Agenda and minutes

Venue: Anglia Room, The Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Dereham

Contact: Democratic Services  Tel: 01362 656870

Items
No. Item

124/18

Apologies (Agenda item 1)

To receive apologies for absence. 

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Askew, Brame, Sam Chapman-Allen, Millbank, Robinson, Sherwood and Taylor.

125/18

Minutes (Agenda item 2) pdf icon PDF 135 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 13 September 2018.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 13 September 2018 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

126/18

Declaration of Interests (Agenda item 3)

The duties to register, disclose and not to participate for the entire consideration of the matter, in respect of any matter in which a Member has a disclosable pecuniary interest are set out in Chapter 7 of the Localism Act 2011.  Members are also required to withdraw from the meeting room as stated in the Standing Orders of this Council.

 

Minutes:

None declared.

127/18

Garden Town Proposal - Proposed Response (Agenda item 4) pdf icon PDF 80 KB

Report of Councillor William Nunn, Leader of the Council.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman introduced Jennie Borgnis, the Chair of North Elmham Parish Council, who was in attendance to speak on behalf of the five parishes adjacent to the proposed site and for ‘CANT’, ‘Campaign Against the New Town,’ an organisation that had been set up by these parishes. She was also voicing the concerns of over 2000 people who had signed a petition against the proposal.

 

The Chair of North Elmham Parish Council made the following statement:

 

“The Government’s prospectus stated that new garden community applications must have local authority support.  Lanpro had known this for more than two years, yet – in direct conflict with Government aims, had blatantly failed to engage with parish councils or residents. When finally alerted to this proposal in just June of this year, Breckland Council emphasised to Lanpro the need for such engagement.

 

Despite publicly stating that the proposal was about community, Lanpro had not contacted one local community or parish council. Instead it had been found that Lanpro wished to bypass everyone at a local level and directly lobby the Government. Furthermore, the Forestry Commission, whose land on the East bank of the River Wensum would be completely contained by this development, had not been approached.

 

Breckland Council had spent years painstakingly devising its local plan to 2036 in full consultation with all parties. The Local Plan did not require or include a new town of 10,000 dwellings.

 

The Parish Councils were aware of two facts: that in June 2017 two landowners signed conditional sale contracts with Lanpro to sell their productive agricultural land; and that Lanpro had stated that an upgraded rail link would be the main factor governing the selection of this site.

 

Despite liaising with Mid Norfolk Railway for over two years, Lanpro had failed to present a plan worthy of consideration. To suggest that a garden town on this site would secure an economic future for new and existing communities along the rail route was totally absurd and misleading. There had been no evidence that this track could ever become a commercially viable commuter route. It was highly unlikely any train operating company would be interested in being involved in such a loss-making venture, sited at the very end of a deficient rail track and on the wrong side of an already often gridlocked East Dereham.

 

Lanpro cited a mere 12 minute drive along the only ‘A’ road in the area to join the Norwich/Cambridge corridor. This single ‘A’ road was hazardous in several places and was already speed restricted. There was no Northern Distributor Road link to make joining the corridor remotely realistic; even if there was, no one wanting to travel west or south would use a major road going east.  All other routes around the site for several miles in any direction were ‘B’ roads, each one passing through many villages and small communities.

 

Imagine the expense and the loss of yet more green land required to construct the necessary road improvements to Dereham, Swaffham, Watton  ...  view the full minutes text for item 127/18

128/18

Chairman's Announcements (Agenda item 5) pdf icon PDF 38 KB

Minutes:

A correction to the heading on page 32 of the agenda was made to read: ‘Vice’-Chairman’s Engagements.

 

The Chairman thanked everyone for attending his recent reception.  He thoroughly enjoyed the event and he conveyed his thanks to all staff both at Breckland and at the Museum for all their hard work and organisation.  The monies raised by the raffle totalled £676.00 which included a kind donation of £50.00 from G.T Bunning’s & Sons of Gressenhall. 

129/18

Leader's Announcements (Agenda item 6)

To receive a verbal update from Councillor Nunn, Leader of the Council.

 

Minutes:

The Leader provided Members with an update on the following topic - talent development.

 

Breckland Council currently had five apprentices in post and a further five were being recruited.  In addition to this, two members of staff were now progressing to the next level of their current engagement and two graduates had joined the Council in September through the National Graduate Development Programme run by the Local Government Association; this brought the total number of graduates to three.  The first graduate, Ryan Pack, was now entering his second year placement with the Council and would continue to work with the Licensing Team.  Joe Pales was with the Delivery & Growth Team and Jack Fulham was currently working with the Council’s Legal & Contracts Team.  The Council also wanted to broaden this further and take on more work experience; therefore, schools in the Breckland area would be contacted to discuss taking on pupils for next year.  Taking on work experience placements would show people what opportunities there were in the authority to hopefully gain some good experience before they chose their careers. It was recognised that local government often found it difficult to recruit the right people and he felt that greater knowledge of the work undertaken by Councils would improve this. From a Councillor perspective and a local government officer perspective, at a time when resources were getting tighter, the Council, by taking on work experience placements, hopefully would encourage young people to work in a local government environment.  In his opinion, this was great news and he hoped that the Council would continue in the future to encourage local talent. 

