Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Committee Services  01362 656870

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 97 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 13 December 2007.


The minutes of the meeting held on 13 December 2007 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.



To receive apologies for absence.


An apology was received from Mrs. D. Irving.


Declaration of Interest

Members are asked at this stage to declare any interests that 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 a person or prejudicial interest.


The following declarations of interest were made:


  • Mr. S.G. Bambridge – Personal interests by virtue of his professional work as a Planning Consultant in regard to LDF and planning matters and as recorded in the minutes for Panel 2 under agenda item 8(a) and (b).

  • Mr. J.D. Rogers – Personal interest in relation to LDF matters relating to Carbrooke as Ward Member and with business interests as recorded in the minutes for Panel 1 under agenda item 8(d).

  • Mr. J.P. Cowen – Personal interest in relation to LDF matters by virtue of his profession as an Architect in practice.

  • Mr. K.S. Gilbert – Personal interest in relation to agenda item 6 as an employee of Royal Mail.


Non-Members wishing to address the Meeting

To note the names of any non-members or public speakers wishing to address the meeting.


The following members were in attendance:


  • Lady Fisher – Executive Member (for agenda item 7)
  • Mr. J.P. Labouchere (for agenda item 6)



Report of the Executive Member (Commercial Services)


The Economic Development Officer presented the report which informed Members of the background to this matter, together with the actions and results of the survey undertaken since September 2007 following the Commission’s initial review of the post office closure programme (previous minute 95/07 refers).


Members were informed of a meeting with Post Office Ltd. (POL) the previous Friday, which had been attended by the Chief Executive and Mr. P.D. Claussen (Executive Member for Commercial Services), to discuss the programme.  Notes from the meeting were available and would be circulated to Members of the Commission following this meeting.


Key issues and implications were set out in the report and members were asked to consider whether or not to undertake any further lobbying on the matter.


Members remained strongly concerned about the impact closures could have on the local economy and as to the implications for local service centres and future development plans.   The impact would be most strongly felt in rural communities where the viability of the local shop was often sustained by having a local post office integral to its business.  The loss of the service would be compounded in those rural areas with no or poor public transport links.


While acknowledging the economic pressures facing POL nationally, the Commission agreed that the Council needed to continue to promote those post offices where the need and business case for them could be demonstrated.  In this connection, the following issues were highlighted as being relevant in supporting the case for retaining post offices:


  • Hardship closures – where the closure of a post office will cause or increase hardship to a significant level, including leading to the closure or loss of other services.

  • Sustainability – where closure will lead to increased motor-car journeys and where there is no or poor public transport provision, affecting in particular the young, the old and those without access to private transport.

  • To encourage other initiatives or facilities to support the sustainability of post offices at risk of closure.

It was felt that the list of potential closures was already determined and that the consultation period was, in reality, about having the opportunity only to make the case for exceptions to that list.  However, it had to be recognised that where the case to save one post office was won, another post office might be closed instead.


It was felt important that the Council should present as much robust information as possible in support and agreed that, for this purpose, more work would be required to refine and build on the information gathered to date.  It was proposed a small working group of members should be appointed to assist the officers in this task to ensure as full and detailed information as possible was available.


POL had offered to attend a future meeting of the Commission, although it was noted that they were not prepared to share any information in advance of the public consultation or that was not in the public domain.  Notwithstanding the latter point,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


An Environment Strategy for Breckland Council (Agenda Item 7) pdf icon PDF 73 KB

Report of the Strategic Director (Services) as considered at the meeting of Cabinet on 8 January 2008, when it was resolved as follows:


(1)         the draft Environmental Strategy be approved;


(2)         the consultation process proceed;


(3)         the revised Strategy and Action Plan be reported back to Cabinet in April; and


(4)         the Council sign-up to the Nottingham Declaration as detailed in Appendix 2 of the Environmental Strategy.

Additional documents:


The Executive Member for Environment introduced the report, stating that the environment was one of the most important issues facing people today and how the Council addressed it would affect us all.


The Strategic Director for Services presented the report, which had been approved by the Cabinet, subject to a three-month consultation period and report back with an action plan.  The Strategy demonstrated the Council’s commitment to the issues facing it and recognised the relationship of the environment to all the Council’s policies and strategies through the “green thread” (shown in appendix 1 to the report).


It was also important for the consultation to be conducted as widely as possible and to understand the impact of signing-up to key campaigns, such as the Nottingham Declaration on Climate Change (as set out in Appendix 2 of the report).


The Chairman explained how it was envisaged that the Strategy would be managed through the Council.  Street Scene would be the lead department and the Strategy would be integrated through the Local Strategic Partnership and through the Sustainable Community Strategy, Local Development Framework and Local Area Agreement, to ensure that environmental performance was enmeshed across all key areas.


The Chairman proposed that a small team of members should be appointed to work with the officer team to assist the process.


