Questions without Notice under Standing Order No 7 (Agenda item 10)
Councillor Gilbert directed his question to the Leader and asked how the street light review was going. Members were informed that the surveys had been completed and a draft report would be available soon.
Councillor Crawford, the Leader of the Opposition, also directed his question to the Leader and asked if the remarkable work that Breckland Council was doing in relation to graffiti issues in Thetford would continue. Members were informed that the Council was committed to tackling graffiti and anti-social behaviour but it proved more difficult and took much longer if such matters occurred on private land. This was where communities themselves could assist by being more aware and helping to identify the perpetrators. Councillor Crawford said that he would report back to the Town Council accordingly.
Councillor Taylor mentioned the planning decision process and suggested that a review should be conducted to change the way that applications could be called before Committee. In response, Councillor Wilkin, the Chairman of the Planning Committee, advised that the Officers recommendations were based on policy and all Members, Officers as well as the Town Council, had a chance to air their views. In relation to training, all Members were entitled to attend Planning Committee meetings to observe; and for new Committee Members appropriate training was available. He felt that this was not the proper forum to discuss these matters and offered to meet with Councillor Taylor. Councillor Bambridge fully supported relevant training sessions at all levels.
Councillor Askew, although not wishing to ask a question, addressed the Full Council meeting to pay tribute to the emergency services for the tragic accident that happened earlier in the week.
Councillor Jermy asked the Leader what the on-going arrangements were for graffiti cleaning around the District. He also asked a question about the maintenance of Breckland Council owned street lights and whether it was now more efficient. In response, the Leader explained that the Council would remain focused on dealing with graffiti but more engagement was needed with private landlords. As far as street lights were concerned the maintenance was still on-going and was more or less up to date. The lamps in Watton had been removed and a report was being prepared for further debate.
Councillor Sherwood directed his question to Councillor Robinson, the Portfolio Holder for Governance. His question related to the comments made by Councillor Taylor. He reminded Councillor Taylor of the Charter Plus Award that the Council had recently received and suggested that the UKIP Group takes a place on the Member Development Panel. Councillor Robinson advised that Breckland Council had been quite consistent in achieving Charter Plus for a number of years and encouraged any Member from whatever Party to attend training. He then reminded everyone that for certain Committees training was on-going. In response, Councillor Taylor pointed out that he had total trust in the Planning Committee but for a particular application, the whole of the Town Council voted against it but it was not brought to Committee for a decision. Councillor Robinson said he would be quite happy to meet with UKIP and with the Chairman of the Planning Committee after the meeting. The Leader felt that the initial question that Councillor Taylor asked was about Member training and it was the Member’s responsibility to pick up and call in any application. Councillor Crawford said that he had discussed having a UKIP appointment on the Member Development Panel and would like this to be supported.
The Leader reminded Members that questions without notice should be directed to the Cabinet or the Chairman of the Council.