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Chairman (Agenda Item 1)
(a) To elect the Chairman of the Council for the ensuing year.
(b) The newly elected Chairman to sign the required Declaration of Acceptance of Office.
The Outgoing Chairman thanked everyone for their support particularly the Member Services Manager, the Marketing and Communications Manager and her team and his Secretary. He said he had enjoyed chairing the meetings and had enjoyed a busy year. Finally he congratulated Councillor Shirley Matthews on her third term as Mayor of Swaffham.
(a) After being duly moved and seconded, it was
RESOLVED that Mr J Labouchere be elected Chairman of the Council for the ensuing year.
(b) Mr Labouchere signed the Declaration of Acceptance of Office.
Mr Labouchere in the Chair.
Vice-Chairman (Agenda Item 2)
(a) To appoint the Vice-Chairman of the Council for the ensuing year.
(b) The newly appointed Vice-Chairman to sign the required Declaration of Acceptance of Office.
(a) After being duly moved and seconded, it was
RESOLVED that Mr J Rogers be appointed Vice-Chairman of the Council for the ensuing year.
(b) Mr Rogers signed the Declaration of Acceptance of Office.
Vote of Thanks to the Outgoing Chairman (Agenda Item 3)
The new Chairman thanked Mr Francis for doing a fabulous job representing the Council and people throughout Norfolk. He had been impressed by the job he had done as Chairman.
A representative of the Labour Party commented that Mr Francis had been different to other Chairman and had brought outside people into the Council. He thanked him for a very good year.
An Independent Member said that as Mayor of Watton he had met the Chairman at various events and he had represented Breckland with great dignity and been a wonderful ambassador for the Council.
The Leader of the Council presented Mr Francis with a picture of himself with members of the armed forces taken at the Armed Forces Review. He also mentioned that over £4,000 had been raised for Quidenham Hospice during the previous year.
Finally the new Chairman presented Mr Francis with a ‘Past Chairman of Breckland’ medal.
Chairman's Announcements (Agenda Item 4)
(including the engagements of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman)
The Chairman told Members that there would be a short presentation on the LDF at the end of the meeting, followed by a photo shoot which he asked all to stay on for.
There was one Urgent Item. The report had been circulated and a copy tabled.
He then gave a short speech explaining how delighted he was to become Chairman and outlining the projects he hoped to support in the ensuing year, including raising money for Riding for the Disabled, fighting the closure of post offices and supporting a plan for genuine Thetford to Wymondham A11 improvements.
He congratulated Councillor Lynda Turner on her election as Mayor of Dereham.
Finally he said he hoped he would not prove to be the penultimate Chairman of Breckland.
A list of engagements attended by the outgoing Chairman and former Vice Chairman was tabled, for the period 10 April to 21 May 2008, which included:
To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 10 April 2008.
The minutes of the meeting held on 10 April 2008 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
Apologies (Agenda Item 6)
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from Cllr C Bowes, Mr R Duffield, Mr P Hewett, Mrs S Matthews, Mrs L Monument, Mr D Mortimer, Mrs P Quadling, Mr B Rose, Mr I Sherwood and Mr D Williams.
Declaration of Interest (Agenda Item 7)
Members are asked at this stage to declare any interests they may have in any of the following items on the agenda.
The Members’ Code of Conduct requires that declarations include the nature of the interest and whether it is personal or prejudicial.
The following declarations of interest were noted:
· Lady K Fisher – Personal interest in any items concerning Thetford Growth Point and LDF by virtue of her family being landowners in the district.
· Mr S Askew – Personal interest in Minute No 57/08 of the Council Agenda by virtue of having land under consideration in the LDF.
· Mr R Childerhouse – Personal interest in any items concerning the LDF, by virtue of being a landowner in the district.
· Mr J Labouchere – Personal interest in any items concerning the LDF, by virtue of being a landowner in the district.
· Mr P Duigan – Personal interest in Cabinet Minute No 64/08 by virtue of being a member of Dereham Town Council.
· Mr R Kybird – Personal interest in O&SC Minute No 24/08 by virtue of work interests in relation to LDF matters.
· Mr F Sharpe – Personal and Prejudicial interest in Agenda Item 16 by virtue of him running a Post Office.
Report of the Strategic Director – Cabinet.