 

The Leader then introduced and thanked the three apprentices in attendance, Vince Cavallo, Matthew Roe and Harley Gallagher.

 

Councillor Jermy was in favour of apprenticeships and this was part of his remit as a Norfolk County Councillor.  However, he was aware that apprenticeship numbers were falling across the County due to the lack of, and the increasing cost of, public transport and wondered what the Council could do to support apprentices in Breckland.  The Leader was aware of the transport issue and this was the very reason the Council had an agreement with Kickstart scooters.  Funding of £100k had been set aside to enable apprentices to take up work and overcome any transport challenges that they faced. 

 

The Executive Member for Growth, Councillor Gordon Bambridge asked if it would be possible to recommend to the Town Councils and other bodies to incorporate apprenticeships into their organisations.  The Leader said that he would be more than happy to do that. 

 

Councillor Crawford highlighted the fact that Thetford Town Council had recently given a grant to Catch22 College in Thetford to assist with such matters as transport.

130/18

Questions on Notice under Standing Order No 6 (Agenda item 7)

Minutes:

None.

131/18

Questions without Notice under Standing Order No 7 (Agenda item 8)

Minutes:

Councillor Dimoglou asked the Leader why private & confidential meetings were not minuted.  He also mentioned the abbreviated Planning Minutes that he felt lacked transparency.   The Leader advised that the Council did not have a secrecy policy and debated everything in the public arena except for matters that contained personal and commercially sensitive information.  Executive Members met every two weeks in an informal capacity and, due to it being informal, these were not minuted as they were briefings rather than decision-making meetings.  The Leader pointed out that the Garden Town proposal, debated earlier in the meeting, had always been completely open and transparent from when he had first been contracted by Lanpro.  Meetings had then been held with all concerned and therefore he strongly refuted any accusation that everything was dealt with in private and behind closed doors.

 

Councillor Brindle asked the Leader if he agreed that the Council should support the retention of specialist children’s centres as he felt that it was vital that these centres be retained.  In response, the Leader advised that he had been witness to the on-going Labour Group campaigns and in support, he would respond to Norfolk County Council accordingly.  He had also sent a website link to all Members to make Norfolk County Council aware of the strength of feeling in Breckland.

 

Councillor Wilkin responded to the retort made about the Planning Minutes. He explained that all Minutes were taken by the Democratic Services Team and the public often attended these meetings.  He felt that there was no need to set out the Minutes in chapter and verse as the decision was the most important.

 

Councillor Wassell asked the Leader to confirm that nothing had changed in terms of the Briefings since his time as Leader of the Council, and at the time Councillor Dimoglou was a Cabinet Member.  The Leader said that this was his recollection.

 

Referring to all the children’s centres in the news, Councillor Clarke asked the Leader if he would encourage District Councillors and Norfolk County Councillors to pay a visit to these centres in their Ward.  The Leader added that he would encourage all Councillors to engage with their communities; this was the very reason that Members were elected.

 

Councillor Borrett directed his question to the Leader and asked if he supported Norwich City Council’s decision to spend millions on properties outside of the County.  The Leader emphasised that he did support their views.  All local authorities were challenged by such matters but all had to invest wisely for their communities.  He had been heartened that Norwich City was actually following Breckland’s lead in working with the Anglia Revenues Partnership.

 

Councillor Jermy asked Councillor Cowen, the Executive Member for Finance & Delivery if he would pass on some of Breckland’s advice to Elizabeth Truss MP.  In response, the Executive Member for Finance & Delivery informed Members that Breckland managed its finances very well indeed and although he had met with the said MP on the odd occasion he would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 131/18

132/18

Cabinet Minutes (Agenda item 9) pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Confirmed Minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 4 September 2018.

Minutes:

a)    Capital for Public Protection Software Systems Replacement (Minute No. 95/18)

 

RESOLVED that funding totalling £71,500 (and not £71,000 as mis-quoted in the recommendation) be approved and released from Reserves and that the 2018/19 Capital Programme be revised accordingly.

 

b)    Quarter 1 Financial Performance (Minute No. 96/18)

 

Councillor Jermy asked Councillor Cowen, the Executive Member for Finance & Delivery what this money was going to be used for.

 

Members were informed that Breckland Council held a significant commercial stock of which a number were vacant or void.  The Council was always looking to invest in the District and in order to ensure the financial pot was sufficient, £600k had been set aside and had not been defined for anything specific but was there to provide a service.  Christine Marshall, the Director of Commercialisation & S151 Officer added that the monies had been set aside to manage large voids and disposals and was about managing the impact on the Council’s finances as this income supported services.

 

RESOLVED that £600,000 be allocated within the Growth & Investment Reserve to be used for large voids or timing between disposals and acquisitions of commercial properties.

 

c)     Adoption

 

RESOLVED that, subject to the amendment as set out in (a) above, the confirmed Minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 4 September 2018 be adopted.

133/18

Overview and Scrutiny Commission (Agenda item 10) pdf icon PDF 118 KB

Unconfirmed Minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission meeting held on 27 September 2018.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that theunconfirmed Minutes of the Overview & Scrutiny Commission meeting held on 27 September 2018 be adopted.

