Thame Neighbourhood Plan – Latest News

On Tuesday 14th May, Thame Town Council unanimously approved the revised Thame Neighbourhood Plan (TNP2) as ready for submission to South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) for one last round of consultation and independent examination.

The award-winning Thame Neighbourhood Plan was created by the community to ensure that Thame preserves its character and market town feel. The new Plan will ensure the town retains its close relationship with the open countryside, maintains markets, festivals, and events; continues to act as a centre for surrounding areas, and remains attractive to residents, businesses, and visitors alike.

Update: Friday 7th June 2024

The District Council have sent us notice that the consultation will start on Thursday, 13th June 2024 and will end six weeks later on Thursday, 25th July 2024.

You will be able to view and comment on the submitted plan via the District Council’s website or by visiting Thame library, where a copy of the Plan and its supporting documents will be made available. We will publish full details here soon.

The Road to Referendum

The Thame Neighbourhood Plan is now in the hands of South Oxfordshire District Council, which will hold the Plan’s fourth consultation in early summer 2024.

An independent examiner will then be appointed to review the Plan and any comments made in response to it.

The independent examiner will judge the Neighbourhood Plan against a set of criteria to ensure it meets certain requirements, including:

– That the Plan has been written with regard to National Planning Policy and guidance, 
– That it does not undermine the strategic policies of the District Council’s Local Plan, 
– That it has given special regard to historic assets, like our listed buildings and conservation area,
– That it contributes to the achievement of sustainable development, and
– That it meets human rights requirements and also meets EU obligations relating to the protection of the environment, habitats and species.

Following this, the examiner will issue a report advising if the plan can proceed to referendum.

If the examiner approves the plan, South Oxfordshire District Council will organise the referendum and those registered to vote in Thame will decide whether the Plan should be brought into force (“made”) or not.

If more than 50% of all people who turn out, vote in favour of making the Plan, then it will become part of the suite of planning policies used by the District Council to help shape and determine planning applications in Thame.

A roadmap which shows the plan's journey, from the first consultation in August 2021, where 500 comments were received, the second consultation in which over 900 comments were received, and the third consultation in which 200 comments were made.

The Plan That Thame Built

When local communities were given legal powers to develop Neighbourhood Plans, Thame was one of the first towns in the country to embrace the initiative. The people of Thame recognised that without such a plan, Thame could look very different.
 
The Thame Neighbourhood Plan was developed by the community for the community, who decided its main aim should be to make sure that Thame maintains its character as a real market town.
 

Thame Town Council’s role was to facilitate community involvement, collate feedback, deal with legalities, and prepare the documentation in readiness for consultation and examination.

In 2021, after the first consultation for the new Neighbourhood Plan, it was found that the residents and businesses of Thame wanted the Plan to keep the same effective clear vision and objectives. 500 sets of comments were made by the public. After a further two consultations and an additional 1,100 sets of comments later, the Submission Plan was presented to Thame’s Full Council.

What’s in the Plan?

While the first Thame Neighbourhood Plan mostly focused on guiding development for new parts of the town, TNP2 also encourages positive change within established areas. It will work to keep parking spaces in the Town Centre, propose a site for a budget supermarket, along with a new community centre, wellbeing facilities, and more.

The Thame Neighbourhood Plan (TNP2) includes provisions for Thame’s future housing and employment needs, new open spaces, walking and cycling routes, the future of the Cattle Market and Town Centre parking, and environmental initiatives.

To prepare for the development away from the main housing and employment sites, it includes design codes and policies for Thame that will help shape development in existing areas to ensure the town retains its character for future generations.

For example, the Plan will ensure that the views from Oxford Road into the countryside at Rycote Meadow will be preserved, and walkways will be established or improved providing better links to the Town Centre.

The Thame Neighbourhood Plan is now with South Oxfordshire District Council, which will hold the Plan’s fourth consultation in early summer 2024. Thame Town Council will keep you up-to-date as and when further information becomes available.