Cabinet Minutes (Agenda Item 6)
Unconfirmed minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 20 November 2012.
(a) Land at Castell Road, Dereham (Minute No 125/12)
The Chairman said that the debate about Council owned land concerned him. Although he sympathised with the need to maximise the Council’s assets he thought that sometimes the amenity value of a piece of land outweighed its financial value. He would be concerned if all pieces of land were treated in the same way and hoped that all implications would be taken into consideration when considering other pieces of land.
The Leader of the Council noted his comments.
(b) Corporate Asset Management Strategy (Minute No 129/12)
RESOLVED that the new Corporate Asset Management Strategy 2012-2020 be adopted.
(c) Financial Performance Quarter 2 2012-13 (Minute No 130/12)
RESOLVED that the sum of £22,010 for the District By-Elections be funded from the General Fund in 2012-13.
(d) Breckland Collective Energy Switching Scheme (Minute No 132/12)
The Leader of the Labour Group was pleased to note that Breckland was embracing the Socialist principle of collective bargaining, but Mr Kybird remarked that market economics and purchasing power were not Socialist.
The Leader of the Council advised that this proposal was being taken forward for the whole of Norfolk.
(e) Review of Policy for Charging for the Provision of Wheeled Bins to New Properties (Minute No 133/12)
Mr Gilbert asked what powers the Council had if people refused to pay for their bins. The Deputy Chief Executive asked the Interim Environmental Services Manager to respond and he advised that if people refused to pay the charge they would have to make their own arrangements for refuse disposal. If those arrangements did not meet the required standards the Council could take action under Section 46 of the Environmental Protection Act.
(f) Delivery of Affordable Housing on Council Owned Land at Snetterton North End (Minute No 134/12)
Mr Askew thought that the decision was good news for local people. Such schemes would enable people to live locally and would help to retain the vibrancy of parishes.
Mr Kybird noted a grammatical error in the paragraph commencing Wellington Construction. The first full stop should be removed and brackets added to read: “… sum of £90,000 (the District Valuer had valued the whole of the site for £155,000) which was below…”
Mr Martin asked Members to bear in mind some pockets of land available for development in Attleborough.
Mr Borrett noted that the Council was able to offer land at below market value to allow development because it was managing its assets so well.
(g) The Anchor Hotel, Thetford (Minute No 135/12
Mr Lamb said that he had spoken in favour of retaining the Anchor Hotel at every stage. He queried the demolition costs and noted that if that money had been spent years ago to repair and retain the building it might have been a vibrant tourist spot. He thought that the Council’s policy with regard to old buildings was inconsistent and he quoted various examples. He thought that in the near future the Anchor Site would be an ugly sore in the middle of the town as redevelopment was a long way off.
The Leader of the Council advised that officers had found nothing to merit listing the building and as it was now unsafe the best route was to remove it completely. Anything re-useable would be saved and the site would be landscaped so that it did not look a mess.
The Executive Member for Planning and Environmental Services said that it was not the Council’s (or Capita’s) Officers that had made the decision about listing. English Heritage were responsible for that. She had tried on various occasions to get other buildings listed without success.
The Leader of the Labour Group said that the matter raised serious questions about the protection of historic buildings. This was a Council owned building which had been allowed to get into a poor state. He warned against losing touch with the community and what they wanted and said that the Council needed to learn from past.
The Executive Member for Performance and Business Development said that they had looked at pictures of the original building in the 1930s and the current building was nothing like it. There had been fire and other damage. The matter needed to be moved on to make it better for the whole community.
Mr Lamb pointed out that the building had once been listed and he and others had appealed against its de-listing. The Council’s Historic Buildings Officer had not supported their appeal.
Mr Bambridge noted that he had visited the building at the time that the Council had purchased it. It had been dilapidated then with fire damage and large holes in the roof.
Mrs Chapman-Allen wished that Members would speak more positively about the proposal as the Council was putting an enormous amount of investment into Thetford.
RESOLVED that £110,000 be released to enable the demolition of the existing buildings on the site of the former Anchor Hotel and an interim landscaping scheme be undertaken.
Mr Lamb voted against the proposal.
(h) Economic Development Service – New Way of Working (Minute No 138/12)
The Leader of the Labour Group supported the proposal and hoped that the service would be able to provide support for struggling high streets.
The Chairman of the Overview & Scrutiny Commission reiterated comments he had made at the Cabinet meeting. The performance of the Economic Development Team provided security to the Council in a time of financial pressures. He urged Members to recognise the Team’s contribution.
RESOLVED that the recommendations as set out in the report be approved.
(i) Legal Services Review (Minute No 139/12)
(1) the proposed structure for Legal Services as detailed in the report be approved; and
(2) the Assistant Director of Democratic Services proceed with conducting a 30 day staff consultation on the proposed changes detailed within the report.
RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 20 November 2012 be adopted.