28 September 2021 – Minutes
THAME TOWN COUNCIL
Minutes of the Meeting of the Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Committee held on 28 September 2021 at 7:02pm in the Upper Chamber, Thame Town Hall.
Cllrs B Austin, N Champken-Woods (Deputy Mayor), P Cowell (Town Mayor), M Dyer (Deputy Chairman), L Emery, H Fickling, C Jones (Chairman), H Richards, and J Tipping
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 Bretherton (personal) and Midwinter (personal).
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.
Under Standing Order 12, Cllr Austin raised a point of accuracy with regards to the final sentence of Item 8 in the minutes from the meeting on 17 August 2021. It was proposed that the following sentence:
It was agreed that Members should raise any further concerns to the NPCO after the meeting.
Be replaced with:
It was proposed that Members move forward with the agenda, and further discussions would be held offline.
The minutes (as amended) of the meeting held on 17 August 2021 were approved and signed by the Chairman.
5 Working Groups
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)
The Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Officer (NPCO) reported that the Town Council had received the S106 monies for the Public Art Wayfinding Project. More information about that project could be found in the Market Town Co-Ordinator’s report under Item 5d of this agenda.
c) Green Living Plan Working Group (GLPWG)
Cllr Jones reported that Thame Green Living had held a successful Electric Vehicle event earlier in the month. They were arranging a meeting with Troy Planning, the consultants for the Thame Neighbourhood Plan review (TNP2), to progress their involvement with TNP2.
d) Town Centre Working Group (TCWG)
Members noted the comprehensive report, and no questions were raised.
e) Transport Plan Working Group (TPWG)
It was noted that the Town Council’s response to Oxfordshire County Council’s Bus Strategy Consultation was formed and submitted at a meeting of the TPWG with deputy Transport Representative (Mary Stiles) on 9 September 2021.
Cllr Austin reported that Mary Stiles had been invited onto the TPWG as a community representative. The TPWG met on 23 August 2021 to bring members up to date with progress. A meeting with Community First Oxfordshire (CFO) was scheduled for 6 October 2021. Subject to discussion and quotation, it was hoped that CFO would provide the content of the questions to be asked for the needs analysis survey based on draft proposals, design and distribute the questionnaire and receive responses by post and electronically. CFO have extensive experience of conducting questionnaires for the County Council. CFO will evaluate the responses and present a report to the Town Council. Monies were available for this work however the Town Council would be asked to approve the expenditure. It was important that data was gathered in order to support discussions with South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) and to ensure that local needs were supported by evidence. Cllr Austin felt that a ‘hub and spoke’ system for Thame that fed into other bus transport networks made sense.
f) Community Facilities Working Group (CFWG)
There was nothing to report.
g) Burial Space Working Group (BSWG)
Officers reported that South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) were chasing the developers for an update. Cllr Fickling reported that the new burial space at St Mary’s Churchyard was filling up quickly and it was expected to be full in 8-12 years.
6 Reports from Town Council Representatives
- Transport Representative – In Cllr Bretherton’s absence there was no report.
7 South Oxfordshire District Local Plan
The NPCO reported that, as well as launching a Joint Local Plan with the Vale of White Horse District Council, SODC were operating a ‘Call for Land and Buildings Available for Change’ consultation with them, which places an emphasis on seeking brownfield land suitable for reuse or redevelopment and ends on 30 September.
8 Thame Neighbourhood Plan Revision (TNP2)
The NPCO reported that the Strategic Environmental Assessment scoping report was sent to the statutory consultees on 9 September, with responses due by 14 October 2021. The report should identify if the main environmental matters, that should be used to judge if our policies and site choices will cause harm that cannot be appropriately mitigated, have been correctly assessed. The report would be available on the website soon. A point of interest within the report was that Thame’s deprivation was almost solely linked to access to housing and services. It was hoped that the report would confirm that everything had been identified and be used to guide the next stage of the plan.
In terms of housing, AECOM were working on the needs assessment and Officers were working with CFO to establish a sound means of detailing requirements for very local specialist housing needs, particularly with regards to elderly accommodation and affordability.
Troy Planning were satisfied with the strength of the employment land market in Thame, adding that, aside from offices, in 2020 it was virtually unchanged and so there remained demand for industry and warehousing. The consultants were working on how to establish employment needs for what is an atypically small geographic area. Thame has sound evidence of its employment needs, so the consultants were now working to identify what was required to satisfy the community that an appropriate need had been calculated for the next few years.
The 4-day public consultation which had started on the day of the previous committee meeting, received an excellent response from the public with 100 responses to the Character Area Assessment and 400 responses to the Vision, Objectives, and indicative site selection assessment. Members had received the analysis from the consultants and the accompanying briefing notes. Comments on the Character Area Assessment were highly constructive and largely supportive. There was strong support for the Vision and Objectives. Naturally, there were mixed feelings regarding the indicative sites. The consultation documents were not in the public domain yet as the collective response points towards possible options that would have implications in terms of resources and how we engage with the public. In light of this, it has been necessary to ask Troy Planning to provide a detailed briefing session for all Members to understand the options and their implications, prior to the documents being made public. A date for this meeting was being arranged by Officers for as soon as possible.
It was noted by Members that there had been a low level of engagement from the younger age groups, and a suggestion was made that a link be included in the school newsletters in future. The NPCO advised that all schools were contacted however given the additional workload and backlog generated by the pandemic, schools had limited capacity to get involved. It was critical, however, that all the community were reached, and how to achieve this would be discussed with Members.
9 Oxfordshire Growth Board / Oxfordshire Plan 2050
Due to workloads, the NPCO had been unable to provide a briefing on the work of the Oxfordshire Growth Board (OGB) and Oxfordshire Plan 2050. Members had been invited to comment on two running consultations – the OGB relating to options for each topic area for the Oxfordshire 2050 Plan, and the Ox-Camb Arc relating to the spatial framework and priorities. The NPCO would be collating the comments and asked Members for responses by 4 October 2021.
10 Affordable Housing / Community Land Trust (CLT)
Following the report at the previous committee meeting, Cllr Austin reported that the only outstanding issue related to bats. Due to conflicting recommendations from statutory consultees, a new landscape plan had been produced to keep all the trees on site, despite no evidence of bats. All other matters had been satisfied and the planning application was due to be considered at the District’s Planning Committee meeting on 13 October 2021. The Community Housing Fund, a Government scheme to assist projects like the Thame CLT that were near completion at the planning stage, has reopened with £4milllion of funding available until March 2022. Thame will be applying for the funding subject to the outcome of the planning committee meeting.
The meeting concluded at 7:26pm.
Chairman, 28 September 2021