Historic moment as Thame town plan examined

Thame town plan public hearing at the town hall on Tuesday
Thame town plan public hearing at the town hall on Tuesday

Thame made history this week when it became the first town in the country to hold a public hearing of a neighbourhood plan.

Independent examiner Nigel McGurk heard from people including developers and residents’ associations on the plan, which details how 775 new homes would be built in Thame in the next 15 years.

The town council, which devised the plan after public consultation, must now wait for Mr McGurk to deliver his ruling on the proposals.

Should it be given the green light, a referendum will be held on May 2, the same day as county council elections, asking people whether or not they want to adopt the plan.

The Mayor of Thame, Councillor Nigel Champken-Woods, said the hearing had gone well.

He said: “Everybody was a bit nervous because nobody has ever done one before. It was a real piece of national history.”

The aim of the plan is to give Thame residents a greater say over planning. If the neighbourhood plan is rejected at referendum the houses will still need to be built but the district council will decide where they go.

One undecided element of the plan is the proposed community centre. A centre with a capacity for 200 people is in the plans, but more work needs to be done before a final decision is taken on its size. Mr Champken-Woods said: “We need to investigate what the requirements are.”