Agenda item

Cabinet Minutes - 30 November 2010 (Agenda item 5)

Unconfirmed minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 30 November 2010.


a)           New Executive Arrangements (Minute No. 120/10)


The Member Services Manager read the following statement from Section 25(4) of the Local Government Act 2000, on behalf of the Solicitor and Standards Consultant, the author of the report:  “In drawing up proposals for the new Executive arrangements a local authority must consider the extent to which the proposals were likely to assist in securing continuous improvement in the way in which the authority’s functions were exercised, having regard to a combination of economy, efficiency and effectiveness”.


A Member said that he had never been enraptured with the position of Leader and therefore welcomed this opportunity to propose the Mayor/Cabinet model. 


No-one seconded the Member’s proposal and he accordingly voted against the recommendation.


RESOLVED that the Strong Leader and Cabinet option for Executive Arrangements from May 2011 be adopted.


b)           Active Land Management – Tranche 2 (Minute No. 123/10)


Thetford – Land at Ramsey Close


A Member felt that the Cabinet had been ill-advised by the Executive Member for the Corporate Development & Performance Portfolio by making the point that the land at Ramsey Close in Thetford was not suitable for allotments; whereas, Thetford Town Council had agreed that it was the best piece of land for that purpose.  He reminded Members about the covenant on the land which restricted development and which had been designated to remain as open space.  He therefore queried the Cabinet’s resolution of selling the land on the open market and finding alternative open space for allotments if the land was sold.   It was pointed out that Thetford Town Council had secured funding from another source to assist with turning the land into allotments. He hoped that the Council would refer it back to Cabinet.


The Leader of the Opposition felt it was very important that the principles of active land management were embraced and applauded the Council for looking at every parcel of council-owned land.  Most land could be fully supported but occasionally there were some that caused concern.  He pointed out that he and a number of other Members had received emails from a certain Town Councillor who was not at all happy with being confronted with finding alternative open space in Thetford that was suitable for allotments, as there was none.


The Leader reassured Members that the funding from Thetford Healthy Towns would not be lost.    He pointed out that in these difficult financial times Breckland Council had to get best value, not just for an individual community, but for all the communities it served.  The Council had to do what was considered best for its assets, and in terms of value, this particular piece of land, compared to agricultural land, which could be used for such a purpose, had been valued at £240k. He reminded Members of the £500k that the Council had recently given for improvements to Swaine Close in Thetford.


A Member remembered this particular site during his tenure as Leader and reminded the Council that its former use was a play area but due to its position near to a railway line and being very much on its own the play area had been closed as it had encouraged vandalism, and had lain dormant since.  He questioned whether this was a suitable area for allotments.


A Thetford Member did not dispute anything that had been said but was very much aware that allotment land was in short supply as most had been swallowed up by development.  He urged Members to gift the land to the Town.


The Executive Member for the Corporate Development & Performance Portfolio agreed with the Leader’s aforementioned comments and reminded Members that the Cabinet had agreed to make a contribution to top up the secured funding so that suitable alternative land could be found.


The Chief Executive highlighted the fact that the decision had already been resolved by Cabinet and was not a recommendation to Council.


In response to the comment made about open space being swallowed up by developers, the Leader knew that there was a great deal of development going on in and around Thetford but reminded Members that developers had a duty to provide open space; therefore, it would be up to the Town Council to ask for allotment land to be provided.


The Executive Member for the Economic & Commercial Portfolio entirely endorsed the Leader’s comments and thanked the Leader of the Opposition for his.  He reported that this particular piece of land had been owned by Breckland Council since 1974 and there was a S106 agreement on it which this Council could easily remove; therefore, there were no constraints.  If sold the matter would then be brought back to Cabinet where the possibilities for alternative land would be sought.


It was proposed and seconded that the matter be referred back to Cabinet but the vote was lost and the original decision of Cabinet remained.


c)            Attleborough Transport Study (Minute No. 125/10)




i)                    the development and completion of a Transport Study be approved; and


ii)                  funding up to the value of £100,000 be released from the Housing and Planning Delivery Grant to complete the work.


d)           Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) (Minute No. 126/10)


The Opposition Leader had been surprised to learn that the sum required to cover the cost of implementing the CIL in stages had been released from the Organisational Development Review Reserve and asked why it was coming out of this particular pot.  The Head of Finance explained that this was the most appropriate reserve for this type of expenditure.  The reserve had sufficient funds to also cover the shared management recommendation later in the agenda and remained robust.


e)           Impact of Housing Development and Roads on Stone Curlew – The Way Forward (Minute No. 127/10)


The Executive Member for the Environmental Wellbeing & Communications Portfolio left the room whilst this item was being discussed.


A Member had concerns in relation to the resolution and asked if it was to question the extent of the meterage.  The Development Services Manager explained that the intention of the report was to provide greater clarity on the effect of development on the species.   There had been a number of alternatives put to Cabinet and this approach was seen to be the most appropriate and cost effective; it was not an attempt to get the figure lowered.


f)              Adoption


RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 30 November 2010 be adopted.


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