Agenda item

Breckland Community Funding Applications (Agenda Item 7)

Report by the Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Community & Environmental Services.

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Planning, Building Control and Housing presented the report on behalf of the Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Community & Environmental Services who was engaged on other Council business..

 

She was delighted at the number and variety of grants that had been approved to a broad spread of organisations across the whole district. 

 

The Assistant Director of Community explained that the request for a Pride grant of £20,000 was to address fly tipping issues in Thetford.  Breckland Council was the accountable body for the Pride Board and they supported the recommendation to approve the grant.

 

Councillor Nairn asked if the problem was predominantly on Flagship Housing estates and was advised that the available statistics were for Thetford as a whole and were not broken down into estate areas.

 

Councillor Robinson did not support the recommendation because the proposal did not address the root cause of the problem.  He was aware that Flagship Housing had advised people to tip their rubbish on Breckland owned land.  There was a state of the art recycling centre in Thetford and the issue should be addressed through tenants agreements and if necessary fines.

 

The Executive Member for Communications, Organisational Performance & Development felt that local people needed to deal with the problem.  There was already a system for reporting fly tipping and he urged Thetford Town Councillors to work with the Council.

 

Councillor Armes (Thetford Ward Representative) thought that having a person to monitor the problem would help to educate people and change attitudes.  Residents groups had been very active in trying to deal with the problem and they wanted a warden to help to resolve it.

 

The Executive Member for Planning, Building Control and Housing could not understand why 85% of the District’s fly tipped rubbish was collected in Thetford.  She did not think that employing someone for one year would solve the problem.

 

Councillor Cowen, Chairman of the Overview & Scrutiny Commission, was concerned at the suggestion that Flagship Housing Association was not fulfilling their obligations as landlords and he thought that it might be an issue for the Commission to consider.  Rural wards also had serious problems with fly-tipping but the existing system of reporting such incidents was used and worked well.  It was up to Councillors to act as a conduit and to educate their residents.  He was surprised that Thetford Town Council was not involved.  It was noted that Thetford Town Council had offered in-kind support.

 

The Executive Member for Democratic Services & Public Protection agreed that the current reporting system worked well in his Ward and rubbish was usually cleared up within 48 hours.

 

Councillor Canham (Thetford Ward Representative) had worked with residents groups for 20 years and fly tipping had always been a problem.  It had been raised with the local STAG group and also with Environmental Health and it was at their suggestion that the grant application had been put together.  All the Thetford estates had a problem and it was hoped that if they could employ someone for 12 months it would make a difference.  She asked Members to give it a try as they had tried everything else.

 

Councillor Wilkin noted that there was a good facility in Thetford for the disposal of rubbish, but he was aware from personal experience that there were restrictions on the number of items that could be disposed of at each visit and that there was a charge for commercial waste.  He suggested that the money might be better spent assisting small traders with the cost of disposing of their rubbish.

 

The Executive Member for Planning, Building Control and Housing proposed a deferment.  Members needed more information on current litter collection in Thetford and also on the advice that Flagship Housing Association gave their tenants and their Policies on fly-tipping.

 

The Executive Member for Finance agreed with the deferment as the current system worked well for the rest of Breckland and a Warden might not be the best solution.

 

The Executive Member for Assets & Strategic Development also agreed and asked for the Terms of Reference for the post.

 

It was confirmed that the additional information would be presented to the next meeting.

 

Options

 

  • Fully fund  the funding applications set out in the report
  • Part fund the funding applications set out in the report
  • Do nothing

 

Reasons

 

The Pride grant panel have looked at this funding application and the majority support this funding request with an overall score of 19.1, which is above the minimum required.  

 

RESOLVED to defer the application for Pride funding of £20,000 to the Thetford Community Association for further information on why the current system was not working in Thetford and to investigate the allegations about Flagship Housing Association.

 

On behalf of Beeston Parish Council the Executive Member for Assets & Strategic Development thanked the Council for the grant awarded to them.

 

Councillor Nairn thanked the Council for the grant awarded to Great Cressingham Parish Council.

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