A list of attendances for 2007-2008 is attached for Members’ information.
The Member Services Manager explained that the attendance list attached for information would be withdrawn and replaced at a later date to avoid confusion as it ran from April 2007 and did not accurately reflect attendance details from the last Annual meeting to this one.
(a) Leader of the Council
Having been duly moved and seconded, Members
RESOLVED that Mr J W Nunn be re-appointed as Leader of the Council for the ensuing year.
Mr Nunn outlined the work that had been completed during the past, very successful year, and said that there were significant challenges in the coming year. He also thanked Mr Stasiak for his nine years service on Cabinet; he had stepped down from that role but would continue to serve on the Council.
The Leader of the Labour Party also congratulated Mr Stasiak for what he had done during his time on Cabinet.
(b) Deputy Leader of the Council
Having been duly moved and seconded, Members
RESOLVED that Mr W H C Smith be re-appointed as Deputy Leader of the Council for the ensuing year.
(c) Executive Support Members
The Member Services Manager highlighted some minor corrections to terminology: Performance Portfolio should read People First and Economic and Commercial should read Housing and Economic.
RESOLVED that the Committees and Panels, their Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen where appropriate and Joint Consultative Committee Member representation be re-appointed en bloc as detailed in the report, subject to the following changes:
Overview and Scrutiny Commission
Mrs T Hewett replaced by Mr A Stasiak.
Mr C Jordan replaced by Mr M Kiddle-Morris.
General Purposes Committee
Mr W Smith replaced by Mr A Stasiak.
Membership corrected to read Mrs M Chapman-Allen, not Mr S Chapman-Allen.
Mr R Kybird noted as Vice-Chairman.
Policy Development and Review Panel 2
Mrs L Monument noted as Vice-Chairman.
Staff Appointments Panel
Mr A Stasiak replaced by Mrs T Hewett
Mr P Cowen replaced by Mr R Duffield.
Local Joint Consultative Committee
Mrs T Hewett replaced by Mr R Kybird.
Unconfirmed minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 29 April 2008.
(Schedule of Representations on Outside Bodies 2008/2009 attached for information – Minute No 68/08 refers).
(a) Comprehensive Equality Policy 2008 - 2010
RESOLVED that the revised Comprehensive Equality Policy and Action Plan 2008 - 2010 be adopted.
(b) Race Equality Scheme 2008 - 2010
RESOLVED that the revised Race Equality Scheme and Action Plan 2008 – 2010 be adopted and published.
(c) Environment Strategy for Breckland
A Member asked when the Council would insist on higher standards for house building. It was explained that Building Regulations standards were set nationally; however developers were encouraged to build to higher standards and documents were being prepared to enable the Council to support the Nottingham Declaration.
RESOLVED that the Environment Strategy 2008 – 2013 for Breckland Council and the delivery of the Year One Action Plan be approved, subject to quarterly reviews and the continued monitoring of feedback through the Environment Strategy Working Group established by the Overview and Scrutiny Commission.
(d) Transfer of Play Areas
A Member questioned the Council’s policy of passing the responsibility for play areas down to Town and Parish Councils who lacked the resources to maintain them.
The Leader of the Council pointed out that the parishes had looked after their own play areas for years and that funding was being made available for the Council to inspect and maintain the play areas for the next 20 years.
(e) Review of Political Management Arrangements
The Leader of the Labour Party explained why Labour Members had voted against item 2 of the recommendation. He was concerned that only one Member and one officer could make decisions and that one officer could decide what items were contentious. He also asked why the Scrutiny Champion was to be an officer.
The Chief Executive explained that the aim was to allow simple reports to get to the decision stage more speedily and did not affect the delegation process.
It was also pointed out that the Scrutiny Champion officer would check on officers’ standards, not Members.
RESOLVED that the following changes to the political management arrangements at Breckland Council be approved:
1. Overview and Scrutiny Function
a) The proposals as set out in paragraphs 3.2.11 to 3.2.19 inclusive of the report be adopted and the Member Development Team Leader develops an action plan by 29 May 2008 together with a timed programme of its delivery.
b) The sum of £10,000 per annum to provide funding to support major Scrutiny reviews and assist research by the University of East Anglia be allocated.