During the ensuing discussion, the Strategic Director answered a number of questions and the following points were highlighted for consideration and noting as part of the consultation process:


  • Waste disposal/recycling – To seek with Norfolk County Council to develop more accessible and freer recycling centres, including local recycling points in villages to reduce fly-tipping.

  • Industrial pollution standards – To seek  to set higher standards of control on industrial pollution

  • Flooding, drainage and water supply – To enforce maintenance of ditches and watercourses by riparian owners to alleviate flooding; to develop schemes for water attenuation and drainage pipes to harness water energy and water storage from surface water run-off; encouraging farmers to develop their own water reservoirs for irrigation; to press the Environment Agency to fulfil its obligations with regard to the cleaning of rivers.

  • With reference to action plan item BN2: Breckland Design Guide – To look at separating this into more specific, detailed parts.

  • Building design – To ensure integration with planning policies and building control.

  • To ensure the Strategy sets out the deliverables and timescales.


It was confirmed that the Strategy would be subject to an annual review and to quarterly review through the Overview and Scrutiny Commission to monitor progress.




(1)         the recommendations in the report, as approved by the Cabinet, be endorsed;

(2)         details of the various officer working groups to be circulated to members of the Commission;

(3)         six members be appointed to assist the officer working groups and members be asked to notify their nominations to the Scrutiny Officer.  (The following two nominations were noted at the meeting – Mr. C.R. Jordan and Mrs. S. Howard-Alpe.) 


Policy Development and Review Panels (Agenda Item 8)

To consider reports from Panel Chairmen in respect of the following meetings:


Panel 2 - Unconfirmed minutes of the meeting held on 17 October 2007 pdf icon PDF 89 KB

Item as deferred from the last meeting.


(i)           Arts Development in the District (Minute 49/07)


In noting the position on this subject, members expressed their support for the funding request that had been made to the Star Chamber to enable the Arts Development Officer post to be renewed when her current contract expired in July 2008.


The Chairman added that, in view of the impact from forthcoming changes in regional arts funding, the Council would need to look at how to meet those changes.


(ii)         Adoption


RESOLVED that the unconfirmed minutes of the meeting of Policy Development and Review Panel 2 held on 17 October 2007 be adopted.


Panel 2 - Unconfirmed minutes from the meeting held on 28 November 2007 pdf icon PDF 101 KB

Item as deferred from the last meeting.


         RESOLVED that the unconfirmed minutes of the meeting of Policy Development and Review Panel 2 held on 28 November 2007 be adopted.


Panel 3 - Unconfirmed minutes of the meeting held on 27 November 2007 pdf icon PDF 107 KB

Item as deferred from the last meeting, with the exception of the recommendations at Minute 53/07 (Drug and Alcohol Action Team) and Minute 55/07 (Research findings and development of a black and minority strategy for housing), which were dealt with at the last meeting.


         RESOLVED that the unconfirmed minutes of Policy Development and Review Panel 3 held on 27 November 2007 be adopted.


Panel 1 - Unconfirmed minutes of the meeting held on 18 December 2007 pdf icon PDF 78 KB


The minutes of this meeting were circulated prior to the meeting as a supplementary agenda item.


(a)    Street Naming & Numbering – Policy and Processes (Minute No. 85/07)


         The Commission supported the Panel’s recommendation in this matter and accordingly


         RESOLVED that


(1)    Cabinet be RECOMMENDED to approve the integration of the street naming and numbering function with the Local Land and Property Gazetteer managed by the Environmental Planning Team; and

(2)    the Panel be authorised to undertake a full review of the policies and procedures for the street naming and numbering function.


(b)         Adoption


RESOLVED that the unconfirmed minutes of the meeting of Policy Development and Review Panel 1 held on 18 December 2007 be adopted.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 9 KB

(a)               A copy of the Commission’s work programme is attached, together with a copy of the current issue of the Forward Plan of the Executive for members’ information.  The Commission is asked to agree any additions, deletions or amendments to the programme as appropriate.


(b)        Member Issues:  In accordance with the Commission’s protocol for member leadership, which states that members of the Commission will take the lead in selecting topics for overview and scrutiny and in the questioning of witnesses, members are invited to put forward items for selection for future review.

Additional documents:


The following amendments to the work programme were agreed:


  • Review of the Dog Control Service – bring forward to 6 March 2008
  • Environmental Strategy – to be programmed in for quarterly monitoring


Items proposed for future consideration:


  • Thetford Growth Point – To look at successful learning points/good practice highlighted by this project
  • LDF Infrastructure – Engagement with utility companies to look at how they can assist with the future development plans, particularly regarding drainage issues in Dereham and Attleborough and energy provision to Thetford and elsewhere.


In respect of the above two points, the Chairman advised that he would be discussing with the Chairman of Panel 1 how these items should best be programmed through the Commission and/or the Panel.



Next Meeting

To note the date of the next meeting to be held on 6th March, 2008.


The arrangements for the next meeting on 6 March 2008 were noted.