Minister meets key players in town plan

MP Nick Boles, centre, with Mayor Nigel Champken-Woods (centre left)
MP Nick Boles, centre, with Mayor Nigel Champken-Woods (centre left)

Thame’s neighbourhood plan has reportedly received the thumbs up from a visiting government minister.

Planning minister Nick Boles visited Thame to reaffirm the government’s commitment to localism and neighbourhood planning.

After the MP met several of the plan’s key figures Mayor Nigel Champken-Woods said he thought the minister was very impressed by what Thame had already achieved.

He said: “This is a significant development in the evolution of neighbourhood planning. By undertaking a neighbourhood plan that makes space for new development, communities can secure revenues to make the community more attractive for everyone.”

The plan, which allocates 775 homes plus employment and shopping, is the first to reach the independent examination stage in the country.

Mr Boles also explained how Thame Town Council could stand to get a 25% share of the levy from local developments without a cap if it approves its plan through a referendum.

The under secretary said that there would be guidelines on what councils could spend the cash on.

He added: “We don’t want to be overly-restrictive but wouldn’t expect the money to be spent on gold-plating your post boxes.”

Thame now must complete the independent examination before the referendum on May 2 and the council is encouraging residents to vote yes.