balance of monies from Homes England. Cllr Austin reported that the project was exploring achieving exempt charity status from HMRC, which would save around £50,000 on stamp duty.
A question was raised as to how many homes would be deliverable if they were built at Passivhaus standards? Cllr Austin advised that due to the increase in costs and following a development appraisal with an expert, it was confirmed that the site would have become a market sale not an affordable housing site and achieving the very heavy discounts on rent and sale would not have been possible.
10 Infrastructure Delivery Plan (Sports Allocations)
Cllr Bretherton presented the updated Sports Strategy Funding Allocation list and explained the background to the document. The majority of the allocations in the document were fixed as they either have been spent or are specified under S106 agreements. The main change related to the Persimmon development funds, which SODC calculated as being approximately £49,000 higher than the Town Council was expecting. Although their funding had been paid, it had not been fully index linked as Persimmon were disputing this so there was possible further funding to come. The document had been updated to reflect the increased funds received from Persimmon.
Members questioned the funding related to the Football Club 3G Artificial Pitch. The Acting Town Clerk clarified that the Town Council would apply for £339,000 of S106 funding for that project, but there was £419,000 available. In the event that the 3G Artificial Pitch project exceeded its contingency fund, then the remaining £80,000 could be drawn upon, however Officers felt this scenario was unlikely given that it was a fixed price project.
- The revised S106 Sports Strategy Funding Allocation list be approved.
11 Other Items to Note
The items for information were noted.
The meeting concluded at 7:55pm.
Chairman, 12 January 2021