Venue: Anglia Room, The Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Dereham
Contact: Committee Services Tel: 01362 656870
Apologies (Agenda Item 1)
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from Mr Borrett, Mrs Chapman-Allen, Mr Chapman-Allen, Mr Francis, Mrs Hewett, Mr Hewett, Mrs Irving, Mr Lamb, Mrs Millbank, Mr Simon Rogers and Mr Spencer.
Declaration of Interest (Agenda Item 2)
Members are asked at this stage to declare any interests pertinent to items on this agenda.
The Members’ Code of Conduct requires that declarations include the nature of the interest and whether it is personal or prejudicial.
The Solicitor and Standards Consultant was in attendance to give Members advice on declarations if required.
Advice in respect of the interest of Town Councillors was sought and the Solicitor explained that if the Town Council had been consulted only, no interest need be declared, however if the Town Council owned land to be discussed there might be a personal and prejudicial interest.
The following declarations were made:
Chairman's Announcements (Agenda Item 3)
(Including the engagements of the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman.)
The Chairman noted that she had attended the first presentation ceremony of the Elizabeth Cross and Scrolls to Norfolk people that had lost someone in action. She said it had been a sad and moving occasion. One Breckland resident had died in Afghanistan.
On a lighter note she advised Members that the next full Council on 27 January 2011 would mark the commencement of a sponsored slim in support of Young Carers in Norfolk. She would be taking part herself and encouraged others to consider doing so. More details would be announced at the next meeting.
Report of the Deputy Chief Executive in conjunction with the Executive Member for Planning, Health & Housing.
The recommendation to Council from the Cabinet meeting held on 11 January 2011 will be reported verbally.
The Development Services Manager introduced the report which he hoped Members would agree had been worth waiting for.
The Site Specifics Policy document did not include areas covered by the Thetford Area Action Plan or the Attleborough and Snetterton Heath Action Plan, but did cover the rest of the district. It set out the broad principles and parameters of growth and identified suitable sites for housing and employment.
The consultations had taken place over a long period of time which had given Parish Councils and other Stakeholders the opportunity to provide considered responses. The process had been thorough and inclusive. There had been lots of detailed discussions at the eight sessions of the LDF Task & Finish Group and at the additional mop-up meeting.
The Principal Planning Policy Officer and the Senior Planning Policy Officer then went through the summary of changes to the preferred options document by locations.
At this point it was clarified that the Officers would present their report in full before questions would be taken.
Three sites were recommended for residential and two sites for employment development. The employment site east of Dereham Business Park was amended to include the alternative site. Retail development proposals within the town centre remained the same. An area of land for Open Space and a new cemetery was allocated to the east of the football ground.
A single allocation for 250 homes, two employment areas near the A47 accessed via the Eco-tech site and two additional Open Space areas.
Four sites allocated for new housing - one of those sites to include additional land, for an extension to the high school.
Local Service Centres:
Originally proposed for an allocation of 50 homes, however, 65 homes had received recent planning approval therefore there was no need to release further land.
50 homes allocated – as per the Preferred Options Document.
Allocation reduced to 85 (from 100) on one site (The other preferred site having received planning permission). A clarification on site references was provided following an enquiry from the Ward Member.
50 homes allocated on a single site.
14 Settlement Boundary recommended for deletion or amendment had been reconsidered by the ‘mop-up’ LDF Task & Finish Group. The Group had recommended the retention of 11 of those. The changes were incorporated in the document and included an additional change to the Settlement Boundary of East Tuddenham to include land at ‘The Baynings’.
Habitats Regulations Assessment
This had been prepared in accordance with the Core Strategy Document. Preliminary work had been undertaken already and indicated that there would be no adverse effects on European Sites from the allocations.
Publication of the Document
Approval was sought to publish the document prior to submission. The publication period was proposed to be 7 February 2011 to 21 March 2011. All evidence base information, consultation results, Habitats Regulations work and the Sustainable Appraisal would be made available for comment. A Statutory Notice would be published ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
Launch of the new Website (Agenda Item 5)
A presentation will be provided by Dominic Chessum.
The Marketing & Communications Officer gave Members a short presentation on the new website which would be launched within the next week. The launch was just the start in a drive to provide more and more complex information on-line.
The changes to the website had been proposed to make information more easily accessible and to encourage more people to use the website which in turn would save the Council money.
To meet the tight timescales set, an outside web developer had been used and a completely new website had been prepared. As well as making the site easier to use, the objective had been to ensure that all information was accurate and up-to-date and software had been included to ensure it stayed that way, by prompting editors to check content on a regular basis. Finally, the project had been delivered within the very tight budget allowed.
The facilities on the new site were demonstrated and included a prominent picture box for good news stories or crisis information and a read aloud service for those with disabilities.
Each department had been colour coded for easy identification and there was a simple explanation of the services each department provided. No information was more than four clicks from the homepage.
All web editors had been trained and could edit pages quickly. Changes were checked and approved before publication. Links would also be checked regularly to ensure that none were broken. A Google analytic tool would be used to identify problems encountered by the public.
The biggest challenge of the project had been the data cleansing and migration which had taken longer than expected and had caused the launch to be put back from its original target date of 1 September 2010.
Prior to the launch a survey had been carried out to test the new website and assess user’s satisfaction. The results had been positive and encouraging.
Members were unanimous in their appreciation of the work done by the Marketing & Communications Officer and the Breckland Web Officer and especially impressed that the project had been delivered under budget.
A Member asked if there would be a “Who is my Councillor?” link on the front page – as there was on the current site, and the Marketing & Communications Officer assured him that one would be added.
Members enquired about the potential for raising money from the new website by allowing advertising and the Marketing & Communications Officer confirmed that the website had that capability if required.