26 July 2022 – Minutes
THAME TOWN COUNCIL
Minutes of the Meeting of the Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Committee held on 26 July 2022 at 6:45 pm in the Upper Chamber, Thame Town Hall.
Cllrs A Dite (Deputy Mayor), M Dyer, L Emery, C Jones (Chairman), A Midwinter
G Markland, Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Officer
L Fuller, Committee Services Officer
1 Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs Austin (personal), Bretherton (personal), Champken-Woods (personal), Cowell (personal) and Fickling (personal).
Cllr Richards was absent without apology.
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 14 June 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)
It was noted that SODC have agreed to alter the second payment schedule of £52,162.50 (65%), relating to S106 Public Art Funds, to be drawn down in two stages. This was at the request of the Public Art Working Group.
A question was raised as to whether there was an update on S106 matters relating to the development at The Elms? The NPCO advised that the District Council had responded to the Town Council’s questions relating to the funding and redevelopment of Elms Park, although some matters required the opinion of their legal team. Once this had been received, the NPCO would process this as both the developer and Town Council were keen to resolve matters.
c) Green Living Plan Working Group (GLPWG)
There was nothing to report.
d) Town Centre Working Group (TCWG)
The report was noted. The Chairman thanked the Market Town Co-Ordinator for another comprehensive report, highlighting the work relating to air quality monitoring, promotion of Thame Green Living and opening of the public Electric Vehicle charging points. It was noted that the future of the Wayfinding project may be in jeopardy due to rising material and manufacturing costs.
e) Transport Plan Working Group (TPWG)
In the absence of Cllr Richards, there was nothing to report, however the Chairman noted that at the previous committee meeting there had been discussion regarding changing the name to the Travel Working Group. This would need to be formally agreed by the TPWG and their Terms of Reference updated.
f) Burial Space Working Group (BSWG)
The report was noted. With regards to the burial space on Site C, it was noted that Taylor Wimpey had advised it was totally unacceptable that their colleagues had not submitted the planning application to South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC).
6 Reports from Town Council Representatives
- Transport Representative – The report from Cllr Bretherton was noted. It is concerning that funding from the Department for Transport for bus companies is set to end on 1 October 2022.
7 South Oxfordshire District Local Plan
The Neighbourhood Plan continuity Officer (NPCO) reported that the response to the Call for Sites will be published later this year. The next consultation will be in relation to the preferred options plan, expected to be in early 2023.
8 Thame Neighbourhood Plan Revision (TNP2)
Following the previous Full Council meeting in June 2022, Members had requested that topic papers were prepared in relation to housing mix and outstanding housing needs. These had been circulated by email and Members were asked to return any comments before these were made publicly available alongside the draft plan.
There had been further unexpected delays to the technical support on the employment needs analysis. Given that the outcome of this work could change the final drafts of the masterplan, Officers were now looking to bring TNP2 back to Full Council at an additional meeting on 6 September, with an informal meeting with Councillors provisionally scheduled for 23 August, when the approximate employment needs figure would hopefully be available to share. The NPCO would be having weekly meetings with the Employment Needs Technical Support team to ensure progress is maintained.
An internal meeting with Officers is scheduled for next week to prepare a programme for the upcoming pre-submission plan consultation. It was recognised that this would require significant Officer resources and thanks were given for their support.
With regards to the Design Technical Support, the first draft of the allocation site concept diagrams had been sense checked by the NPCO and Troy Planning. Both potential employment sites needed sensitive landscape treatment, and funding for a landscape specialist had been requested from the Government to appraise both sites. This would inform the developable area, and perhaps the quantum, scale, and massing on both potential employment sites. The NPCO and Troy Planning had also requested additional funding so that a greater level of concept plan detail can be applied to the existing housing sites.
There were a few major planning applications in the planning system that were important in TNP2. Reserve Site C and Windmill Road (Community Land Trust site) were just awaiting their S106 agreements to be finalised, and then full planning permission would be granted. The application at Reserve Site F (Oxford Road) was currently under consideration. In relation to this site, the NPCO advised that he and the Asset Manager had met with the applicants (Bloor), landowners, and Thame Green Living to discuss the role of the area of land to the north of the application site. This area is intended for a net biodiversity area, initially this would be to meet the planning requirements, but longer term the landowner was keen to ensure biodiversity in perpetuity and hoped it would be transferred to a responsible body, potentially Thame Town Council, for the benefit of Thame.
The area of archaeological interest was also discussed. It was agreed that in order to deal with the area cohesively and enable the ongoing planning process, Bloor liaise with the TNP2 master planners at AECOM to demonstrate how the existing and potential green spaces connect, which will also be beneficial for the Town and District Council planning committees.
A question was raised as to whether there were any updates on the possible area of archaeological interest at the potential Rycote Lane employment site? The NPCO advised that there were some anomalies that required further investigation through specialist surveys, but that the agent was waiting for the site allocation confirmation before undertaking these works. This was a risk to the developer, but also to TNP2 as that employment land, if allocated, would be undeliverable. In this instance, it would be sensible to have Howland Road as a reserve site, however at this stage the findings of the employment needs assessment were awaited prior to any site allocation being made.
A question was raised with regards to the works next to ASM on Rycote Lane, as it appeared that a large area had been dismantled to a pile of concrete on the former Gregory’s site. The NPCO advised that planning permission had been granted to convert this area into an extension of ASM. This was regrettable as there was not a gain in employment despite using a large area of employment land.
Finally, a question was raised as to progress on the care home strategy which had been previously discussed? The NPCO reminded Members that the Town Council had undertaken a local needs survey through Community First Oxfordshire, and data was also available at a more strategic level through the Housing Needs Assessment report as part of TNP2.
9 Future Oxfordshire Partnership / Oxfordshire Plan 2050
The report was noted. The NPCO advised that there were a few matters that had not been reported on within the report due to time constraints.
10 Affordable Housing / Community Land Trust (CLT)
In the absence of Cllr Austin, there was nothing to report.
The meeting concluded at 7:11pm.
Signed ……………………… Date ………………..