25 May 2021 – Minutes (Draft)
THAME TOWN COUNCIL
Minutes of the Meeting of the Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Committee held on 25 May 2021 at 7:15pm in the Upper Chamber, Thame Town Hall.
Cllrs D Bretherton, N Champken-Woods (Deputy Mayor), P Cowell (Town Mayor), M Dyer (Deputy Chairman), L Emery, H Fickling, C Jones (Chairman), A Midwinter and H Richards.
G Markland, Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Officer
L Fuller, Committee Services Officer
1 Apologies for Absence
Apologies were received from Cllrs Austin (personal) and Tipping (business). The Acting Town Clerk had also given her apologies.
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 meetings held on 6 April 2021 and 18 May 2021 were approved and signed by the Chairman.
5 Working Groups
To receive a report / update from the chairmen of the:
a) NPCC Co-Ordination Working Group (NPCCCWG)
The Chairman advised there had not been any meetings since the previous NPCC and therefore there was nothing to report.
b) Infrastructure Delivery Plan Working Group (IDPWG)
Cllr Bretherton reported that he had received confirmation today that South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) had approved the S106 funding allocation to Chinnor Rugby Club for £41,000. The Rugby Club had also made a request for £44,000 for floodlighting. This funding would be obtained from existing S106 monies allocated to improvements at Chinnor Rugby Club, as per the Sports Facilities Strategy and the Town Council’s Infrastructure Delivery Plan and therefore the Town Council supported this request. The funding would only be released if planning permission were granted.
A question was raised with regards to the Chinnor Rugby Club and whether they were supportive of a Parkrun there. This was not within the remit of the IDPWG and not relevant to this discussion.
c) Green Living Plan Working Group (GLPWG)
The Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Officer (NPCO) reported that Thame Green Living were progressing well with the Rycote Meadow project with the Asset Manager and were arranging an ‘Electric Car Experience Day’ in September for interested people to find out more about owning an electric car. A question was raised regarding an update on electric vehicle charging points in Thame? The NPCO advised that charging points in the public car parks were being handled by the District Council but would follow this up.
Cllr Jones suggested that as she was now a coopted member of Thame Green Living, she could take Cllr Fickling’s place as Chair of the GLPWG. It was agreed this would be looked at as part of the Working Group structure review, as agreed at the Council’s Annual Meeting last week.
d) Town Centre Working Group (TCWG)
The Market Town Co-Ordinator’s report was noted.
e) Transport Plan Working Group (TPWG)
There was nothing to report from the TPWG.
The NPCO advised that the Public Transport Working Group was working with Community First Oxfordshire on a Needs Analysis household survey to understand the difficulties people face when getting around the town. There had been some issues with the group’s technicalities and arrangements, but the Council was working to find a sensible way forward to enable good progress to continue with this project.
SODC had recently announced that parking charges in their car parks would be half price for those with electric vehicles. Cllr Midwinter felt this was discriminatory against people who could not afford electric vehicles.
f) Community Facilities Working Group (CFWG)
There was nothing to report.
g) Burial Space Working Group (BSWG)
The Asset Manager’s report was noted. Cllr Midwinter had volunteered to sit on the BSWG but had not been invited to any meetings. Cllr Bretherton, as Chair of the BSWG, advised that there had been no meetings as the group were awaiting the outcome of the planning application.
Cllr Fickling reported that the S106 funding for the repairs at St Mary’s Churchyard had been received. Thanks were given to the Acting Town Clerk for all her effort and time on this.
6 South Oxfordshire District Local Plan
The NPCO reported that Bioabundance, the group challenging the legality of the District’s Local Plan, had their request for an oral hearing refused and had now requested a hearing at the Court of Appeal.
7 Thame Neighbourhood Plan Revision (TNP2)
The NPCO was pleased to report that the TNP2 Consultants, Troy Planning, had issued a progress report yesterday and were working 2-3 weeks ahead of schedule. They had also issued the first drafts of documents, covering the site assessment report and schedule; indicative site selection report; and a review of TNP policies against planning applications and local / national policies. The NPCO would review these documents in due course. It was noted that Troy Planning were waiting for formal confirmation of a few matters directly from the relevant authorities, which they must obtain in this manner as they are undertaking an independent analysis. The consultants had made an application to Locality for financial assistance and would be making an application for technical support too. The consultants had met with SODC who have been exemplary in their response times. Overall, it was all looking promising and it was hoped that this would continue, given the ambitious timeline of adoption in January 2022. It was hoped that through acting sensibly and logically, it may be possible to reduce this timeline further to reach the District’s deadline of December 2021.
Regarding the site assessments, a question was raised as to the details of the 40 sites that had been rated ‘red’. It was advised that this information had been circulated to all Members earlier in the day and was available on the shared drive.
The NPCO added that a meeting would be taking place this Friday with the consultants to run through the site assessments. The Chair of NPCC would be attending and the NPCO sought other Members to join, noting that there were limits on the number of attendees due to Covid-19. Cllrs Bretherton, Champken-Woods, Dyer and Emery agreed to join. It was noted, and the NPCO agreed, that this was short notice. On this occasion this was due to the meeting being requested by the consultants yesterday, Officer leave and the need to keep to deadlines, which were running slightly ahead of schedule. The meeting was mainly for further information gathering and to ensure the consultants’ understanding of sites.
8 Oxfordshire Growth Board / Oxfordshire Plan 2050
It was assumed that the County Council voting representative position on the Oxfordshire Growth Board (OGB) would be filled by County Councillor Leffman following the local elections. The OGB had not met since April, with their next meeting scheduled for June.
There was nothing to report regarding Oxfordshire Plan 2050, and it was possible their focus was shifting to the Oxford – Cambridge Arc.
9 Affordable Housing / Community Land Trust (CLT)
Cllr Bretherton reported that the planning application was still under consideration at the District Council, with the decision expected next month. The S106 funding can not be dealt with until planning permission is granted. The crossing over the Phoenix Trail remained the main concern however Highways were content with the proposals.
10 Technical Consultation on Consequential Changes to Permitted Development Rights
The NPCO advised that the Government were running a technical consultation on the consequential changes to permitted development rights that follow the creation of the new use classes that came into existence on 1 September 2020. The NPCO advised that it was appropriate for the Town Council to respond, particularly with regards to the impact on the High Street. It was agreed that the NPCO and the Market Town Co-Ordinator would respond on behalf of the Town Council.
The meeting concluded at 7:48pm.
Chairman, 6 July 2021