Venue: Norfolk Room, The Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Dereham
Contact: Committee Services 01362 656870
To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 17 October 2007.
The Minutes of the meeting held on 17 October 2007 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
Apologies (Agenda item 2)
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from Messrs M Griffin, M Kiddle-Morris and D Mortimer.
Position Statement of the Historic Buildings Officer.
Members are asked to note that the Historic Buildings Officer will be attending the meeting to discuss this item further.
Andrew Gayton, the Historic Buildings Officer, had been invited to the meeting to report on the protection and listing of the built environment.
The Chairman stated that the reason he had brought this item to the meeting was because he and the Members of the Panel had very little knowledge of the processes involved with listing and the protection of buildings in the area. He asked whether a register of all the Listed Buildings in the area could be devised for Members’ information.
One of the buildings that the Chairman wished to have an update on was Shadwell Park near Brettenham,Thetford.
The Historic Buildings Officer advised that Shadwell Park, which was seen to be a major country house of its time, had been woefully neglected for many years. The 18th century building, originally in three bays, had been extended over time and was now mainly of 19th century architecture. The Victorian Society had stated that this country house fully deserved to be placed in amongst the top ten listed buildings in England. The Historic Buildings Officer explained that the building had been neglected and allowed to deteriorate over the years and was no longer weather tight; Shadwell Park had dry rot and, if left, faced serious structural risk.
The owner had carried out a programme of dry rot treatments which, in the opinion of the Historic Buildings Officer, had been a pointless exercise as the ingress of water had not been stopped. One of the major problems with the building was the roof; the roofscape, in total, contained 12 different roof configurations. The owner had since been persuaded to re-roof the house to eliminate the dry rot and had until July 2008 to carry out the work otherwise further action would be taken.
A Member asked whether English Heritage had been involved. The Panel was advised that English Heritage had expressed the view that it might consider an application if the owner submitted one.
Members felt that it was imperative that the building was conserved and felt frustrated that no-one seemed to be doing anything about it. The Historic Buildings Officer stressed that Shadwell Park had been on the “saved” site for many years and that he had even been approached by a number of interested parties to buy the building. He had tried everything in his power to persuade the owner to sell but to no avail. The Chairman suggested a Compulsory Purchase Order on the building together with 10/15 acres of land. The Council could then sell it on to an interested party who would be willing to spend money on the building and restore it to its former glory. Members were advised that to go down this route would take many years, and would prove a very expensive and complicated exercise.
The Chairman felt that the Council was not doing enough to protect this building and recommended that immediate enforcement action be taken and that a Compulsory Purchase Order be authorised, with no ... view the full minutes text for item 56.
Footpaths and Bridleways (Agenda item 7)
At their meeting on 25 July 2007 the Panel, whilst discussing Sports and Arts development in Breckland, identified the associated issue of footpaths and bridleways in terms of both leisure and the health and fitness agenda. The Panel agreed to add consideration of this issue to their future work programme (Minute 38/07 refers).
Mr David Mills, Countryside Access Development Officer at Norfolk County Council, will attend to facilitate a wider discussion of this issue.
Members are requested to give some prior thought to this item and consider in advance any questions they may wish to ask.
Mr David Mills, the Countryside Access Development Officer for Norfolk County Council, was in attendance for this item by invitation to provide information and advice in relation to footpaths and bridleways in Breckland. He provided Members with a brief overview of his responsibilities and the areas that he covered. His basic work remit was managing and developing a well maintained accessible network and the promotion of access.
Norfolk County Council’s Environment and Waste Group developed and managed Norfolk’s public rights of way, many promoted routes, and other countryside or woodland access sites.
There were over 2,300 miles of public rights of way in Norfolk. The countryside access network was important for recreation, tourism, the rural economy and health and also formed part of the County’s transport network. Well signed and well maintained paths kept the countryside access network clear and helped prevent trespass. Norfolk County Council and land managers were responsible for ensuring that the public rights of way network was accessible.
A public right of way was a route of way over which the public had a legal right to pass and re-pass. All public rights of way were public highways. The land over which the right of way ran was usually private land; the surface of the path was vested in the Highway Authority but the sub-soil was the property of the landowner.
Mr Mills provided Members with the classifications and the legal uses of the different types of public rights of way that were made up as follows:
Public footpaths could be used by people on foot with permitted accompaniments including pushchairs or dogs.
Public bridleways could be used for walking, riding or leading a horse or cycling.
Restricted byways could be used for walking, cycling and horse riding; no motor vehicles were allowed.
A public byway was the same as a restricted byway but motor vehicles were allowed.
From this information, Members then raised a series of questions.
1. Where did the footpath and bridleway remit fit into Breckland’s Healthy Wellbeing initiative?
2. How closely did the authority work with landowners?
3. Did Norfolk County Council have a ‘green bridge’ initiative?
4. If a Parish or landowner was to gift a piece of land would Norfolk County Council sign it and maintain it?
5. Why was it so difficult to get a temporary diversion to an existing footpath?
In response to the aforementioned questions, Mr Mills advised that the Healthy Wellbeing initiative fell under the Healthy Walks and Opportunities regime. He explained that Norfolk County Council was obliged to consider these issues under the Health and Disability Act and met the requirements under the guise of Parish Walks. The Chairman felt that, in some areas, many of the footpaths were in a poor condition and he asked whether more money could be spent on the upkeep of the footpaths. He suggested that the funding for matters of this nature should be included in the Healthy Wellbeing ... view the full minutes text for item 57.
Review of Car Parking (Agenda item 8)
Verbal update from the Corporate Project Manager.
David Green, the Corporate Project Manager gave an update on previous workshops. Although the original approach had been based on the operational remit working under current overarching policies, it was proving to be such a wide subject that the discussions had ended up exploring related topics such as transport studies. These were beyond the current brief and required additional resources; therefore there was a need to assess the most appropriate way for the Panel to continue with car parks improvements.
Due to the above, the Chairman on behalf of the Panel had previously spoken to the Leader of the Council and the matter was to be forwarded to Cabinet for a steer on what further direction this work should take.
Members are asked to consider any additional items or topics for inclusion on the future Work Programme.
In addition, Members are requested to agree future meeting dates for the period; February to April 2008.
Members gave consideration to the proposed work programme. The Scrutiny Officer advised that there would be further reports in the future in relation to car parks and the website review; however, the review of the S17 Crime and Disorder Act, that had been included on the work programme for February 2008, would most likely be taken straight to the Overview and Scrutiny Commission rather than through this Panel.
The Chairman had always taken an interest in mental health and felt that this was a matter that could be discussed at a future Panel meeting. The Scrutiny Officer was asked to find and invite an appropriate person to attend.
Members were advised to contact the Scrutiny Officer if they had any further items that they would like the Panel to discuss.
Date of the Next Meeting (Agenda item 10)
To note that the next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 9 January 2008, at 10.00 a.m. Attleborough Town Hall, Attleborough.
At the last meeting, it had been agreed to change the day of all future Panel meetings to Wednesdays. Unfortunately, the change of the next meeting date to 9th January 2008 clashed with the Licensing Committee meeting. Therefore, it was agreed that the next meeting be held on Wednesday, 16 January 2008 at 9.30 am in the Anglia Room, Dereham.
Members were further informed that it would be preferable to convene future meetings on Thursdays. This was agreed and a list of future meeting dates would be provided at the next meeting of the Panel.