134/18

Planning Committee (Agenda item 11)

134/18a

Confirmed Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 3 September 2018 pdf icon PDF 112 KB

Minutes:

a)     Deferred Applications: Dereham Land at Greenfields Road (Minute No. 106/18(a)

 

It was noted that the second paragraph of this application was incorrect and should read: “subject to, Members agreeing the Heads of Terms of the S106 Agreement in relation to a contribution to off-site provision to meet the shortfall of on-site provision…..”

 

b)     Adoption

 

RESOLVED that subject to the above correction, the confirmed Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 3 September 2018 be adopted.

134/18b

Unconfirmed Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 1 October 2018 pdf icon PDF 127 KB

Minutes:

a)     Schedule of Planning Applications (Minute No. 118/18(i))

 

The surname of an objector to this application had been misspelt; it should be “Bick” not “Bic” as quoted in the Minutes.

 

b)     Adoption

 

RESOLVED that, subject to the correction of the spelling mistake above, the unconfirmed Minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 1 October 2018 be adopted.

135/18

Licensing Committee (Agenda item 12) pdf icon PDF 65 KB

Unconfirmed Minutes of the Licensing Committee (additional meeting) held on 2 October 2018.

Minutes:

a)     New Animal Welfare Licensing – Approval of Fees and Delegations (Minute No. 44/18)

 

The surname of a speaker in attendance had been misspelt; it should be Mrs Maggie Oechsle and not Oxley as quoted in the Minutes.

 

b)     Adoption

 

RESOLVED that, subject to the above correction the unconfirmed Minutes of the additional Licensing Committee meeting held on 2 October 2018 be adopted.

136/18

Governance & Audit Committee (Agenda item 13) pdf icon PDF 86 KB

Unconfirmed Minutes of the Governance and Audit Committee meeting held on 28 September 2018.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Governance & Audit Committee meeting held on 28 September 2018 be adopted.

137/18

Member Development Panel (Agenda item 14) pdf icon PDF 85 KB

To note the Minutes of the Member Development Panel meeting held on 26 September 2018.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the Member Development Panel meeting held on 28 September 2018 were noted.

138/18

ICT & Digital Strategy (Agenda item 15) pdf icon PDF 102 KB

Report of Alison Webb, Executive Member for People and Information.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for People & Information, Councillor Alison Webb presented the report.

 

The ICT & Digital Strategy had been designed to support the wider aims of the Breckland Corporate Plan and its corporate priorities.  It had also been designed to improve residents’ experience of contacting Breckland Council. 

 

The draft ICT & Digital Strategy had also been presented to the Overview & Scrutiny Commission meeting on 17 August 2018 where it had been discussed at great length.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1)     the draft ICT & Digital Strategy be approved and be implemented from April 2019 to align with the Council’s new Corporate Plan;

 

2)     the Digital Work Programme associated with the Strategy be approved; and

 

3)    the funding from the Moving Forward (transformation) and Growth and Investment Reserves, as detailed in the report, be approved.

139/18

Nominations for Committee and other Seats (Agenda item 16)

To receive nominations for any changes to Committee and other seats from political groups.

 

1.     Norfolk Countywide Community Safety Partnership Scrutiny Sub Panel

 

Councillor Trevor Carter to replace Councillor Paul Claussen

 

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED that Councillor Paul Claussen be replaced by Councillor Trevor Carter on the Norfolk Countywide Community Safety Partnership Scrutiny Sub-Panel.

140/18

Amendments to the Constitution (if any) (Agenda item 17)

Minutes:

None.

141/18

Any other items which the Chairman decides are urgent (Agenda item 18)

NOTE: No other business is permitted unless by reason of special circumstances, which shall be specified in the minutes, the Chairman is of the opinion that the items(s) should be considered as a matter of urgency.

Minutes:

Nothing urgent to report.

142/18

Exclusion of Press and Public (Agenda item 19)

To consider passing the following resolution:

 

“That under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and the public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A to the Act”.

 

PART B – ITEM FROM WHICH THE PRESS AND THE PUBLIC ARE EXCLUDED 

 

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED that under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and the public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A to the Act.

143/18

Neighbourhood Planning - Transfer of service (Agenda item 20)

Report of Executive Member for Growth, Councillor Gordon Bambridge.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Growth, Councillor Gordon Bambridge presented the report asking Members to consider the business case for the transfer of the Neighbourhood Planning Service to the Council’s provider of Planning Services.

 

A number of questions were asked, in particular, Councillor Brindle sought reassurance that, if Members were mindful to approve the recommendation, would there be more control in relation to enforcement.  Members were assured that this would be the case.

 

RESOLVED that the recommendation to Full Council, to agree the transfer of service, in accordance with the report, be approved.

Presentation/Briefings

Members were provided with a briefing by Mr Ceri Theobald, Head of Partnerships & Business Development, Flagship Housing Group followed by a Local Plan presentation delivered by Christine Marshall, Executive Director Commercialisation & S151 Officer and Jon Berry, Head of Development Management.