2. Speed up the Decision Making Process
a) The proposed new report clearance process, as shown in Appendix 1 of the report, be introduced with immediate effect subject to the provision for consultation with Ward Members on ward-specific matters and the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission (on a suggested weekly-list basis or such other method as may be practicable).
3. Development of Councillors as Community Leaders
a) Ward profiles and plans be developed to describe the character of each Ward (or cluster of wards), in consultation with relevant Members as detailed in paragraph 3.2.21(b) of ... view the full minutes text for item 56.
Unconfirmed minutes of the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission held on 17 April 2008.
RESOLVED that the unconfirmed minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission meeting held on 17 April 2008 be adopted.
Unconfirmed minutes of the meeting of the Development Control Committee held on 28 April 2008.
RESOLVED that the confirmed minutes of the Development Control Committee meeting held on 28 April 2008 be adopted.
Unconfirmed minutes of the meeting of the General Purposes Committee held on 23 April 2008.
RESOLVED that the unconfirmed minutes of the General Purposes Committee meeting held on 23 April 2008 be adopted.
a) Confirmed minutes of the Appeals Committee meeting held on 23 January 2008.
b) Unconfirmed minutes of the Appeals Committee meeting held on 16 April 2008.
(a) RESOLVED that the confirmed minutes of the Appeals Committee meeting held on 23 January 2008 be adopted.
(b) RESOLVED that the unconfirmed minutes of the Appeals Committee meeting held on 16 April 2008 be adopted.
a) Confirmed minutes of the meeting of the Standards Committee held on 15 April 2008.
b) Unconfirmed minutes of the meeting of the Standards Committee held on 6 May 2008.
Mrs J Jenkins Independent Chairman of the Standards Committee was in attendance to present the minutes.
(a) RESOLVED that the confirmed minutes of the Standards Committee meeting held on 15 April 2008 be adopted.
(b) RESOLVED that the revised version of the unconfirmed minutes of the Standards Committee meeting held on 6 May 2008, which had been tabled, be adopted.
Strategic Alliance (Agenda Item 15)
To receive an update (if any).
Nothing to report.
Report of the Strategic Director – Services.
(Minute No 26/08 of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 17 April 2008 refers.)
A supplementary paper with additional comments suggested for inclusion in the Council’s response had been circulated.
The Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission presented this report which was a culmination of work by the Commission and officers to prepare a paper to submit to Post Offices Limited.
A special meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission had been held on 13 May 2008 and representatives of the Post Office had been present, along with a large number of members of the public.
The Post Office representatives had advised that the change programme was required by the Government. 2,500 post offices would be closed. Rural and urban areas were treated the same. If a nominated post office was found to be inappropriate, another would close in its place. In any event, 2,500 post offices would close.
It had become clear that the consultation process did not concern the process or principle, but only the facts. A number of these facts were incorrect. For example in Beeston Post Office Ltd said that people could walk to the post office – but did not take account of the dangerous road; in Old Buckenham it referred to a bus service, but failed to note it was for school children only.
The report responded objectively to the comments of Post Office Limited. The aim was to stop six post offices from being closed. These were considered vital otherwise communities would suffer. In the consultation document there was no reference to the elderly or to care homes in the vicinity.
The Chairman of the Commission concluded by saying that the Council had a duty to represent people’s needs.
A Member asked if external letter boxes in post office buildings would also close if the post office did and was told that this was the case.
The Leader of the Labour Party described the Post Office Ltd report as a clumsy attempt to justify the unjustifiable. He said that a letter from the Labour Members had been sent to the Post Office urging restraint and pointing out that 50% of Breckland area was rural and reliant on social hub facilities. He hoped every effort would be made to spare as many as possible.
Finally he asked that the response from the Council raise the Council’s concerns objectively, rather than being couched in an aggressive way.
RESOLVED to endorse the draft response to Post Office Ltd, with the suggested additional information as circulated, for submission as the Council’s formal response to consultation on the proposed closure programme.
Nominations for Committee and other Seats (Agenda Item 17)
To receive nominations for any changes to Committee and other seats from political groups.
The Member Services Manager explained that this item was a legal requirement to formalise the role of the Chief Executive as Registration Officer and Returning Officer for the Council.
RESOLVED to appoint Trevor Holden, Chief Executive as Electoral Registration Officer and Returning Officer.